The Bar Sleuth: Orange you glad this pub exists?
NEWMARKET — While driving along A11 on a Tuesday night, I decided to take a detour to Newmarket and grab some food and a pint.
Heading down High Street, Newmarket’s main strip, I passed many pubs and eventually stopped at an eye-catching building with the words “The Orange House” lighted up.
As I entered the pub, there were people spread out in a large seating area of tables and booths, enjoying conversation over drinks and food. I snatched up a pint of Kronenbourg — one of five draft beers at the pub — and ordered a 10-ounce Gammon pork steak, both adding up to about 8 pounds.
The pub’s menu is extensive, including burgers, fish and chicken entrees, curries, salads and grilled items such as steaks, chicken and a surf-and-turf meal. There is also an ongoing special on two meals for about 6 pounds.
Wayne Symonds, the pub’s general manager, said he didn’t know the origin of the pub’s name. Symonds, who once worked at the White Hart pub in Mildenhall, said he has met many Air Force members over the years. He stays in contact with a few and even visits them in the States, he said.
“Americans are 100 percent welcome here, if not more,” he said.
The pub has a classy feel but is not too posh. The furniture has a distinct red tint and looks like mahogany. Chandeliers even hang from the middle of the pub. Plenty of portraits of horses hang about the pub, which is the norm for pubs in Newmarket since the town is known for horseracing.
I sparked up a conversation with a couple of pool players at one of the pub’s two billiard tables. One of the players, John Donnelly, an Irishman who has been coming to The Orange House since it opened about six years ago, said it’s probably the best one in town.
“It’s the people you get in here … you get such a mix,” he said of why he keeps returning.
Another pub regular, Rosie Cassidy, likes how the staff makes her feel at home, she said.
“It’s a really good place to get [drunk],” she said in her Irish accent. “It doesn’t matter what race you are, what color, where you’re from — nobody gives a damn.”
Spirits at the pub are typical, but there are a variety of wines available from France, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the United States. Those with something to celebrate can pop the cork of a champagne bottle, which costs from 23 to 28 pounds.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, The Orange House is packed, said pub regular Simon Daines. A popular dance club, DeNiro’s, is above the pub for those who want to dance the night away. A wine bar by the name of Pacino’s also is upstairs.
As always, if you drink, do so responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.
The Orange House
Location: 146 High St., Newmarket (near the south end of High Street).
Food: A lengthy list of meals that are moderately priced from about 4 to 9 pounds. Food is served Monday through Saturday from noon to 8 p.m.
Drinks: Typical choices of beer and spirits, but a decent wine menu of 11 different wines.
Ambience: Good mix of friendly people. Plenty of seating except during busy nights.