MILDENHALL — Kevin Green thought he had a sure-fire way to please his American clients. Instead he learned the Yanks often prefer the taste of home to, well, stay at home.
“We do have a lot of Americans who come in here, especially on the weekends,” the landlord of the Tigers Head pub said. “So I bought some Budweiser and some Mexican beer. But they only drank the Mexican beer. No one drank the Bud.”
The staple of the Anheuser-Busch family might not make the cut, but Tennessee’s finest whiskey is still a hot commodity.
“We do go through a lot of Jack Daniel’s,” Green said.
Located in the heart of downtown Mildenhall among hotels, restaurants and furniture showrooms, the Tigers Head has a long history in this quaint Suffolk village. Like so many buildings in England, the pub traces its history back before the days of motorized transport. People from around this village were sipping pints at this downtown pub long before Americans had taken to the skies, let alone deployed thousands of airmen to nearby bases to support airborne refueling jets and supersonic fighters.
“This place has been a pub since 1880,” Green said. “What it was before that I don’t know.”
Most days — weekdays, that is — the pub hosts a handful of colorful locals who pass the hours with friendly conversation over a few pints. Football graces the big-screen television, and friendly banter on the odds of England winning the upcoming World Cup swirls about the smoky pub.
But on weekends, the Tigers Head kicks it up a notch and turns the dance floor into the hottest spot to be seen on the Mildenhall strip. American and British folk alike looking to dance their troubles away converge on the dance floor.
A single silver fireman’s pole is bolted to the floor and ceiling for the creatively inclined. Let your imagination wander: darkness interrupted by flashing lights, Fosters by the keg, the recent liberalization of the British drinking laws and a fireman’s pole.
Green, who has become so cozy with his American friends that he employs a Yank bartender and has vacationed in France with airmen and their families, said he learned his lesson about Budweiser.
Still, he works hard to keep every new customer happy.
“If someone comes in here and asks for something, we’ll usually have it in a couple of weeks,” he said.
Location: Downtown Mildenhall on the main drag just a few storefronts from the Turkish and Indian restaurants.
Food: No grub.
Drink: Eight beers on tap, including Miller. Fosters is the heavy seller on the weekdays, while Stella is the most popular come Friday and Saturday night. Prices are in line with other pubs around the base.
Ambience: Cordial and welcoming Sunday to Thursday. A fireman’s pole bolted to the floor comes into effect Friday and Saturday.
Service: Nonchalant but prompt.