36 Handles

Not Your Average Pub

Deep Fried Calamari

Deep Fried Calamari

Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.

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Draped in black and red paint, 36 Handles—

which opened in early December—may seem like a brooding pub replete with dark corners and standoffish patrons, but step inside and you’ll find that restaurateur Richard Righton (of nearby Relish Burger Bar and Bidwell Street Bistro), has created a warm and open locale where the jersey-clad cheery staff are serving up hearty food and quality brews with a side of cool-kid swagger.

Relax with a game of darts or shuffleboard and head to the namesake 36 tap handles for a Guinness (or if you’re in a local mood, try the Old Town Brown by Auburn Alehouse); be sure to check out the charmingly old-school chalkboard for a list of what’s featured on the eight rotating taps.
The menu spans the usual pub offerings, from familiar dishes with a twist to the wholly unexpected. A charcuterie plate appetizer seems counterintuitive, but is sure to please. The jalapeño bacon mac & cheese—with its roasted jalapeños, bacon, garlic and Parmesan breadcrumbs—takes a childhood classic from “comfort food” to a “transcendent delight.” It’s merciful that it’s an appetizer, because I would definitely eat a meal-sized portion (knowing I shouldn’t).

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