As soon as you drive into the parking lot of The Little Pub in Old Saybrook, it might seem like you have stopped off in the UK for a moment as you notice the signature British red telephone booth.

But no, you’re right off Route 1 in Connecticut. There’s the 1937 Chevy pickup that greets diners as they enter the Tudor-style eatery, a white stucco building with wooden beams, giving a hint to the eclectic offerings inside.

Owners’ Doug and Daneen Grabe opened Little Pub just over a year ago adding to their successful group of pubs located in Fairfield, Greenwich, Wilton and Stratford.

With a background in technology and manufacturing, Doug Grabe wasn’t looking for a career in the restaurant business.

“I was approached with an opportunity to open a place in Ridgefield a while ago. We figured out that we were good at it and continued to multiply.” shared Grabe.

Inside the restaurant you are transported to jolly old England with the traditional pub setting — dark, wood beamed ceiling, lanterned chandeliers, and enormous fieldstone fireplaces adding to the rustic Brit feel.

But, the offerings are an eclectic mix with a nod to traditional pub fare with fish and chips, plus many American and chef specialties. And a choice of signature cocktails to make anyone feel merry — from a specialty tequila to the pub fave, Guinness stout.

Grabe hopes diners feel a sense of escape and fun while enjoying great food and drink.

“Making people happy and seeing them have a good time...It’s nice to create that atmosphere. You can come with your friends and just relax.” Grabe said.

Aside from the festive atmosphere, the menu is where the fun really begins at Little Pub. Starting with the bar menu, Little Pub has rotating tap selections aside from their house offerings of Stella Artois, Guinness and Belgium Palm Ale. Today’s variety all hail from New England such as the Reverie Banana Stand, a dry wheat beer with hints of banana, cloves, and lemondrop hops from Newtown, Conn.

It’s hard to choose from Little Pub’s, “Not So Little List of Cans and Bottles.” From Connecticut crafted beers, stouts and hard ciders and seltzers, there’s something for every taste.

Seasonal cocktails on the menu include Hot Apple Cider served virgin or spiked with your favorite spirit. Try the Harvest Doli made with vodka, pineapple, pear, cranberries topped with a splash of hard dry cider.

“We’ve been blessed as we have very creative bartenders who make many cocktail ingredients from scratch. They make their own sangria, and this summer we added a mai tai using house made orgeat (or-zha(t), a sweet almond-flavored syrup.

Grabe proudly displayed a special bottle of tequila unique to the restaurant. “This tequila started with us through Patron. They distilled it just for us, and you can only get that particular anejo here or any of our other locations.”

It may take you a while to choose from the abundance of menu offerings. Grabe shared, “We have a little bit of something for everybody. There’s your traditional pub dishes like fish and chips, and buffalo wings, but then we have items like pickle wings. They’re brined in pickle juice for 24 hours and fried extra deep crispy. It all comes from the creative mind of executive chef, Timmy Tassaro Jr.”

Other popular items Grabe highlighted are crab cakes, pork and kimchi dumplings and sandwiches such as the meatloaf grilled cheese, Kick’n Chick’n that is beer battered with smoked Gouda, bacon, and maple barbecue sauce. Try the Going to Graceland burger topped with grilled bananas and Thai peanut sauce.

“We have a good time naming everything. We try to have fun with everything we do and that extends to the menu.”

For Grabe, the best part of owning so many restaurants is, “The people that we work with. I have five other families, and what’s great about that is you watch how steady employment can improve peoples’ lives, and for me, that’s one of the most gratifying things.”

Little Pub also offers live music during the week with acoustic singers and live bands on the weekends. Acts such as Nick Fradiani, Sr., and Connecticut-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Zach Lockwood have performed at Little Pub.

With its motto of, “Great food, generous drinks, and a lively pub atmosphere you’ll feel right at home in.”, Little Pub seems to have hit its stride in Old Saybrook.

As Grabe shares, “We want customers to have the time of their lives. You go out, work all week, and spend your hard earned money here. We just want you to have fun and to come back.”

Little Pub, 1231 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook www.littlepub.com

Connecticut Media Group