The institution of the pub has undergone an interesting evolution. The quintessential pub is a homey establishment with the comforts of greasy food, a lineup of standard U.K.-centric taps and expat soccer hooliganism. The subsequent birth of gastropubs elevated the draughts and fare considerably, concurrently embracing and rejecting their roots. Company Pub & Kitchen (13670 Poway Road in Poway) strikes an interesting balance between the two.
Despite a rather unassuming Poway strip-mall edifice, the interior has a polished industrial feel that’s a bit too hip for its geography. The bar physically carves the establishment into drinking and dining hemispheres, a design that efficiently buffers diners from inebriated shenanigans.
The tap selection signifies a pub reaching beyond its roots, though not overachieving. There’s a modest mix of local all-stars and considerably maltier alternatives from all over creation. The Guinness and Stella Artois are likewise on draught if you like, but they’re segregated to a separate set of handles. I believe that layout sends a clear message to patrons that these beers, while essential for the establishment, aren’t going to be the focus of things.
The menu focuses on slightly more refined pub fare without invoking culinary buzzwords like “deconstructed.” Their sausage platter particularly impresses, as do the array of sauces to accompany your chips, but anything served with a flatbread is sure to deliver sauce-sopping goodness.
Their aggressive happy-hour prices (4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday) favor beer enthusiasts of all stripes, with $4 draughts and $2 discounts on all Pub Bites. You can even get bottles of domestic macrolagers for $2.50, which is at least an inexpensive way to shame your ancestors.
Company Pub & Kitchen is a bit more kitchen than pub, but it still manages to pull both off. The beer inventory may not be overly ambitious relative to San Diego beer culture, but it’s welcomed for pub-goers seeking something with more punch than a Newcastle. If you don’t mind a jukebox that occasionally favors Kenny Chesney over Dropkick Murphys, you’re bound to find good company here.