By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Nottingham, England, native Dr. Sukhi Ghuman spent time in dark pubs before moving to the United States. When he arrived here, he missed it so much he created one for him and his friends.
“We simply missed British pubs,” Ghuman says with a laugh. “We go to the Shakespeare Pub in San Diego, but we thought we needed something like that here in Arizona. We wanted to get our European drink and food fix.”
Ghuman and three partners opened the Union Jack British Pub in early September. So far, he says, the response has been “overwhelming.”
“There has always been a good relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom,” Ghuman says. “In Nottingham, there’s an American diner (Bernie’s American Diner) where they drink Budweiser and eat American food. Here, they like the British culture. The two cultures complement each other.”
Located in the former location of the Skeptical Chymist, Ghuman and his three partners purchased the building and subjected it to a massive renovation.
“We spent close to $500,000 on the whole project, from start to finish,” he says. “We completely gutted it inside and out. It’s beautiful. It has that English feel to it, but an airier version.
“We have British food and sport. It’s very much a British pub, with a slightly different feel to it.”
Union Jack British Pub is all-things British, from the larger-than-life Beatles photograph to the U.K. cityscapes silhouettes. Sun shines in through the large windows in front near a red telephone booth. A side room, The Clubhouse, boasts a pool table, televisions with Premier League matches, and football shirts.
The British bar snacks and appetizers are standards — jumbo sausage roll, corned beef slice, creamy vegetable lattice slice, British steak bake, Cornish pasty, Scotch egg and vegetable samosas ($6.99 and $9.95).
Served noon to 10 p.m., the British main meals feature fish and chips, bangers and mash, large Cornish pasty, steak and kidney pie, steak and ale pie, chicken and mushroom pie and Shepherd’s pie ($14.50 and $15.25). Yep, the Shepherd’s pie has lamb. It continues with the Union Jack Sunday roast, chicken tikka masala and chicken curry ($16.95 and $18.95). Burgers include the Belfast cheese burger, Edinburgh avocado burger, Cardiff bacon burger and London bleu cheese burger ($14.50).
“We have a lot of decent dishes here,” he says. “We have shepherd’s pie, mushy peas, bangers and mash. There are some Indian curries in there. Indian curries are the No. 1 dish in England.”
Guinness has supported the pub “very aggressively,” Ghuman says. The Union Jack British Pub is one of a few Guinness Open Gate establishments in North America. That means Guinness sponsored two of the doors — which resemble the Guinness brewery gates — that head out to the patio.
“It’s quite an interesting venue,” he says. “We are going to open several more of these.” They have ambitious goals for the Union Jack British Pub, with plans to open restaurants in Tucson, Mesa and Chandler. The plan is to turn the Union Jack British Pub into a chain.
As for entertainment, karaoke nights and live music are featured and the restaurant will remain a gathering place for Seattle Seahawks fans.
“We have nice little features here.”
The Union Jack British Pub
15689 N. Hayden Road, Scottdale – 480-609-8677,