The $1 beers and $1 hot dogs at Bay Meadows race track just weren't enough for us on Friday night, so after losing a few bucks on the horses, we headed around the corner to The Prince of Wales Pub.
This is a bar that has managed to survive more than three decades -- without any marketing gimmicks, big-screen TV, pool table, fancy cocktails, etc. The first time I visited Prince of Wales (which was several years ago), a band comprised of half a dozen octogenarian was there to entertain the crowd. Darts and a couple of arcade games are also available. But the real reason to come here isn't for any kind of scene; it's all about the fish and chips (served with garlic ketchup!). And, if you're brave, the Habanero Hamburger. Finish one of these bad boys -- a beef patty with a sauce made of chile oil, horseradish and habaneros -- and your name and photo go up on the "Wall of Flame" for all to admire.
To wash down your fish and chips or that spicy burger, the Prince of Wales offers 70 bottled beers and 11 draught beers for its Beers of the World Club. On a warm day, the outdoor patio is the perfect spot to hang out.
If you're looking for good, cheap British fare (of course "bangers and mash" are on the menu) in an unpretentious, friendly setting, this hole-in-the-wall is a must.
TIP: You order your food at the bar in the back, they call your name when it's ready, and you pick it up yourself. There's no table service here.
The Prince of Wales Pub
106 E. 25th Street
San Mateo, CA