Bulldog Sports Pub

There are touches that have yet to be finished, but Bulldog Sports Pub is—finally—pouring beer, serving pub fare and welcoming back regulars who immediately notice that many things have changed.

“This is not what I expected,” is a common refrain.

Glancing around at the revamped space on Lighthouse in Monterey, it’s difficult to imagine the timeworn confines once valued by regulars of the spot formerly known as Bulldog British Pub. Warm wooden touches remain, but the room has more than doubled in size. A second bar is tucked in the back. Gone is the narrow step up that served as a dining area. Instead there are tables and booths with plenty of room. It’s at once sleek, modern, industrial and comfortable.

For those who frequented the old Bulldog, it’s like stepping back into the future.

Ash Shoukra, who partnered with Christine Kerr to take on the project, says that with so much more wall space, the sports bar concept seemed to fit. There are presently 13 screens. They may add all-weather televisions on the back patio, as well.

Yes, the new-look Bulldog will have an outdoor drinking and dining area. Concrete was scheduled to pour earlier this week and it may be ready for use by early September.

Of course, after all that Shoukra and Kerr have been through, placing specifics on a calendar is not something that comes readily. 

The popular neighborhood pub shut down for remodeling three years ago with a goal of reopening on March 18, 2020 in time for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Bad timing.

Work continued inside, behind windows covered in paper through a stuck supply chain and contractor-related delays. They set Super Bowl Sunday, 2022 as the target date for reopening. But Shoukra says that when city officials came to inspect the work and give it a stamp of approval, they found a contractor had run the plumbing incorrectly.

But they used the continuation wisely. Both the pub and the back patio are fully ADA compliant, with a sink in each bathroom set at wheelchair height and doors that open and shut with the push of a button.

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Behind the bar are mixologists—versed at pulling pints, but also ready to craft cocktails. And the current lineup of beers include Alvarado Street’s popular Mai Tai, Smithwick’s red ale and a mango wheat from Ferrill Brewing.

No worries. Guinness remains, as do go-tos like 805, Modelo and Michelob Ultra. There are 16 taps.

Somehow, much of the cozy Bulldog spirit remains, despite the updates. Apart from a few additions, the menu is familiar. The dart board is in place, although in a dedicated space with handy bar access. Former regulars have returned, sliding into their spots at the bar. The chest high wall retains its place, though dressed up to fit the new look.

It’s easy to settle in.

The first customers to happen on the open doors were a couple that met at the Bulldog four years ago during Car Week. They had returned each year, hoping to revisit the moment.

“So many people were waiting for it to open,” Kerr says. “It’s been nice to see people’s reactions.”

From the looks of it, the reimagined Bulldog Sports Pub will establish itself as one of the top sports bars from the Bay Area south. Yet their goal is to remain a neighborhood pub—family and pet friendly, with fun events and a cool patio.

After all the business partners and the place have been through, the tone is optimistic. “The moral is that we are fortunate,” Shoukra observes.

Bulldog Sports Pub is at 611 Lighthouse Ave. in Monterey. They are open 11:30-2am daily with earlier hours on football weekends. The kitchen closes at midnight.

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