If you hang around downtown San Jose for long enough, you might become curious about someone called "The Brit." It seems like they host more parties than is humanly possible—"When do they sleep?" one has to wonder, hearing about the many DJs, karaoke sessions, and sports viewings they host. Follow a weekend crowd, however, and you'll learn that The Brit is not a person, but a pub where British cuisine pairs with beer, cocktails, and cheery character.
The menu at Britannia Arms Downtown covers the savory bases, from shepherd's pie to bangers and mash. And though they are British staples, the recipes are far from flippant reproductions. The fish and chips features housemade beer batter and tartar sauce over its Atlantic white cod, and the Angus beef patty on the baguette burger is hand-shaped. These and other entrees pair well with more than 20 drinks on draft, such as Boddingtons and Wyder's Pear Cider, available in pints, 120-oz "beer towers," or a 16-story hollow replica of Big Ben.
The Brit rallies its patrons for events almost every night of the week. There might be a UFC match on its many televisions, a stand-up comedian regaling the guests, or a trivia contest pitting team against team. One constant is the chatter on the heated patio, which sprawls for 3,000 square feet and has its own full-service bar.