We'll be the first to admit that, during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, we weren't visiting our favorite dumpling house in the SGV and asking the hostess to turn on some synchronized swimming -- but this is London 2012, a culture that, for Americans at least, lends itself more comfortably to hanging out in a public place to eat, drink and watch hours of sports. America has always had a lingering fascination with British culture, and thanks to the Olympic Games, that feeling is a full-blown obsession for the next two weeks. When else would eating a week's worth of fish and chips be socially acceptable behavior?
So what's to eat after watching a few rounds of badminton, some women's volleyball and a brilliant pommel horse routine?
There's Hollywood's Blue Boar, the brick-and-wrought iron space from Curtis Nysmith specializing in British cask ales. A couple of big-screen TVs hang above the bar, which means you tune in while snacking on curry and chips, a sausage roll or other types of food that make you glad the people on the telly are the ones doing strenuous exercise.
If a great beer selection is paramount, then Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena is the ideal place to sip a pint and ponder the rules of fencing. There are plenty of rare imported beers and a laid-back vibe, plus the fish and chips, fried to a delicate crisp, is probably the best version in town.
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Have you ever had a Scotch egg? Because Robin Hood British Pub does a particularly good one. (Can an egg wrapped in fried sausage ever be that bad?) The bangers and mash is kind of a staple here: two plump blackened sausages with dollops of mashed potatoes. If you happen to get bored during a commercial break or a Ryan Seacrest interview, you could always play a round of darts, a favorite pastime among Robin Hood patrons.
The crown jewel of L.A.'s British pubs is likely the King's Head in Santa Monica, a place that draws the most British expats and seems to be a tad rowdy even during its slowest hours. Its most famous dish is probably the traditional breakfast fry-up, which contains enough cuts of meat to power a team of shotputters. In the evening, there are pies and pasties galore as well as a generous selection of draft beers.
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