Ambleside Pub Dishes up a Slice of England in Mount Kisco

Led by the owners of British food-and-gift shop The Hamlet, the eatery leans into traditional drinks and fare.

At Christmas time, Drew Hodgson noticed he was feeling depressed.

“Christmas is a big deal in England — a really big deal — and families go to the pub. All my family is still in England, and I missed that,” he says. To recreate that sense of community, Drew, who hails from the Lake District in northwestern England, and his American wife, Leigh, opened Ambleside Pub in April, a stone’s throw from their successful British food-and-gift shop, The Hamlet, in downtown Mount Kisco.

The pub’s logo features a landmark bridge house in the town of Ambleside, where Drew grew up. This traditional British pub is painted in cozy browns with plump, pin-cushioned leather stools at small, round tables and nooks aplenty. It’s filled with artwork (check out the quirky cat and dog art in the bathrooms) and memorabilia from Drew’s parents’ home, plus six TVs for British sports. The TVs transform into paintings in the evening. “We want people sitting around, chatting in the evenings,” Leigh says.

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Scotch egg and a basket of chips
Scotch egg and a basket of chips.

Unlike many American bars, British pubs are more family oriented, where people bring their children and parents. They come for conversation, their beverage of choice, and a meal or snack. “We have a simple, small menu, done well. It’s like a coffee shop but with alcohol,” he says.

Patrons can read the menu on the chalkboard beside the handcrafted bar made from century-old wood discovered at a Manhattan apartment. True to pub style, guests order at the bar (with hardly any stools, on purpose), grab a number for their table, and a food runner will deliver their dishes.

Fish and chips with tartar sauce.
Fish and chips with tartar sauce.

The changing menu will have traditional British pub fare like bangers and mash, warm shepherd’s pie, gleaming, golden Cornish pasties, crunchy-but-tender Scotch eggs, sausage rolls, and chickpea curry. The fish and chips are a mainstay, made with flaky cod and battered with Ambleside Best Bitter cask ale for a fluffy, crispy crunch. Desserts range from a berry crumble to classic sticky-toffee pudding, which originated in the Lake District.

And yes, the drinks are paramount here. Created with Old Glenham Brewery, the three cask ales are served “basically how beer was served 500 years ago,” Drew says. They’re made with four ingredients, no added carbonation besides natural yeast, chilled in a special cellar at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and hand-pulled from the cask into 20-ounce imperial pints or 10-ounce half pints. Other beers are mostly from local New York breweries. There’s a full liquor bar and nonalcoholic options, such as Fentimans sodas.

Along with cask ales and other drinks, Ambleside offers traditional British pub fare, such as the chickpea curry, Cornish pasty, and shepherd’s pie
Along with cask ales and other drinks, Ambleside offers traditional British pub fare, such as the chickpea curry, Cornish pasty, and shepherd’s pie.

Come fall, the Hodgsons envision Sunday roasts, afternoon tea, and British TV show events.

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“It’s all very, very traditional,” Drew says.

23 E Main St, Mount Kisco; 914.733.6008

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