Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern
A small Columbus, Ohio-based chain of taverns, Rusty Bucket is sort of a hybrid concept; it’s got the dark interior and beer selection of an old-style English pub, but at the walls are packed with televisions and jerseys evocative of a higher-functioning sports bar. The two ideas are hard to imagine combined; a pub is supposed to be sort of a small, cramped place where you’re shoulder to shoulder with strangers, while a sports bar is a mess of lights and flair. In practice though, Rusty Bucket merges the two ideas into something that’s a nice mix.
Similar to the environment, the menu is a mixture of the two very different concepts. While the menu has a number of bar specialties like chicken wings and burgers, the menu is dominated by old-fashioned pub favorites. You’ll find plenty of Americanized items like sandwiches and wraps, even some pizzas on the menu. But the specialty of the restaurant is Fish and chips, a classic English pub dish. Actually the menu is kind of everywhere; there are tacos, quesadillas and even barbecue ribs. There are soups and salads and sloppy joes, the lunch menu almost seems like a diner. It’s a little confusing.
In truth though, it seems this is an American cuisine restaurant with its menu. The wraps are good. The Asian Tuna wrap has plenty of good stuff in it, but the tuna isn’t great; it’s rare to raw as it’s supposed to be, but I suspect it was just cut poorly because there’s too much sinewy material to really enjoy it. So it’s just good. However, the fish and chips are delicious. The fish is a flaky and moist white cod fillet locked into a crispy exterior. The fries are seasoned just a little bit so they have a definite unique flavor to them.
I really like how the atmosphere of the place is managed. In an English pub you’re supposed to feel almost claustrophobic but sports bars are wide open. This place is kind of both; there’s a bar and space for groups to gather, but then there are close-in booths and recesses. There’s a nice porch to enjoy if you like, but the windows are muted to the point that little direct light makes its way into the bar. It’s a cool meshing of two atmospheres, and in practice I think it’s the kind of place you’d enjoy being social or hiding with a friend or two.
- Give the Fish and Chips a try, it’s the best special on the menu.
- If you don’t like that, some locations have a “blue plate special” of certain items available only on certain days.
- There is also an extensive beer menu with many local beers and imports alike you may like to try. Wines, too.