The British Beer Company is a local Massachusetts chain of British-style pubs that currently has 13 locations. I have been to many of their locations over the years, but on this particular day I chose the Framingham BBC because it was near the movie theater I happened to be going to. It was a Sunday afternoon, and naturally we chose to sit on the bar side, although this is a large restaurant with plenty of seating.
The atmosphere and decor are pretty reasonable facsimiles to an Olde British Pub, with lots of dark wood paneling and accents, brass railings and dim lighting. At first glance it’s the type of place you feel like you could settle in for a while. Once seated, a different feeling started to take over, as there was an evident cleanliness problem. The tabletop was sticky, the menus were sticky (front and back) and everything you touched felt like it had an oily film on it that made you want to keep your hands in your lap at all times.
One of the reasons I wanted to get lunch here is that in the past they’ve always had a great beer selection. Usually their rotation would have 40-50 beers from both local sources and international. You could always count on trying some great new beers when you went to the BBC. However, on this visit when I got the menu I was disappointed. The selection had been almost cut in half, with more like 25 selections, and most of those being macro and generic choices. 25 draughts is still a good selection by most standards, but I was jaded by my previous experience with this establishment. I was able to find a couple of beers that peaked my interest, so maybe things will turn around.
The beers arrived at the table in generic glassware you can buy at Wal-Mart, and they were a bit warmer than they should’ve been. Another disappointment. The bottom line is this used to be a great beer bar, one of my favorites, in fact. Maybe I’m being hard on it because I remember those glory days. Maybe I just caught them on a really bad day. Maybe the other 12 locations are still awesome. I can only hope, but on this day I went into this bar planning to settle in for several hours, try lots of great beer and spend lots of money, and I ended up leaving after a meal and one beer. That’s my message to BBC’s management, that and don’t forget there’s a portrait of Winston Churchill hanging on your wall, and he’s judging you.