Pay Backstage Pub a visit.
On my quest to find the best pub style food in the 518, I stumbled across Backstage Pub. Right across the street from the Proctors parking lot lies this little bar. I’ve heard it was under new ownership and have heard only great things, so we needed to check it out. Make sure to park on the street, or in the Proctor’s lot if there’s no show going on - the lot the bar sits in is reserved and you will get towed.
Parking was easy on a Friday night in late November, we parked right across the street. The bar was steadily busy, with the stools filled and a few couples at the bar top tables. It looks like they had an extra seating area as we walked in. We sat down immediately and the waitress brought over 2 menus.
The beer list was great with plenty of variety and local brew options. We enjoyed a Sloop Brewing Co. Sour and a Wolf Hollow Oktoberfest. The music was great, the ambiance was nice and rustic, and the staff was wonderful. Our waitress was very attentive through the whole experience.
To start, the menu is very small. We were a bit surprised, but it could also be good because the smaller the menu, the more focus on those specific items. We started with the Open Faced Jalapeños (Jalapeños with a cheese blend topped with smoked paprika) - they were great. They were missing some sort of fried component and texture, but the flavor was definitely there. I would definitely try the deviled eggs next time, because the flavors change daily.
Since it was Friday, they had a Friday Fish Fry as a special with homemade tartar sauce. I never say no to a good fish fry. And just that it was, crispy and delicious. They used Panko bread crumbs instead of the classic wet batter. The fish was cooked perfect, the breadcrumbs were seasoned well and the tartar was delicious. The panko really made such a difference and was very unique to other fish fries. It added a wonderful textural element that made me eat every last bite. The fries were definitely fresh cut, and fried to order. And the coleslaw - LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THAT COLESLAW - amazing. It was like blue cheese dressing meets shredded cabbage. Definitely craveable.
My dinner guest ordered the fried chicken sandwich topped with housemade coleslaw. Pick your sauce:
Bacon Jam, Charred-Pineapple Habanero, Teriyaki, Garlic-Parm, Honey Sriracha, Chipotle Lime, Mild, Medium, Hot, Extra Hot. He ordered the chipotle aioli, which I don’t see listed above, but he loved it. It was easily one of the best fried chicken sandwiches he’s ever had. The chicken was crispy and brown, yet juicy and tender. The bun was sweet and toasted. We both finished every last bite of our meals.
Overall, our experience was wonderful. The ambiance was comforting, the owner walked around and made sure everyone was enjoying their meals. They really care about what they’re doing and the food they’re putting out to customers. It shows through the taste and the customer service. This will definitely not be our last time at Backstage Pub. Keep up the good work and awesome food.