Dallas has another gastropub headed its way. According to its website and a Facebook page, the Mad Tavern promises a concept featuring 32 different beers on tap, 100 different beers in the bar, loads of TVs for loads of sports and an August 26 open date.
Its arrival has me thinking again about that term: gastropub. Does it actually indicate elevated bar food, or is an over used marketing ploy that means $12 burgers and an expensive beer list? Does it refer to bars that serve up English-style dishes, or can it be used to describe any establishment who gives a damn about their beer list and chow?
Gastro obviously refers to gastronomy, the art and practice of choosing and eating good food. Pub means drunk the last time I checked. The term gastropub was first used to describe The Eagle, a bar-turned-restaurant in London. The Spotted Pig opened in lower Manhattan, and Fords Filling Station out in California. It didn't take long for capitalists to appropriate the term. Now gastropubs are everywhere. Don't even think about opening a bar with out gastro in the description. If fact, that may not be enough now as Mad Tavern has billed itself as a Euro Gastro Pub, a term that seems redundant.
I'm a bar-food connoisseur, a burger aficionado, a fish and chips devotee. I love good pub grub, and I'll gleefully pay $15 for a burger as long as it's beautiful. But when food terms get overused, they often become as watered down as the beer at a dive bar. Pegasus News reports that the Mad Tavern marks the start of a gastropub trend we all desire.
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I'd say with spaces like Neighborhood Services Tavern and the Libertine, which have been open for years, the trend of elevating bar food has been here a while.