Table decorations inside the Great Eastern Hotel's restaurant, The Mallard.

Table decorations inside the Great Eastern Hotel's restaurant, The Mallard. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

BRANDON — Down by the railroad tracks in Brandon is a bar and restaurant that dishes up locally grown foods and showcases live tribute bands.

Although nice to offer, those two things alone may not be enough to keep the customers rolling in, so The Great Eastern Hotel also provides karaoke nights, dart tournaments, cheap drinks and a welcoming atmosphere to those who walk through its doors.

“People are not going to come out unless you give them a reason to come out. We like to give people a reason,” said Michelle Healy, who owns the establishment with her husband, Stephen.

The Healys acquired the hotel in April and are currently renovating its 10 rooms to include bathrooms in each one. It’ll probably be another six months or so until they become available, Michelle Healy said.

Who needs to sleep when there’s ongoing live entertainment downstairs? Tribute bands take the stage this weekend, with Exodus performing Friday, and the Red Mock Chili Peppers on Saturday.

“We never have a bad atmosphere,” Healy said about the live concerts as she knocked on wood. “Everybody seems to enjoy themselves. It can get really lively with people dancing.”

Past the bar through a hallway is the establishment’s restaurant, The Mallard. There, head chef Jason Tate delights patrons with his creations.

“It’s a fusion of English and Continental dishes with my own little twist thrown in,” Tate said about the restaurant’s menu he helped create.

Many of the dishes are made with local produce and poultry, said Tate, adding that there is also Scottish beef in his menu.

“It’s a diverse menu. They’re all good,” said Tate, who once worked in the kitchens of the historic Ickworth House and Gardens, and the Riverside Hotel in Mildenhall.

Most of the dishes on The Mallard’s evening menu are less than 10 pounds, including a chef’s beef stew for 6.95 pounds, a Cajun chicken for 7.95 pounds and lamb cutlets for 8.95 pounds. There is also a special six-course Christmas dinner for 18.95 pounds per person.

In the bar, pints of beer are about 2.60 pounds, 2.50 pounds for a glass of wine and 2.20 pounds for a mixed drink. Some spirits are 2.80 pounds for a double shot with a splash of mixer, Healy said.

See previous After Hours reviews here.

The Great Eastern Hotel

Location: High Street, Brandon IP27 OAX. The place is right next to the railroad tracks.

Food: A menu of English and Continental dishes with many costing 10 pounds or less.

Drinks: Standard selections of cheap beer, wine and spirits.

Entertainment: Live bands, karaoke nights, dart tournaments and pool tables.

Hours: Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

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