Carlton's nautical dive bar has all the ingredients for a good night out: great food, rock 'n' roll music, clever bartenders and an excellent range of craft beers and cocktails. American-inspired restaurants and bars have been popping up all over the place in the last little while, and they're not likely to be going anywhere fast, so you might as well strap in and enjoy the ride. That's exactly what we did.
The Beaufort is the creation of Dave Kerr, formerly of the Woods of Windsor, and first opened their doors in July 2012. Yes, the Beaufort has been around for a little while already, so why are we only writing about it now? Because we always end up having too much fun there, and any intentions of taking notes always seem to go straight out the window when there are ribs to be consumed and some Sailor Jerry on the table.
But to the night at hand: it's a Friday and the place is buzzing, but not unruly — yet. Despite the length of the bar being covered with patrons, we're attended to and offered some handy advice when perusing their ribs menu, courtesy of Ike's Rack Shack.
We order a half pound of the pork ribs, an Out and Out Burger and a growler of Lord Nelson Three Sheet Pale Ale. On other occasions we've waltzed into The Beaufort and downed several Dark 'n' Stormys, which consist of the perfect mix of Gosling Rum, ginger beer and lime. This is generally where our undoing begins, so we'll leave them alone tonight.
The burger arrives exactly the way it says it would on the menu. Rare. The perfect size, it is so juicy, and the shoestring fries that come with it are quickly demolished. Now for the ribs, and — shiver me timbers — they are lip-smackingly good. They've been covered in a salt and pepper rub and smoked overnight, then glazed with a Bulliet Bourbon and maple syrup concoction that causes them to practically fly into our mouths. We were also treated to some deep fried pickles, the same ones the bar quickly became famous for when it first opened. And while they're not listed on the menu, it doesn't hurt to ask the bar staff about them — it just goes to show what a little friendliness and bar banter at The Beaufort can get you.
For a bar that is so tongue-in-cheek, they take their booze and their food very seriously. A fantastic cocktail list that is both inventive and knowledgeable is matched by a selection of craft beers that are constantly rotated — which is great news for their loyal regulars. It seems the devil is in the details, from the hand-cut ice to the placement of every nautical knick-knack.
At ease sailor: your duty of making this night a memorable one has been accomplished.
Image thanks to christinanoni via Instagram.