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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

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A sound British pub is the best place to watch the games.
A sound British pub is the best place to watch the games.
European and American sporting events alike draw big crowds.
European and American sporting events alike draw big crowds.

God save the British pub

I love the Olympics. I also love England, English history and all of the English things in the entire world. All of them. Even Voldemort. 

Because of this, I’m especially loving the 2012 Olympic Games, held this year in London (in case you hadn’t heard). Having Kate Middleton, Prince William, Michael Phelps and Bob Costas all appear on my television screen within the same half hour? That, mates, is brilliant. 

Watching the Olympics is something that should be done, if at all possible, in groups. Who wanted to watch solo in 2008 when Michael Phelps and Team USA beat the French in the Men’s 400m relay by eight-hundredths of a second? Ditto for Kerri Strug’s amazing sprained-ankle vault performance in the ’96 Olympics.

For these priceless feel-good, triumph-of-the-human-spirit moments, you’ll feel less like a dork if you’re in a room full of other people who are freaking out as much as you are. 

And aren't the Olympics all about community anyway?

Last Friday I went out to the Three Lions’ Pub in Shorewood to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and I realized that this is the perfect place to watch the games. We happened to be there during the Women’s 200m Butterfly, sitting next to the 100" screen in the back of the pub, noshing on mushed peas and sipping Strongbow. Oh, and our waiter was Australian.

What’s better than watching very British Olympics while sipping on very British cider and being served by a citizen of the Commonwealth – next to a picture of Harry Potter? I'll tell you what. Nothing.

Co-owner David Price told me that the pub is "a good destination for all fans to come and feel as close to being in Britain as possible, from this side of the pond." I couldn’t agree more. 

The fare is a lovely blend of straightforward English dishes and American favorites. I had the fish and chips (fantastic – they also have a Wisconsin version) but was tempted by the Welsh rarebit. The extensive beer selection also impressed me; as the Brits would say, they don’t mess about. You can have your New Glarus Spotted Cow if you feel like going domestic or a Newcastle Brown Ale if you want to get into the Anglo spirit of things. 

Also, their women’s bathroom is decorated with photographs of the British women’s suffrage movement. I’m a big fan of American women’s suffrage (because I greatly enjoy voting and owning property) but compared to their British sisters, Susan B. Anthony & Co. were Activism Lite. British suffragettes got run over by racehorses. (Literally. Google that.) So, fixing my make-up next to a photograph of Emmeline Pankhurst brought girl power to a whole new level for me. 

Price, a native of Billington, U.K., told me that the most authentically British aspect of his establishment (which he owns with Chris Tinker) is the all-are-welcome feel. 

"Milwaukee’s obviously a great city for bars and drinking and it’s very similar to Britain in the social aspect of drinking – you don’t go out to get drunk, you go out to have a pint and a chat with friends and a catch-up," he said. "The thing I felt is that a lot of bars here get pigeonholed as a dive bar or a college bar or a hoity-toity wine bar. Us, as a pub, is not that at all. It is an extension to your living room." 

Sounds perfect for watching the Olympic Games, since most of us do that in our living rooms anyway. 

"We are really happy with the atmosphere the customers have helped us develop here, especially during sports events and recent events such as the Queen’s Jubilee, the Royal Wedding and the Olympics," he said. 

And he knows that even though their clientele is comprised of a lot of football-obsessed Brits – and American soccer enthusiasts – Milwaukeeans still want to see their Packers and their Brewers. 

"Hopefully we can keep growing and be the Anglophiles’ place to go, especially for events such as (the Olympics), and for the soccer matches," he said. "We are also happy to embrace all the American sports and can proudly say we are all huge Packers and Brewers fans." 

I’m going to make a point of returning to the Three Lions sometime before the end of the Olympics. The pub is offering specials like $5 Pimm’s Cups and $4 pints of Sprecher Hooligan for the duration of the games.

Of course, I’d love to hear if there are any other great British-themed haunts in Milwaukee to check out – so talkback to me, Anglophiles. God Save the Queen.

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