- Scott Andrews
- Royalty stops by Sparky’s outdoor bar
Weekends offer an abundance of entertainment, but for daily relief, nothing beats everyone’s favorite British export — the pub. With roots stretching back to travelers’ rest stops during the Roman occupation of England, and perfected in the 1700s, the pub is a neighborhood gathering place where you can get beer on tap, a bite to eat, and most important — not get hassled. In short, a comfort spot. If you come back more than twice, it’s your local.
Located on the Main Strip, and catering to the LGBT community seven days a week, Sparky’s Pub stays true to its English inspiration, albeit with a few twists. A large horseshoe bar holds down the center of the main room, where both beer and mixed drinks are to be had in short or U.S. pint pours — a full 16 ounces. Sparky’s takes happy hour seriously; from opening time at 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., everyday, domestic bottle beers and pint-sized well drinks are only $2. Darts or a game of pool are available, but sports are replaced with music videos on the monitor. Not really into suds? There’s a second bar providing an extensive wine list, with both domestic and international varieties. Available by the bottle, or, for the most part, by the glass, prices start at $5. If the occasion and your wallet warrant it, you can splurge for a bottle of Dom P at $225. Seating along the walls gives the privacy expected with that investment.
Of course, not everyone stays plopped down. A recent Tuesday night began sedately, if not quietly; with the sound system cranked up inside, we quickly passed to the outdoor nook, equipped with its own bar and staff. Small tables provided good conversation spots, and served nicely for a visit. If you want to keep to yourself, this is a good option.
Even outside, there are distractions. The bartender amused himself, and the customers who soon filled the bar stools, by tossing and flipping glasses while building drink orders. Soon, laughter broke out, and patrons added their own antics to the display, miming silent poses like actors in a cabaret for the deaf. That illusion was broken, as pairs and small groups began to mix in conversation, though several dedicated couples held their ground alone.
Back inside, by 11 p.m., the crowd had filled out enough to dampen the sound system into balance. Noted as an establishment favoring the ladies, Sparky’s is not by any means a segregated bar. The youngish (20s-30s) crowd of mostly women at 9 p.m. gave way to a mix of men and women as the night wore on, though grizzled bears, if there were any, were not conspicuous.
Sparky’s also lacks the traditional pub grub, without a basket of fish and chips in sight. Instead of a backroom kitchen, the pub is equipped with a cafe in front that can be entered by its own door. Not surprisingly, as with the drinks, the food prices are more than reasonable; deli sandwiches start at $5.75, topping at $7.25 for a turkey, bacon, and cheese panini. The Caesar salad is only $5.99 (with chicken, $2.25 more). We particularly appreciate the tapas plates of salamis, cheeses, artichoke hearts and the like, ranging from $5.00 an item, to $12.95 with four a plate. Coffee and sweets are available as well.
Laid back, but flirty, and LGBT-family friendly, Sparky’s is a generous house. If you miss the five-day-a-week happy hour, fear not. There are nightly specials, too.
1416 N Main