Happiness is a warm pub

Owner Paul Smith serves up beer- batter-dipped fish and chips at Pierce’s Pub. I wouldn’t turn him down, if I were you.

Owner Paul Smith serves up beer- batter-dipped fish and chips at Pierce’s Pub. I wouldn’t turn him down, if I were you.

Photo By David Robert

Pierce’s Pub

6148 Mae Anne Ave.
Reno, NV 89523

(775) 746-8811

This might’ve been my own fault, but I was disappointed that this place wasn’t more English. I expected Englishness because of the medieval font of the front sign, the Pierce family crest next to it and the fact that it’s called a “pub.” But mostly, I expected it to be English because I first heard about it from my token English friend, Andrew. He lives only a few blocks away and refers to Pierce’s as “the neighborhood pub.”

As we were walking in, Andrew bumped into an acquaintance, and we stood there chatting, leaving the front door open, which incurred nasty glances from patrons getting blasted with cold air. I felt uncomfortable as Andrew began talking about “football” and some strange event called “The World Cup,” which Andrew claims everyone in the world is really excited about except Americans.

Afterwards, Andrew told me the man he was chatting with was the titular Pierce himself.

It isn’t quite cozy, dark or dingy enough to be what I’d consider a proper pub. It’s brightly lit, and there seems to be a lot of open space (of course, we were there on a slow winter weeknight). There’s a bar and quite a few tables as well as pinball machines, pool tables and a juke box playing songs from Green Day to Tom Petty, Foreigner to the Grateful Dead (all American music, much to my annoyance). They have advertisements for my favorite English beer, Boddingtons, but they don’t have it on tap. Instead, there are just the usuals, like Coors Light and the severely overrated Fat Tire. I was desperate to recreate some sort of illusory English experience, so I drank Boddingtons from the can ($4) and ordered fish and chips ($10.95).

The fish and chips were impressive—Alaskan cod and thick wedges of potato fried in their “homemade Newcastle beer batter.” Some of the best I’ve had, the chips/fries were thick and crisp, and one could even taste the beer in the batter. We also had an order of chicken wings ($6.95 for 10). They were fair at best. We ordered them “hot teriyaki” style, and it was difficult to discern either flavor.

The service was friendly. After we’d finished eating, our server talked us into staying. “Are you sure you don’t want another beer?” she asked, “Because there is always more beer.”

It was then I realized that I wouldn’t want to live in a world where the beer might actually run out, and I happily ordered one more.

Andrew noted that though the pub, only a few months old, is still in its infancy, it’s beginning to develop its own character. “But it’s waiting to be defined by its clientele,” he said. “And that’s the mark of a good pub: it’s defined by its community, not by some restaurant designer.”

In retrospect, I recognized the significance of Pierce being receptive to Andrew’s ideas about what the pub should do for the World Cup.

At some point, about three beers in, we finally got some quality British music: the buzz of feedback that signals the beginning of “I Feel Fine” by the Beatles. And though the song was over all too quickly and followed with what I think was Pantera, it was great while it lasted. And with the Beatles, the Boddingtons, the lingering taste of the excellent fish and chips and Andrew rambling on with his pleasant, matey accent, it occurred to me that the place might be pretty English after all.