A taste of jolly England in Little Norway

Hare and Hounds Executive Chef Chris Plourde stands with the custom bar hand-made by owner Bill Austin. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Hare and Hounds Executive Chef Chris Plourde stands with the custom bar hand-made by owner Bill Austin.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

Poulsbo’s new English pub is named after another Hare and Hounds pub, the one in front of Bill Austin’s boyhood home in Cowfold, England.

The original was founded in the 17th century.

The one built by Austin, of Poulsbo, took about a year of painstaking renovation from a man who, in his own words, likes to “create environments.”

Joining the Italian bistros, European bakeries and a German beer hall, the Hare and Hounds opened last Friday.

“I thought it was about time to have an English one,” Austin said.

The bar, 18990 Front St. NE, features casks of import and microbrews drawn from antique pump handles for a traditional, less fizzy drink.

Right now the bar is featuring mostly English-style Hale’s Ales, made in Seattle. It doesn’t serve Boddingtons Pub Ale, yet.

“But we will.”

In addition to English-style beer, Guinness is on tap.

“We got to please the Irish too, you know.”

The bar features traditional pub food, from bangers and mash — described by Austin as, “a couple of big sausages, mashed potatoes, gravy” — to the Scottish cock-a-leekie soup. That is, chicken soup with leeks.

“Then of course we have good old-fashioned fish and chips.”

It’s an homage to Austin’s native land, also a bit of nostalgia for Poulsbo retirees who have traveled to England and developed a taste for its pub culture.

But Austin mostly intends it to be a gathering place, where people can chat and have a casual, relaxing time, or as he puts it, “Quaff an ale or two and socialize, that’s what it’s all about.”

It’s Austin’s fourth foray into tavern-keeping since the early 1970s, and he isn’t keen on staying in the business for long.

“I’d rather build them than own them,” he said.

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