To know how I really feel about Frisco and west Plano Texas all you have to do is read my review of The Holy Grail. You should do that anyway in order to get a better sense of the comparisons that are made in the review you are about to enjoy. So, go ahead… Click Here… I’ll wait…
Okay. So now that you’re all caught up on the only opinion that matters (mine), we can now continue.
The Rugby House Social Club is located just a couple of buildings north of the righteous Holy Grail at 8604 Preston Rd. Ste. 100 Plano, TX 75024. For all intensive purposes, let’s just say they’re pretty much in Frisco since they’re located a few feet from the Frisco city limits. We had heard good things about the place. Our hypothesis was that if The Holy Grail can exist in this affected neck of the woods, perhaps if we surveyed further we might discover another drinkery worthy of a Best Damn title. As it turns out, we were only partially right.
The Rugby House Social Club is easy to find. It takes up half of the building it’s located in. The front door is built on a chamfered corner, which divides a decent patio extending down both sides of the building. If it weren’t 102 degrees as it were at 7pm this evening, it’d be a nice place to enjoy a pint, as long as you’re up wind of the disgusting cigarette smokers. Inside, there’s a vibe of half pub, half sports bar. The phrase Social Club in the name is right on the money as (unlike The Holy Grail) the wide open layout of the entire place makes for an incredible socially conducive atmosphere. No doubt about it, this is a perfect place for a large group to gather and get loud. There are booths, tables of all types and a really nice, big bar from which to choose to sit throughout the sprawling space. The walls are adorned with many large flat screen TV’s as well as a projector and large screen. If you’re there to watch a major sporting event, there is not a bad seat in the house. (No cover for major PPV events is another big bonus!) There are a couple of pub standard video games – i.e. Golden Tee and Big Buck as well as a good rock music mix playing in the background.
We arrived around 7pm on a Sunday and were 4 of 8 people in the entire place. Finally, some signs of life sprang up at around 9pm as a group consisting of about ten 20 somethings had arrived and were beginning to get rowdy. There are a ton of “restaurants” around this area. I was under the impression the lack of patrons here in what seems to be a solid bar could be a result of this particular area growing incredibly too huge, incredibly too fast. As empty as it was, it’s not hard to imagine circles of striped jersey wearing rugby hooligans, heads together and arms locked over shoulders roaring chants of victory as their favorite team wins the big game on a packed Friday night in this place though.
This pub offers drink specials every day. We were there on a Sunday, which happens to be $2 off all draught beer day. Here me now and understand me later when I say, the beer selection is impressive. Not too many surprises, but a very extensive, solid list of favorites – many of them on tap. I particularly enjoyed the Laughing Dog Alpha Dog Imperial IPA (95 rating) on draught. There truly is something for everyone on this booze menu and the prices are outstanding on their own, but when the daily special takes another $2 off it becomes downright dangerous!
We ordered a couple of appetizers; the soft pretzels and the mac and cheese. Both were out-fucking-standing. The pretzels (2 per order) are Auntie-M style with a side of queso and coarse ground mustard. This mustard was amazing! The truffled mac and cheese is also incredible. The truffle oil makes for a delicious earthy taste up front, backed by 5 creamy cheeses and topped off with crispy, buttery bread crumbs.
Unfortunately, not all of the entrees could reach the high bar set by the appetizers. The Brisket Tacos were just awful. House smoked Angus beef with roasted sweet corn relish, jack cheese, and Beer n’ A Shot BBQ sauce sounds amazing but tastes more like Sloppy Joe and canned sweet corn slopped on a cheap flour tortilla. You can tell by the non melted cheese in the photo that they weren’t hot either. This dish was a huge let down.
The Rugger hamburger did not fare well either. A 1 lb patty stuffed with bacon, garlic, onion, mushroom, and 5 cheese blend, THEN loaded with bacon, red pepper, cheddar, Swiss, and fried onion strings also sounds amazing. In reality, the “stuffed” means “mixed with”. Authentic stuffed burgers are amazing, and extremely difficult to do. This was neither. To top it off, I ordered it medium and it came out overcooked and was extremely dry. It was served with French fries and coleslaw – both completely devoid of any flavor. I thought the fries were of the sweet potato variety at first glance, based on the dark orange color. But one bite let me know that’s just the color you get when you over cook the shit out of a potato. No seasoning of any kind left me looking for the ketchup quick. The dry cardboard strips… I mean coleslaw… was no better.
The fish (less the flavorless, over cooked chips) was the lone stand out. It was amazing, thick, flaky, beer battered haddock. The side of in-house made tartar sauce was incredibly different and unique tasting, though easy to decipher. There’s no way it consists of anything more than dill weed mixed with ranch dressing. Not that I’m complaining. It went great with the fish and when poured over them, it was the only thing that made the burger, slaw and fries snap out of their coma.
My best damn dilemma here is simple. As you read in my earlier review, the next door Holy Grail is 100% awesome, especially when it comes to the kitchen. The Rugby House is more like the poor man’s Holy Grail. So, when comparing one pub practically next door to the other, can I recommend The Rugby House as a Best Damn Thing? I think yes.* The Holy Grail is like a super model. The Rugby House is like a girl with a great body but has a busted lid. The reward here is just enough to make it worth the pursuit. Eff, Marry, Kill – I would Eff Rugby House, marry The Holy Grail and kill Frisco.
*If you’re looking for an affordable, extensive, solid beer selection, amazing appetizers, an incredibly social, fun, rowdy place to catch a big PPV event in the Frisco, north west Plano area, then the Rugby House Social Club would be hard to beat.
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