Man of Kent (Hoosick Falls, NY)

We’ve all got them. The roadside dining spot that we’ve driven by dozens of times, noting the relatively packed parking lot, and think to yourself, “I should check that place out sometime.” But you never get around to it; you aren’t hungry, it’s not the right time of day, or the folks you are with don’t want to stop. One of those places for me was The Man of Kent, a roadside bar on the edge of Route 7 in Hoosick Falls, NY, one of the few dining places road-side on that stretch between Troy and the Vermont border. Well, my recent New Jersey trip had me both driving through Hoosick Falls around dinner time, and I didn’t have any else traveling with me, so I finally decided to pull over and give the place a try.

The place has a following. Not only is the place easily found by the surprisingly large set of (often-filled) parking lots along the side of the road on Route 7, but you also see more than a few of those cheesy oval bumper sticker featuring a Union Jack pattern and the abbreviation “MOK” on cars around the area. It’s a popular place, and heck, probably the most popular place between Troy and Bennington. And it’s got a nice location overlooking the nearby stream to boot, even if it does have a giant carved pig statue decked out as a Beefeater.

Walking inside, Man of Kent takes “eclectic” to the next level. You know those English-themed bars that you occasionally encounter where they take the concept all the way to 11 with all sorts of English-themed bric-a-brac like sports jerseys, bar towels, red-themed phone booths, shelves of glassware, hats, and even some odd random bits of sports paraphernalia (including an old jai alai cesta)? It’s kinda like one of those. No, scratch that, it’s exactly like one of those, walking right up to, and occasionally strutting over, that fine line between “eclectic” and “tacky”. I was expecting a busy pub in the middle of nowhere in eastern New York to deliver an over-the-top fake British pub, to an extent that’s actually a little difficult to find in actual England aside from tourist places in train stations. And Man of Kent does this, in spades. (It should be noted here than the Man of Kent was actually founded by a man from… Kent, so there is a bit of authenticity here.)

And actually, under all the bric-a-brac and over-the-top “British” veneer, there’s actually some good substance under it all. The beer, for example, is a well-curated list of both local and imported beer that does a good job of having several good British stalwarts (myself, I enjoyed a Bombardier Amber Ale) and the now-obligatory selection of American-style IPAs (a must, since Vermont is literally only a few minutes drive away).

For the food, the menu is pretty much what you’d expect for an English-style pub. Fish and chips (with both cod and haddock as options, usually a good sign). Steaks. Burgers, including a good list of specialty burgers (like a pastrami burger). A long list of sandwiches, most named and vaguely themed after various counties in England. But I was drawn by one of the specials, the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich. Served up as a nice and tender fried chicken breast topped with cheddar, and spicy ranch dressing. Actually one of the better fried chicken sandwiches I’ve had recently, and that’s saying a lot, since I’m regularly enjoying the most excellent chicken-and-kimchi sandwich at Poor Thom’s. Add in some decent onion rings, and this was an excellent roadside stop on my way home. I can definitely see why the place is popular.

So yeah, one stop into the Man of Kent, and I can see the following. The food is good, the beer selection nice, and it’s one of the best dining and bar options for the reason. It’s worth stopping by if you find yourself driving Route 7 in SE New York.

One Response

  1. Scully 30 Nov 2023 at 09:10 #

    I am jealous you have been. Like you, we have driven by MOK many times and never been able to give it a try. Usually we are too exhausted after a very long drive and just want to get home. We came close once, only to be turned away because of a private party. We don’t get that way as often now that we aren’t traveling to fiber events, but I still want to give it a go sometimes!

    Thanks for the review!

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