It’s getting harder to keep up with new restaurants arriving on the scene with enlightened beer lists and great food, which appeals to everyone. The Southern California-based Public School fits the bill and has three locations in Southern California, one in Las Vegas, one in Dallas and two more opening soon in Los Angeles and Addison (a suburb of Dallas). Each location has the phone area code affixed to its name and the spacious gastropubs from restaurateur Bob Spivak sport a school theme that is celebrated throughout. Its motto proclaims “An Education in the Art of Food & Beer” and accoutrements to bolster the theme include a book case with encyclopedias, globes, apples, microscope, paint brushes and sports equipment; chalkboards; restrooms labeled Locker Room, and to-go bags tagged as Homework; and menu in the shape and look of a composition book
One of the best aspects is the beer list, not the size of it as much as the quality of it. The 14 rotating taps, 10 mainstay drafts and 14 bottles and cans are nothing to sneeze at, but what’s remarkable is that not a single beer is a lackluster brew or even mediocre. All are really solid choices, and just as importantly, ones you don’t see most anywhere else. The selection varies at each location but each makes it a point to feature several local and regional beers and standouts from around the US and world. Worthy examples during my visit included sour beers such as Anderson Valley Holy Gose, New Belgium La Folie and Uinta 22nd Birthday Suit; Belgian-style Brooklyn Brewing Sorachi Ace Saison and Victory Brewing Golden Monkey Tripel; and the rich and chewy Goose Island Bourbon County and North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stouts.
You may come for the beer, but you’ll stay for the food, which received an A grade from me. The kitchen prides itself on using only the freshest quality ingredients, sourced from local farmer’s markets whenever possible. The eclectic, seasonal menu from executive chef Phil Kastel includes a mixture of table snacks like Bacon Cheddar Tots and Crispy Ahi Tuna Tacos; plates such as Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits with greens and beer-blanc sauce, and Fried Jidori Chicken & Green Chili Cornbread Waffles with bacon red eye gravy; pizzas like Fig & Prosciutto with gorgonzola, provolone and balsamic reduction; and burgers such as Colorado Lamb with tomato cranberry jam. Portion sizes are large and prices are much smaller than you’d expect, with appetizers around $6-$9; plates $12-$22; pizzas $9-$12; sides only $4 (a must-try is the Summer Succotash with roasted market vegetables); and desserts $5. And, the aforementioned stellar beer menu is more than reasonable, with most priced from $4-$7.
Happy hour, dubbed Recess, occurs M-F from 4-6:30 and specials are drafts for $4-$5, well drinks for $5, half liter of wine for $10-$15 and appetizers from $4-$7.
Public School is open daily for lunch and dinner and a brunch is served on Sat.-Sun. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To view the complete menu, visit www.psontap.com.
Bob Barnes is editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and writes the Top 10 Beer lists for Gayot.com. He welcomes your inquiries and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.