NEW ALBANY — Pints & Union is a United Kingdom-inspired pub that doesn’t have to slap you in your face to tell you that it is one.
Instead of Union Jacks plastered to the walls and the sounds of generic folk music being piped through the sound system, owner Joe Phillips has hung Victorian-esque paintings he found at auctions and opted for modern, British-inspired tunes.
The limited selection of nine beers on tap will feature European favorites (a Guiness stout, a Fuller’s London Pride and the Czechian Pilsner Urquell), but the food, served small plates-style, will be world-inspired with a bar bites twist: tikka masala wings and pickles coated in Lebanese spices.
The British Empire did once extend to almost every continent, after all, Phillips reminds.
In the beginning, Pints & Union’s menu will be more limited as the kitchen is missing its range hood. After it arrives, the pub will be able to expand beyond the lighter, summer fare they’ll serve at the start.
The “public house’s” grand opening is Wednesday.
Since announcing the coming of Pints & Union in February, Phillips has almost nailed down the pub’s program nights, which will start in two weeks. On Tuesdays, homemade shwarma will be served. The next day is “Two Wheel Wednesdays,” where motorcyclists, scooter riders and owners of vintage cars and trucks are invited to drink and eat gourmet hot dogs called King Kong Footlongs. On Thursdays, the pub will likely serve $15 bottles of wine and raclette, a wheel of cheese that’s partially melted and scraped into a bowl of homemade pickles, sausage and cubed baguette. On Sundays, Pints & Union will offer a “hangover menu” with Guiness pancakes, breakfast sliders, currywurst fries and scotch eggs.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Roger Baylor, a founder of the New Albanian Brewing Co., will also host beer discussions. Baylor created Pints & Union’s beer program, which also features bottles and cans from international and semi-local craft breweries.
But the pub is about more than beer. Pints & Union will focus on champagne cocktails and a gin and tonic program with each drink modeled after a different country or city.
Phillips, a veteran of the Louisville restaurant scene, hopes that the selection is approachable and reliable. The core beers on tap will rarely change.
“We’re not going to rotate all the time constantly so that you can find something you love then it’s gone in a week,” Phillips said.
In keeping with the comfort theme, Phillips wants Pints & Union to be a place where all kinds of people can connect — with themselves and their community.
Phillips has banned televisions from Pints & Union. Instead, salvaged books and a chess board are the provided entertainment. None of the chairs in the pub’s loft match.
“I want people, all the way down to the chair they’re sitting in, I want them to feel a connection,” Phillips said. “And it’s kind of personal. They have a favorite.”
Even the pub’s name is a nod to the concept. The “Union” isn’t in reference to the “Union Jack,” but to what customers will be a part of when they visit.