After hours: Laid back at Benson Blakes
BURY ST. EDMUNDS – Burgers, brewskies and some tunes add a little touch to what is already an eclectic atmosphere at a local pub and eatery in Bury St. Edmunds.
Benson Blakes Bar & Grill certainly has no shortage of burger choices on its menu. But if an 8-oz. grilled mushroom Swiss burger, Suffolk black bacon burger or any of their other sliders don’t tickle your fancy, the eatery changes its special menus, and offers tapas, panini sandwiches, bangers and mash and other good stuff. The specials can include dishes such as pork chops and prawns.
The Suffolk black bacon burger has a little zing to it and is sure to fill one up.
"In food, we do the best burger in town," said Tim Blake, a sort of jack-of-all trades at the place. His family owns Benson Blakes, and Blake spends time tending bar, behind the grill and managing.
The Benson part of the name is a popular middle name in the family, he said.
"Drinkswise, we do everything," Blake said. "We try to mix it up a bit."
"Everything" includes American beers such as Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. They also do Stella, Corona and Becks, to name a few. The bottled beers are rotated to bring in variety, Blake said.
The crowd at Benson Blakes also varies, with a mixture of airmen and pilots from the base and families during the day drawn to the restaurant’s kids menu, to young adults and couples in the evenings, Blake said.
"It’s laid back. The crowd is quite varied," Blake said.
On the weekend, people can relax and have a drink in a room off to the side that Benson Blakes rents out during the week.
The restaurant has an eclectic decor with South Pacific-style wood-paneled walls and masks.
Last Thursday night as the jazz band got warmed up, people started flying through the front doors. Benson Blakes has jazz every Thursday, starting at 9 p.m. The establishment also has periodic wine-tastings and other events to draw a crowd, Blake said.
"We get quite busy for Christmas (season). It’s good fun," Blake said.