The Corner Pub

Burgers and bargains in Bow

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I’ve been vaguely aware of the Corner Pub for a number of years. It looks like one of those ubiquitous roadside bars you drive past in rural areas pretty much everywhere. A great hangout for Bow-area locals, but not necessarily somewhere you’d go out of your way for.

Then last spring I heard the pub had been bought by sisters Nicole and Maggi Holbert, who own Adrift in Anacortes. Adrift is a wildly popular restaurant known for locally sourced ingredients, so I assumed the Corner would go through some changes. I recently rounded up a group of friends and went there for dinner.

The Corner has live music frequently, but the night we went had nothing scheduled. While surprisingly empty for a Friday night, there were still several tables of extremely raucous locals, although the bar was empty and the shuffleboard table was quiet. The place had the classic bar ambience of stale smoke and fry oil. Despite the presence of televisions in every corner, the volume was low and the screens didn’t seem particularly obtrusive. We pulled up our stools and checked out the menu.

Beverage options include wine, beer in bottles and on draft, and a full bar. We shared a pitcher of Boundary Bay IPA, which we drank from mason jar-style mugs. I gather there’s a beer garden out back, and occasionally customers would wander in through the back door and grab a beer out of the cooler.

The appetizer list is extensive, and includes every deep-fried pub starter you can think of: deep fried pickles, jalapeño poppers, battered mushrooms, and mozzarella sticks are all there, plus the Corner’s specialty, deep fried chicken gizzards ($8.50). We ordered the fresh potato chips ($2.50), which were hot and crispy and quite good dipped into blue cheese sauce, and macaroni and cheese bites ($8), which tasted exactly like deep fried Kraft mac and cheese out of a box—in a good way.

Burgers were a must-try (the menu specifically mentions that they’re made with Best Foods mayonnaise, definitely a selling point with our group).

One of our party got the bacon cheeseburger ($9), while another ordered the French Onion burger ($8.75, plus $1.25 for sautéed mushrooms), and reviews were good. Another companion ordered a patty melt and, while wishing it came on a darker rye, liked the deep brown, extra-sweet caramelized onions. All burgers and sandwiches here come with fries, but you can upgrade to a different side for $2, which all three of my tasters did. Coleslaw came in a generous portion, onion rings were crisp and sweet, and sweet potato waffle fries were perfectly fried.

I, acting as the maverick of the group, decided to try fish tacos, which were written up on a piece of paper over the bar with a few other daily specials (along with buy-one-get-one-free jello shots). They were excellent, and at only six bucks a real bargain: two flour tortillas liberally coated with cheese and toasted until crisp and gooey, then topped with perfectly fried fish and plenty of coleslaw, with salsa and sour cream on the side.

My plate arrived a bit later than my friends’ meals, but the cook/server explained that he didn’t want to make the tacos too greasy by cooking them at the same time as the burgers. I was impressed, and wondered whether the new owners are introducing new ideas gradually through their specials. I know if these were on the regular menu I would get them repeatedly.

The verdict? This is a place that really knows how to handle their deep fryer, and they serve well-prepared classic pub food. I look forward to hearing how their menu develops over time. Not a destination restaurant, yet, but worth keeping an eye on when you happen to be passing through Skagit farmland.

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