A REAL Good Time!


Anyone will tell you that I’m one of those people who needs to snack while drinking, so when I find a place that combines those two things — and does it well — it’s worthy of a mention.

If you find yourself venturing out for a late-night showing at Ward Stadium, do yourself a favor — get there early and pop down the street to REAL a gastropub, located at Marukai Market Place.

This cozy oasis of brews and bites is tucked away — if you don’t know it’s there, you may miss it — but I think that’s definitely part of the allure. It features an indoor bar and intimate outdoor seating under a canopy of trees and lights, so I grabbed a seat on the patio.

REAL has 29 constantly rotating taps, two beer engines, more than 250 bottles and a full cocktail bar, so picking my beverage was no easy feat. My husband and I finally settled on the Tieton Wild Washington Apple Cider on tap ($8) and a bottle of Sam Smith’s Organic Strawberry Ale ($16).

Both were refreshing and perfect for the warm evening. The cider, light and tart, paired nicely with the fresh beet salad.

The strawberry ale was an off-the-wall choice for both of us, but turned out to be a surefire win. With its smooth taste, the strawberry ale paired well with both the beet salad and the beer braised brisket poutine.

A sucker for sweets (if you couldn’t tell!), I knew I couldn’t leave REAL without ordering the REAL Guinness Float ($7) — Guinness Gelato floating in Guinness Stout. It’s every bit as sweet and filling as it sounds, making it the perfect nightcap to my pub experience. But why stop there when a Stout Brownie Bomb ($8) also is available? Guinness Gelato, Chocolate Stout Brownie, Jameson’s Caramel and Bailey’s Anglaise make this the REAL winner in my book. Booze and food is fantastic, but booze made into food is even better!

As we left, there was a crowd mingling around the entrance. If you come on a weekend, I recommend arriving early.

The REAL bonus? Parking is widely available and free. Cheers to THAT!