“Shut up and eat your burger,” says the slogan of Bull & Bear Pub.
Which burger, you ask? Take your pick of one of many made at the pub, located in Hanover Square. You may have heard the phrase “fresh, never frozen” at a burger joint before, but at this “burger company,” their mission is serious: to provide you with a fresh half-pound Angus beef or a hand-trimmed chicken burger that is never frozen. Bull & Bear’s burger experience wouldn’t be complete without their homemade sauces and toppings, such as their Bleu Cheese, Russian and Tartar sauces. With a menu that touches on distinct flavors and variety, it’s easy to tell why this is not your typical pub, and why they pride themselves as being the “best crafted American pub fare in the region.”
When to Go: Owner Mark Bullis doesn’t call the pub a typical dinner spot. That’s because when you walk into Bull and Bear, no matter what time it is you can expect excellent burgers and a great time. It’s open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., excluding Sunday when it opens at 4 p.m. The kitchen currently closes every night at 9 p.m. but starting Oct. 1 it will close at 10 p.m. Not only does Bull & Bear bring a unique take on pub food and drinks, but every night of the week also has a different special to pull in a variety of crowds. Starting Oct. 1, there’s “Burger for a Buck,” where you can enjoy a huge slider for $1 on Mondays. Tuesday features open mic nights and with the mix of live bands on weekends, you’re bound to enjoy your experience. The Bottom Line: It’ll get crowded for events, but if you choose the right night to come, you will have an experience that appeals to your tastes.
On Tap: With over 75 local and regional beers, 250 spirits including what Bullis called a “heck of a tequila selection”, and a large wine list, your perfect cold beer or wine may be waiting for you. The Bottom Line: Shut up and drink your liquor.
Blue Plate Special: One beef burger to look out for when you go is the Jim Beam Burger. For $8.95, Bull & Bear uses eight-year-old Jim Beam bourbon to concoct their homemade finger-licking barbecue sauce for this burger. The hamburger comes on a grilled bun topped with crispy frizzled onions, smoked gouda cheese, mayo and a little lettuce. If you’re not getting hungry for burgers by now, the Pollo Bravo chicken burger might be more your style for the same price. It features hand-trimmed, marinated chicken with pepper jack cheese, bacon and creamy chipotle sauce. You won’t just get a burger with your meal. They all come with fresh-made sides such as their natural-cut French Fries and steamed broccoli. On top of all of this for just 49 cents more you can try their popular sweet potato fries with maple dipping butter, which tastes like you’re eating maple frosting. The Bottom Line: No matter what you choose, you’ll be licking your fingers and cleaning your plate in no time.
The Scene: Decorated in what Bullis calls, “sophisticated casual”, this pub has a modern, classy style with black chairs, black and tan tables and Bull & Bear Pub logos lining the walls. On a sunny day you can sit at one of their many tables on their outdoor patio. While the pub draws many different people, the pub especially hopes to welcome the Syracuse University crowd. The Bottom Line: With various happy hours, live events and a bar open until 2 a.m. every night, coming over to the Bull & Bear Pub is well worth the trip down the hill.
The Crew: When you walk into the Bull & Bear you can choose any seat you want. With a friendly wait-staff, one should expect a fast, casual yet personable dining experience. The Bottom Line: The people working at Bull & Bear Pub enhance your burger-eating experience.
The Deets: Bull & Bear Pub takes Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards as well as cash. The pub’s been open for eight years now and caters locally as well. While it’s labeled as a “burger company" on their awning, the Bull & Bear Pub doesn’t just serve burgers. Their menu includes a vast selection of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, desserts and wings. Their homemade, award-winning wing sauces include Thai, Hot, Medium, Mild, BNB (Spicy BBQ) or Spicy Sweet Mustard. With all entrees under $10, one can head to Bull & Bear and typically spend around $11 for a meal. Starting Oct. 1, their new menu will launch including even more delicious choices to choose from. While the pub is right in the heart of downtown, you will be able to find parking either in the parking lots surrounding the area or right on the street. The Bottom Line: Why are we still talking? Go eat your burgers.