10 E Main St
Turlock, CA 95380 - Stanislaus County
Turlock’s first and only British pub has gone “totally casual,” altering its interior look, feel and appearance and introducing a new menu that concentrates on traditional British pub grub like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash and a slate of American favorites like hamburgers, soups, salads and sandwiches that appeal to anyone seeking reasonably priced comfort foods. “We wanted to get away from the impression many people have held over the years that Wellington’s British Pub and Restaurant is a ‘special occasion’ fine-dining restaurant where you only go when celebrating an anniversary, birthday or other semi-formal event,” explained co-owner Tony Walker. “We often heard people say they felt they had to dress up to come in because it had a reputation as an upper scale restaurant when in fact we have always considered and even promoted the pub and restaurant as a casual and friendly place where everyone can have a great time and no one has to put on appearances. That’s the mark of a true ‘British pub.’ It’s a neighborhood bar and grill where Brits assemble regularly to eat, drink, play games, sing, dance, swap tall tales, discuss the day’s news and pass on the spiciest rumors circulating around town.” Perhaps the most noticeable change at Wellington’s is the décor. While the bar area itself has remained pretty much the same, the adjoining lounge and all three rail cars have been repainted and redecorated with musical instruments, posters, photographs and other memorabilia associated with some of the many rock groups and bands that constituted the “British Invasion” of the 1960s-1980s. All new light fixtures were installed to brighten and cheer up the rooms and signs hung on the walls in the pub and lounge bearing sayings and adages with quirky Irish and English humor. Seven new high definition widescreen color televisions also were installed throughout the pub and lounge to provide a greater variety of sporting events and other entertainment. “I suppose we’ve always recognized that the pub was the most popular aspect of our operation and in making these changes we wanted to broaden the appeal and accommodate an even larger pub audience,” Walker said. “The bar has always been the center of attention, partly because it’s where people most like to gather to shoot the breeze over drinks and appetizers as well as throw darts and play live interactive television trivia games against others in the pub as well as players across the U.S. and Canada. We also do Live Trivia games with nice prizes going to the top three teams on the first and third Tuesday nights of every month. But our biggest late night draw is the DJ and Dancing we offer on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Wellington’s is the only privately-owned bar or restaurant in Turlock licensed to operate a dance hall.” It also has one of the largest draught beer selections in the city with 15 taps pouring several domestic brands and classic British imports such as Guinness, Murphy’s, Smithwick’s, Boddington’s, Bass Ale, Harp Lager and Newcastle. Bottled beers, wine and a full range of cocktails also are available. Irish potato skins lead a 12-item list of appetizers and specially priced meals are available to children under 12 years of age and under. Seniors 65 and older qualify for a 15 percent early bird discount on all meal prices daily between 4-6 p.m. Menu specialties include American baked spaghetti, chicken fettuccini Alfredo and prawns deep fried in a Harp beer batter. Slow-roasted prime rib of beef – a hold over patron favorite from the old menu – is still offered on Friday and Saturday nights. As for desserts, Wellington’s is the only place in Turlock or anywhere else in the Central Valley for that matter where patrons can get “spotted dick.” Not that everyone wants spotted dick, or, for that matter, even knows what it is. It’s a traditional English steamed sponge dessert with a cake-like texture made with currants that is served warm topped with delicious custard. Besides lending to Wellington’s decidedly British flair, many patrons have discovered that the distinctive dessert is really tasty and a great way to end lunch or dinner. For the less adventuresome, there’s bread pudding, chocolate mousse and New York cheesecake. Wellington’s, which opened as a British Pub in 1999, occupies the extensively remodeled historic Southern Pacific Railroad Depot in historic downtown Turlock. The bar and lounge occupy what formerly were the passenger ticketing and waiting area and cargo storage area of the old Depot that was erected in 1915. Diners are able to sit in one of three converted and highly decorated rail cars abutting the old station. There also is a fresh air covered patio where smokers can have a beer or drink and light up and enjoy a cigarette or a good cigar. The floor plan of the old railroad station readily lent to the desired layout of a traditional British pub with comfortable nooks and crannies. Wellington’s was featured in the California State Automobile Association’s Via magazine as one of several notable attractions in communities that straddle State Highway 99 in the northern San Joaquin Valley. The pub also has been voted the best pub/bar in Turlock for the last three years in the Turlock Journal’s annual reader surveys. Like its mottos says, “A taste of Britain in the heart of California.”
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