The former Smallbar Division space is now home to an Indian-British pub, courtesy of the folks who brought Chicagoans Sportsman's Club, Trenchermen, Lone Wolf, and more. While people familiar with the departed beer bar on Division Street will recognize the layout, Pub Royale adds many of designer Kevin Heisner's signature touches—most notably taxidermy, in the form of stuffed peacocks that flank both sides of the bar.
The space definitely has an Indian aesthetic now that matches the Indian-inspired food and drink menus. Light fixtures reminiscent of the subcontinent hang from the ceiling and the entire space utilizes a tan-and-red color scheme, save for the rustic green sign painted on the wooden exterior.
An electronic menu board in rear shows the day's draft offerings, of which there are many unique ones curated by beverage director Michael McAvena (Publican), a nod to the space's prior beer-focused concept. Heisler Hospitality director of culinary operations Jason Vaughan is providing a menu of chef-driven Indian and British pub food, which you can read on the Pub Royale website, running from snacks (lamb dumplings, salt cod samosa) to larger dishes (rabbit pie, India hot chicken).
Pub Royale brings a needed different option to an area that's increasingly becoming sports bar row, in a new concept from a group with a history of creating hotspots. It opens to the public on Thursday.