If you haven’t heard of Brexit, two things, number 1, read a newspaper once in a while, and 2, don’t worry, as Americans, we’re pretty bad when it comes to understanding, let alone caring about, European politics. But the gist of it is, last week the UK experienced its highest voter turnout rate since 1992 and drum roll please…the people voted to leave the European Union in a 52% to 48% split. As we know in the U.S, a voter split like that can sever a nation and divide people in a way that doesn’t exactly promote peace and love. No one knows the entire spectrum of what this means in terms of trade, immigration, and economic impact on the UK and abroad, but it’s certainly making people nervous. So all we can do now is wait, maybe eat a few cornish pies, and watch what unfolds, hoping that sane minds prevail. And there’s no better place to do all of that than at British restaurants and bars around San Francisco. Here’s a list of the best places to stock up on your UK comfort foods.
Nob Hill, SF
This little market next to a computer repair shop is your saving grace if you’ve run out of Marmite and other toast spreadables that look like street drugs but taste like anchovies. Whether you grew up in England or just watching Downtown Abbey, this place has it all, Fruit Pastilles, Wine Gums, and Bacon Fries. But if you’re a really cool nerd, you’ll buy a few Penguin bars and Cheese Flavoured Moments and play the Doctor Who pinball machine in the back til your fingers turn blue.
It’s a shame the U.S never adopted tea time because it’s the best way to put yourself into a deep food coma while looking fancy. It’s said that English tea time is really just an excuse for an indoor picnic and this place is worth the trek to Japantown to see why it’s called that. Order tea for three and a wrack of plates come out filled with crumpets, butter, jam, egg sandwiches, Yorkshire pudding, and sausage wrapped in pastry. It’s a complete carb overload and chances are you won’t be able to get out of your chair without digesting for an hour while sipping tea, so I guess that’s the point.
Inner Richmond, SF
This is a proper English pub complete with bangers and mash, dad bods, dark pints of ale, and lots of sports fans. The perfect place to drink away a weekday afternoon and forget about Brexit and the EU debacle for a while. Until you remember and realize the price of importing British products could go up and then where are you gonna get your Yorkshire tea and Reversy Percy?
SOMA/Union Square, SF
British inspired cocktails and the best Shepherd’s pie this side of the pond. Home of the Pimm’s Cup and the Whiz Bang, this is hands down the best place to grab a cocktail in the area. The atmosphere is swanky, the street noise is poetic, and life feels like 20th century literature, especially after knocking back a few. Knowledgable staff will guide you through the best parts of the menu and talk to you for 25 minutes if you bring up the UK’s exit from the EU, so maybe just don’t until you’re done with your meal.
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