Too Cool For School
Schoolhouse Pub is welcome addition to Manor dining
By Brandon Watson,
4:05PM, Tue. Sep. 24, 2013
Walking into Schoolhouse Pub, you can't help thinking that you've wandered into a Pinterest board. Raw-edged lace gussies up the windows. Tabletop card holders are DIYed from school supplies. The tickets peek behind mini marbled composition books. Every detail is repinnable, just short of twee. You can take your mom if she happens to be a lush.
If all that sounds too cutesy, rest assured this Schoolhouse has a rebellious student body. You might not be smoking in the boy's room, but you'll find much to otherwise keep you occupied. Chief among those is a curated bar. This definitely is not a place to slam Midori shooters. Schoolhouse Pub's bottom shelf could easily sub for the top.
The cocktail program makes good use of the quality liquors. Many of the drinks play with various sugars – agave, maple syrup, marmalade, and honey are all featured. To curb the treacle, the sweet is tempered by complexity. Cinnamon lends a bit of silk road exoticism to the rye in the Teacher's Pet. Lavender honey and clove sugar add nuance to the citrus in the gin-based Detention. Intro to Spanish sips like a campfire take on the agua fresca, hibiscus unexpectedly meeting the smolder of Mezcal.
The beer selection goes out on a few limbs too – from the earthen yeastiness of Jester King's El Cedro to the strong pine of Great Divides' Hercules Double IPA. Texas is well represented, with selections from Real Ale, Southern Star, and local sustainable brewery Hops and Grain. You can still get a Lone Star, but why waste time when you can get a Adelbert's Brewery Scratchin' Hippo?
Perhaps due to the high-octane of the drink menu, the food mostly sticks to the ribs. The classic French Dip, renamed here the French Wench, features a robust dipping jus, thickened enough to hug the french bread. The Schoolhouse version of poutine mostly keeps the Canadian formula intact, only welcoming braised short ribs to the trifecta of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. The Duck Pie is chilled in the British tradition, herbed slightly with rosemary, thyme, and sage. Order two of the Chorizo and Eggs, an international study combining the fried Scotch Egg with the Southern deviled egg.
Like so many things at Schoolhouse Pub, it's a clever version of the familiar. Think of it as a prodigious student that has just discovered the classics.