Pub Royale

Bars, Pubs Ukrainian Village
Recommended
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(13user reviews)
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 (Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale
Hot Chicken at Pub Royale
 (Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale
Mango Lassi at Pub Royale.
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams
Pub Royale
 (Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale
Lamb dumplings at Pub Royale.
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams
Pub Royale
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams
Royale Cups at Pub Royale.
 (Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale
Salt cod samosas at Pub Royale.
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams
Pub Royale
 (Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale
Buttered Paneer at Pub Royale
 (Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale
Knickerbocker Glory at Pub Royale.
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
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Photograph: Martha Williams
Pub Royale

The British-Indian-themed bar has a terrific beer list and serves an array of Indian snacks

When Pub Royale opened in May 2015 with a British-Indian theme, it sounded almost too hyperspecific—and potentially dicey—to work. But while Britain and India have a long, complicated political history, there’s a clear culinary relationship as well, since their cuisines have merged into Anglo-Indian food, a cuisine style best exemplified by chicken tikka masala, a curry popular in Britain.

That’s the angle Pub Royale, the latest bar from Heisler Hospitality (Sportsman’s Club), takes with their food and drink, which includes a lineup of Pimm’s Cups, the summery British favorite, curries and a daily-changing beer and cider menu that rivals the best beer bars in Chicago. The drink list, from beverage director Michael McAvena (Publican), has a mix of interesting local, national and international beers on draft, as well as ciders from the U.S., Spain, France and England. 

The fact that there’s a thoughtful food menu might make you confuse this for a restaurant, but it’s firmly a bar. All seats are first-come, first-served, so you can’t count on getting to eat. But if you’re hungry and manage to score seats, the menu, from Jason Vaughan, director of culinary development, is packed with hits, including spicy lamb dumplings and a doughnut made from naan dough that’s topped with chai dulce de leche.

But it was the service that really stood out—everyone I talked to there was incredibly nice and knowledgeable, making Pub Royale the kind of place you want to make your regular spot.

Vitals

Atmosphere: With quirky touches—peacocks perched atop the bar, elephant tap handles, a motorcycle on the wall—Pub Royale feels like walking onto the set for Wes Anderson’s Darjeeling Limited.

What to eat: While I can never return to Pub Royale without getting the gently gamy lamb dumplings in chili oil again, there’s also buttered paneer, cheese cubes resting in a tomato sauce with slivers of salted chiles; warm, salty samosas stuffed with salt cod and potatoes; and Indian hot chicken, big pieces of fried chicken with super-crisp skin and mild heat, served with piquant fermented limes and chiles. End with the fantastically named Knickerbocker Glory, a many-layered sundae with a variety of fruits, ice creams and crispy elements, a dish that may or may not originate from a British line of “outerwear-themed desserts.” 

What to drink: This is a beer bar, first and foremost, but with a daily changing beer list, it’s hard to make suggestions. If nothing on the beer list projected onto the back wall catches your attention, ask your server for a recommendation. Or, just get the house shandygaff, a refreshing combination of Off Color Troublesome and limeade, which is great paired with the spicy dishes on the menu. I also liked the dressed Hamm’s, an icy can of cheap beer with a thick cap of Valentina hot sauce poured on top, a pretty take on a Michelada. 

For cocktails, there’s a funky frozen mango lassi, made with yogurt, mango, honey and bitters, spiked with rum, Batavia Arrack and Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, and garnished with sweet paprika and mint—it’s super boozy but refreshing. A menu of four Royale Cups, all made with Pimm’s and a potable bitter liqueur from Letherbee, includes the #1, a traditional, cucumber-heavy Pimm’s Cup; #2, laced with Batavia Arrack and with subtle spice from Ancho Reyes, the best of the bunch; #3, a Scotch-based version that tastes a little too wintery to work in summer; and #4, a Jungle Bird riff that’s lightly bitter with Campari. Our server told us that there are more Cups on the way, including a Malört version.

Where to sit: It’s first-come, first-served for all seats, and there’s a mix of bar seats, communal tables and high two-tops in back. While I easily snagged an open bar stool on a Tuesday night, on a busy Friday, my date and I chatted up another couple so we could swoop in and grab their seats when they were done. 

By: Amy Cavanaugh

Posted:

Venue name: Pub Royale
Contact:
Address: 2049 W Division St
Chicago
60622
Opening hours: Daily 5pm-2am
Transport: El stop: Blue to Division. Bus: 49, 50, 70.
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:6
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LiveReviews|13
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tastemaker

I'm pretty obsessed with this place! Can't believe I haven't reviewed it yet, I've been there at least 10 times lol. The food is SO GOOD. The drinks are SO GOOD. The patio is SO GOOD. Must try: Mango Lassi Cocktail, Chicken Quesadilla or Wrap, whichever is available, and everything else. 


I also loved their limited-time menu available during Do Division this year, which had fancy $4 jello shots in several creative flavors. This place is a great addition to Division Street and I hope it sticks around for many years! 


Loved this place; I had brunch there with some friends. We tasted a everything, including the avocado paratha, chai french toast, hot chicken, the cauliflower gobi, samosa and others. All the food was excellent. We went near closing time so it was quiet and kids were great there. The beer was excellent and we loved the smaller pour options. Great place! Can't wait to return.

tastemaker

WOW!  I actually love this place.  Ive been twice which is a huge feat for me because I am always trying to find the best new place.


Alas, the food at this joint is PHENOMENAL!  The indian flair pub food is fantastic. Butter chicken, cod samosas, spicy shrimp...you cant go wrong.


Also their cocktails are very refreshing and a cute little list.  A decent beer list.


A loud crowd and crowded space are the only downfalls so if you can snag a booth, thats fantastic!

moderator

Don't sleep on Pub Royale's brunch menu, which complements the indispensable samosas and Indian hot chicken with items like chai spiced French toast and a rich, tangy avocado paratha. Pair up with a mango lassi or Bloody Maharani and your Sunday's off to a fine start.

tastemaker

This is a really fun spot to grab a cocktail or two and some tasty Indian snacks with friends. The decor here is quirky and worth taking a look around to see all the details. Some food highlights are the Gobi manchurian (sweet and spicy fried cauliflower) and the rich eggplant curry. I thoroughly enjoyed the Royale cup cocktails #3 and #4 which were both gin-based, refreshing, and a little spicy!

tastemaker

The drinks here are so great. Additionally, I love the food menu. Being Indian, it's hard to please me, but this place knocked it out of the park. Furthermore, the atmosphere is great. They have a patio as well. 

moderatorStaff Writer

I'm obsessed with the fact that the beer menu here is made to look like an old airport terminal board. The Gobi Manchurian is awesome, I'm pretty sure our group ended up eating three orders...


Love this spot! One of my favorite locations to grab a great cocktail or two and some amazing snack food. The service is fantastic. Everyone there is happy to help and super friendly. Definitely try out any of the royale cups & Gobi Manchurian! 

Tastemaker

Pub Royale is wonderful! Great place to go with friends and share some finger food. I recommend the fried cauliflower. Also, they use the small circular ice that everyone loves, don't miss the Shandygaff!


An ever-evolving beer menu with a few reliable taps will always have my heart. With plenty to pick from, including the delicious House Shandygaff and an interesting "dressed up" Hamm's, beer drinkers will find something to fit their fancy. Everything on the menu tastes delicious, but grab the salt cod samosas, the vinegar hits just the right spot.

moderator

I love Pub Royale. Order one of everything (definitely the samosas and the Gobi Manchurian) and don't forget to sample one of the tons of beers. You'll also always find the House Shandygaff on the drink list—it's a delicious Off-Color Brewing Troublesome mixed with limeade. 

moderator

Just get the mango lassi and move on with your day. It's generally a great summertime drink, but you can suck those things down year round.