As an Englishman, there is something entirely comfortable about a bar like Joxer Daly’s. Plenty of similar establishments in this country attempt to recreate the British pub vibe, and fail miserably. And it’s not completely their fault; much of what makes a British pub special is geographical as well as cultural. And they’re not supposed to be clean, so what is a bar-owner looking for the authentic British experience to do? Buy old cigarette-stained tables, or buy new tables and a whole carton of smokes?
Somehow in sunny Culver City, this bar gets a lot right. The soccer pictures tacked to the wall, the smell in the air that is a weirdly attractive mix of old beer and cooking fat, and the soccer (which should be called football because it’s played with the feet, as opposed to hand-egg) on the TVs.
And then there’s the food, which is not only edible but actually quite delicious. Straight away, that puts it right into the premier league of Brit pubs in America. The menu is still an Americanized version of Brit pub grub, but this writer made peace with that some time ago. The bars do have it stay in business, and the paying customers are mostly American.
We chose the basic Joxer Burger, served with bacon, mushroom and grilled onions. This thing is huge, so imagine our surprise when we saw a King Burger on the menu. Who the heck could eat that?
But the burger is amazing. The meat is tender and tasty, and served on a soft sesame seed bun. The charred, grilled onions are mounted on the meat, as is a slice of cheese (cheddar, we think), and the juicy bacon and plump mushrooms.
Next to it is a slice of lettuce and two slices of tomato, plus a pickle spear and thin slice of carrot. These can be added the sandwich to taste. But every bite of the burger is magnificent. The onions are the real star of this show, blending beautifully with the meat.
We chose to take it with steak fries (other options are skinny fries, sweet potato fries, or salad), for a bit more of a British experience. And of course, they’re nothing like English chips, but they’re still good; hot and crispy.
The bartender serving us was genuinely nice, with that perfect hint of surliness that you want in a place like this. Oh, and on the TV, Everton beat Swansea City 3-1 in the soccer game.