Clearfield County, PA 

 

 

 

The crown. The mark of royalty. This symbol denotes a tavern with an overall excellence that exceeds the norm.

 The foamy mug marks a specific  feature that is noteworthy.

Normally when a bar goes out of business the location will never again house a tavern. Often the liquor license is sold to a distant entity.  The phoenix marks pubs that have defied the odds and reopened after having been silenced.

Not every pub that says its Irish is Irish but the ones that are and the ones that have great St Patrick's Day events will be identified with this brand.

The screw. The sign of gross injustice or disservice.  AmericanTom believes that people go to their local watering hole to escape their day to day grind and troubles.  In a way, servers and barkeeps are like actors - orchestrating a great play whose cast are their customers. Some of the things that can generate a screw are: great disparity between how regulars and visitors are treated, rudeness or utter incompetence.

Most businesses have a neutral attitude toward motorcyclists.   The HD logo marks taverns that openly welcome those who arrive on scooters.

Inflation sucks. It sucks away your buying power.  If you can still buy a beer for one dollar - you will see this sign.

Seafood is a class of food all by itself.  Clams have little competition - few foods are better when done well and few foods can cause more problems when improperly served. See the clam next to a bar's name and it shows where tasty clams have been enjoyed!

I like Reading, PA. In spite of being Pennsylvania's most dangerous city there are a lot of cool things to do here. One of the best is that "our" beer is back. You can have your big, national (and often foreign-owned) brands.        I  am happy that Old Gus has come home!  Taverns serving this delicious brew will have this icon.

Have a cold one on the deck!

 

tom@americantom.com

 

DENNY'S BEER BARREL PUB 
1423 Dorey Street   Clearfield   PA   16830     814-765-1923

www.dennysbeerbarrelpub.com         

        

1: The old sign   2: Denny and the burger   3: Kate Stelnick's attempt     4:  The completion     6. Ryan, the guy we watched try to eat it        7.  Ryan and his posse     8: Two guys getting ready to try the new fifteen pounder

<2-5-2005>  Ahh, Denny's.  I admit that I have become a pilgrim to this mecca of gluttony  - just like the 1000s of other that arrive here from all over the USA and Earth. 

I simply HAD to see it..... it, "Ye Olde 96'er" - the largest hamburger in the world. Denny's 11 pound creation: 6 pounds of meat and 5 pounds of fixings: one large onion, two whole tomatos, 1/2 head of lettuce, 1.25 # of cheese, a cup each of mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, relish, banana peppers and some pickles.  Actually, I HAD seen one before - someone brought one along to a weekend in Warren PA but by the time I saw it, it had been in the fridge for a day and looked a tad sickly. 

Our first attempt to get into Denny's met with failure around 6PM on a Saturday. The parking lot was FULL and the car stretched for 1/4 mile down the road. Amazing what an international news article will do for business!  We returned later and found the crowds had departed. 

Mike, one of the guys in our group showed us some of the additions to the bar - the wooden steps as you enter used to be the outside stairwell.  He noted that they have done a lot of expansion and that the "big burger" publicity is probably rapidly taking a chunk out of the debt. 

Luckily, we found one person trying to eat the monster. Ryan lives fairly close and they had come down to make an attempt at it. He had been eating for 1.5 hrs when we encountered them and the burger looked mainly intact. Because you can't use utensils - he had lemon-sized chunks of meat in each hand as his new fiancÚ encouraged him.  Thanks for being a great photo opp! :-) Soon after we snapped some pics he gave up and summoned for the roll of tin foil so they could carry the beast home for a series of future meals.

The "Ol 96'er" aside, I like Denny's. Its got atmosphere, the people were nice (Sam at the bar was there when the record was broken and talked about Kate Stelnick with near mythical reverence) including the barmaid who took the time to chat and whipped out a small album with several dozen photos of the momentous event.  The beers were cold and the food looked delicious - it is supervised by a real live chef and all made fresh.

Denny's has a glass showcase of souvenirs (they didn't have a shirt in Kate's size and had to order one in for her)  but I decided against a t-shirt this time. All the more reason to return!  And return I will.  Not only do I want to see someone munching on the bigboy again but I want to try to eat the 2 pounder (only 155 others have)!!!

<5-2005>  Network news outlets are reporting that the world record for biggest burger has returned to Clearfield ( I didn't know it had been lost but a bar in New Jersey had started making a bigger one). Denny's now sells a FIFTEEN POUNDER!!

 

 

DINGERS GRAND SLAM GRILLE & GROGGERY
 8 Nichols Street, Clearfield, Clearfield County, PA. 16830       814-765-4004
       41.0272  -78.4398

     

 

<2-5-05>   Dinger's was where we ended up after trying to get in to Denny's and finding the main lot full and cars lined up down the road.  It turns out that Dinger's is often the "second choice" in these situations.  After eating the food here and drinking some fresh cold Lager, "yes, I mean YUENGLING Lager" ( they haven't yet caught on up here that most of PA now uses the word Lager to mean Yuengling ), there is no reason why Dinger's should be 2nd string to any nearby restaurant.

This is a bar that is drenched in sports references - nearly every item on the menu is named after a sports legend.  The bar and seating areas are fairly small with much space lost by the protrusion of the kitchen (surrounded by curtained partitions) into the establishment's useable space.  There is also a deck but that is obviously closed during the winter in northern Pennsylvania.

For whatever reason, the waitress has gone home on a Saturday night and the bartender was doing both roles. He was a friendly guy who did his job well.  We ordered sandwiches and I selected the 'Babe Ruth' - a steak sub without marina sauce. It arrived on the best roll I have ever had at a restaurant and the meat was actual lean meat sliced and fried. It was so darned good that I almost cried when I ate it. I could have easily eaten two - not because it was lacking in size but because it was that good.  I do wish it had some with chips though.  The others in my party also noted that their sandwiches were good and how fantastic the bread was. I even asked the waiter what kind of bread it was but he could not remember the brand name.

The right-side wall is entirely coolers and they stock a very nice selection of take-out beer. I noted several Troeg's products (I don't like them but many do), Stoudt's, and even Old German.

Pretty women populated the bar and the night before, live music had been playing in the area where we ate.  Add chips to the sandwiches and move the kitchen somewhere else and this little pub would be perfect. The next time I am in Clearfield I will be eating here.

<2-2006> It has been a year since the furor over Denny's big hamburgers hit the media.  So naturally we assumed we wouldn't have as much trouble getting supper there as we did in 2005. Not so. When the 2hr+ wait was announced we jumped in the truck and headed back to Dinger's.

The table next to use was filled with 3 or four women and a geeky guy. They discussed the hard drinking they had done earlier in the week and where they would be headed to on this Saturday night.

Again, as it was last year, the person working the bar was overworked and had to cover the tables. This time it was an attractive female who warmly greeted us and soon returned with our beers. We ordered by using the proper baseball player names attached to each meal. 

The Bud Shootout was supposed to start at about the time we were inside so we turned one of the big TVs to the proper channel. It seemed sacrilegious to not be watching a race while in a sportsbar.

The food soon arrived and, as expected, it was excellent.  My salad was incredible although I picked the french fries out.  Mike deemed his sandwich "wonderful".

Dinger's seems to be a pre-lube place before folks launch themselves towards a place to drink and dance.
 

FRIENDLY TAVERN
633 South Brady St   Dubois  PA  15801

     

  

1& 2 The new bar  3: The old bar just a few doors down the street

<7-2007> My evening in Dubois included some time to cruise around and check things out.  I saw this pub listed in the glossy tourist brochure in the hotel so I made my way across town.

I first saw the old bar - closed and dark and then the new establishment.  The older one is marked "II" but I would be hard pressed to believe that two bars of the same name exist within 50ft of each other.

Sadly, I forgot to ask while I was there.

I walked into a pretty open and spacious bar room.  The typical collection of males in hats were sitting at the bar.  The walls had numerous Irishy things on them (although all were kitschy such as signs from beers).  The barmaid seemed distracted but got my beer in a timely fashion. 

A lovely redhead was playing darts and the video game on the bar but I didn't have the time to explain that my camera really does have a legit use for photos of good looking redheads in bars.

 

REDWOOD INN
9426 Gillingham Rd   Lecontes Mills,  PA  16850

 

 

ST CHARLES CAFE
226 N 3rd Street, Clearfield, PA. 16830   814-765-7782

     

 TIME SQUARE 
RR3   Glen Richey (Clearfield)  PA   16830   814-236-2124

N40   57.036   W78  28.683

 

     

 

<11-15-03> Being in nearby Lanse, PA for the weekend, I planned to review at least one before heading to the flatlands of Lancaster County. I always have enjoyed going to Clearfield County because of its ruggedness and because I always seem to find adventure.

So, when my class took a temporary halt on Saturday afternoon to cover a topic that did not concern me, I headed out the door for the 20min drive to Clearfield. The locals may disagree but this town is pretty nice - it still has a shopping district downtown and seems quite welcoming. I decided to find the Leather & Lace which is owned by the father of a friend of mine.

When driving in circles and trying to pick up the cosmic vibe of this particular bar ( a technique I employ frequently when I don't have a phonebook or net access) didn't work, I asked someone at the discount cigarette outlet. She said she was going right by it and that its about 6miles outside of town.

Before long we came down the hill and she is flailing her arm and pointing so I pulled in. What a great place for a bar! This old one story schoolhouse beckoned me in. I sat at the bar and ordered a Yuengling (stupid...should have gotten a Straub's) and watched Penn State get their butt handed to them AGAIN. The barmaid chatted playfully with the 6 or 8 customers - all of whom looked like they had just finished hunting and all in ballcaps. Not a bad thing, just an observation.

She asked what brought me up here so I told her I had a class and that I know Annetta. Soon, a tough-looking biker dude came out and she introduced me to 'Butcher' - who is Annetta's dad and the owner. I forget his birth name but Butcher will work just fine.

He took me on a tour and explained that they had purchased this old school and done a ton of remodeling. I think he said that he or his wife had actually gone to classes here. The front 1/2 is now the bar and pool room while the back 1/2 has a gym and the dance hall. Some of the old chalkboards still remain and the floor of the dancehall had rubber marks from bikes doing burn-outs....inside!! He also showed me their nearby home and the land he owns behind the bar.

He was really nice and I absolutely loved this tavern. What a great place to salvage from what would have probably become apartments. When I asked him if he had any t-shirts or hats he said that they were trying to sell the place and had no more. Then, he remembered that he had one last new hat and ran over to his house to get it for me. Its orange camo with the bar name and eagle logo. I thanked him for it and will wear it when I shoot. This bar and his nearby land would be the perfect place for a weekend of camping and dancing. He said "no problem" so it very well may be in the near future!

<1-27-04> I just learned from Annetta that her parents have sold the bar and that it should continue in the same style as it previously was.

  

 

<2-5-05> "Time Square", what an odd name for a bar in the middle of nowhere in Clearfield County.  And where is the 's' in the name? I set out to answer this mystery and see for myself what has been done since this place was sold. One of the natives in town said "a lot has changed out there". Hmmm....

The building looked about the same with the exception of the front entrance being closed and all traffic seemingly entering by the left side door after going up a wheelchair ramp.

Four wheelers were parked in the lot along with the autos.  The folks inside were about the same mix that I encountered before: young, old, hunters, drunks. But what is with those tiffany lamps hanging over the now curvy bar? And where is the dancehall in the back 1/2 of the building?  The pool tables have been moved into one part of the back room.

An angry looking guy with a dark complexion served us without a hello or a thank you. I guess he is what another local later described as "one of those f'ing Iranians who bought they place. They also own several hotels nearby and are buying up everything".  I didn't really care what nationality he is as much as I did about the awful service.  When I asked the older barmaid why it was called Time Square she replied "I don't have any idea" and walked away.

Usually I like redneck bars and loved this place when it was the L&L but now it sucks. After standing to drink our one round (all of the table had been claimed as coat racks even though not a single person was seated at even one) we left. 

Maybe The Butcher will miss the place and buy it back. Unless that happens, it will continue to be a lousy bar as long as the current ownership has their claws in it.