Lancaster County, PA.

 

Named after the city of Lancaster in Lancashire England.  This was the home of John Wright (an early settler)

 

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.

 I don't know why I love bars that make you walk DOWN or UP to get to them or their bathrooms.  I just do!

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!

Want to see the most current review?  Just jump to the red dot

 

tom@americantom.com

 

ADAMSTOWN TRANSFER COMPANY  

             
26 Willow St   Adamstown,
 PA 19501   717-484-9304
   

                     

1: 1998 - this was still Schmeck's  2: When the hours were limited, the bar was open when the light was on  4: The new roof (5/05)  7: The men's room hopper is up several steps - feels like sitting on a throne!!  8: One of the interesting photos that adorn the bathroom walls  9: A new sign with fancy wheels (5/05) 9: The "Closed for Vacation" sign (12/05)that signaled the end  10: Several weeks later the proof appeared out front

[10-17-02] Formerly Schmeckís - this was one of the first bars that I visited when I moved to Lancaster County. It is in the basement of an old cigar factory and was so smoky you could barely make out the NASCAR items on the walls. Schmeckís seemed to have closed because it was locked on several occasions and the rooftop light was never on. However, In October I saw an ad for the bar in the Shopping News. The barís posted hours are now 4-11P Wed & Thurs and Friday 4P to 130A. Driving down the side street I saw a brand new sign on the side of the building and the rooftop light blazing away. Stepping down into the bar revealed a different dťcor and I immediately saw numerous Yuengling posters and signs. The paint was now a clean looking tan and the female owner greeted me with sincerity.

ATC features a guitar and amp that are always available for anyone to play. The owner played a few old Beatles tunes with only minimal urging from her customers.

[12-11-03] Stopped in to eat free peanuts (all the time). Two guys to my left were gabbing up a storm with the owner. Didnít feel like talking politics so I ate and threw the shells on the floor and then left them to continue debating the meaning of life. This is a neat location but so far it always seems to lack zest. I wonder if the seemingly  strict and well-posted no profanity rule is enforced?   The commode in the men's room (women's too?) is elevated so high that anyone who sits on the thing will no doubt  feel like royalty!

[3-2005] Now open 7 days a week! The food was decent, the barmaid was nice, the peanuts were fresh and we had a really good time here on a Sunday afternoon.

[12-14-2005] I received the following tip: "I have it on good authority that the Adamstown transfer company has closed and is up for sale.  This is a shame as it was a fun place to drink"

[12-26-05] Hoping this wasn't true, I drove over to the ATC and found a "Closed for Vacation" sign taped to the door. This doesn't look good.  I later received this information: "My buddy's sister works with the owner and she reported it was permanently closed and up for sale. So, sadly, it's fairly certain that it is closed for now" 

[12-27-2005] The TAVERN light on top of ATC is indeed dark. A sad sight in Adamstown. 

[6-2006] The ATC has been for sale for over 1/2 year. The asking price is $870,000. Its obvious that this property is being marketed for future housing as the ad even includes the following "Artist Rendering" of the attached building (the sewing factory).

[5-2007] The ATC appears to be back.  There are new signs posted and the bar lights in the windows are lit up.  An investigation follows.  Follow-up: Yes, the ATC is open!  My Tuesday night visit found a karaoke DJ setting for the crowd of 15 or so.  The barmaid was struggling with a soda gun that wasn't working right so I couldn't really tell if she was good or bad.

$2 Lagers drop to $1.25 during happy hour. The bar opens at 7AM beginning mid week.

[8-2007] Stopped in for a quick visit with a friend.  Met the owner (Kim) and was happy to find that she is personable, quite attractive and seems to have the drive to make sure that the ATC stays open for years to come.

The chicken fingers and fries (hand cut?) were tasty.  Sadly, they have yet to stock Reading bottles but my Lager was an OK substitute and she said she will see about getting it into the cooler.

[10-2007] When the light is lit, stop in for a bit. 

[10-2007] As of  October 2007 I am awarding the ATC the highly coveted crown. Less than 2% of the bars listed on these pages earn this seal of approval.  Here are some of the reasons why I have ordained the ATC: 1) It is classic small town bar - down a side street where only the locals would know it existed (if the large rooftop sign weren't there)  2) The decor is made up largely of beer-related memorabilia  3) The barstaff are almost always friendly and owner Kim is stunning  4) There is a guitar in the corner and anyone is welcome to start playing it at anytime  4) The floor of the barroom is below ground level and the commode sits way above floor level (sort of like some weird Alice in Wonderland setup!)

I truly like this place and as of recently they have started stocking  Reading Bottles ($2.25) which the owner says have been selling really well.

For its hometown appeal, below ground location and good I am awarding The ATC the Crown of Excellence

[10-2008] Reviewer: ET  On your recommendation, we visited the Adamstown Transfer Company and had a very nice visit with the owner, Kim, on a Saturday afternoon in August

 

ALLEY KAT
30 West Lemon St   Lancaster   PA   17603   717-509-8696
www.myspace.com/133515891

 

[2-2009]  My initial impression of the Alley Kat was not all that favorable.  Our small group came in at lunchtime and asked for a table. They said it would be a few minutes and went about getting some space setup for us.  But the staff didn't seem happy to have 8 more humans with wallets in an age of decreasing tavern business. Nobody seemed happy to be alive.

Thankfully, that 'tude changed and our lunch was fun. The one barmaid and one server were hopping with the full house and parking is always a bitch but we had a good time. $7 AYCE pizza/soup/salad buffet was in effect.  Don't count on drinking swill beer here as there is no Coors lager, no PBR and no Old Mud.

The steak sandwich was quite good and I would definitely eat here again.

 AMERICAN BAR & GRILL
1081 N Plum Street    Lancaster, PA  17601    717-394-8021 
N40 03.277   W076 17.963

 

1:  "Big Shane" and a hottie who could really move     2: Paula with her PBR!

[2-14-03]  The happy atmosphere at Kelsey's inspired me to stop at the "ABG" after several months of good intentions.

In this bar, I was the sole customer for several minutes. My first impression was of the unique floor and chrome chairs in the dining room. The walls have many framed black and white photographs of patrons of the bar over the years. These pictures are more artsy than the snapshot collages that many bars throw together and slap on their walls.

Needing to donate the previous two beers, I went into their bathroom and slipped on the just-mopped floor. I almost broke my neck bouncing off the wall in a desperate effort to not fall onto the floor. The commode area of this bathroom is in a separate room that is divided by a steel fire door.

Barmaid Kristy was busy getting the place ready for the day. She tapped my lager and got me a bowl of soup (I forget what it was but it was creamy and had potatoes and bacon?) before zipping away to list the specials on boards in the bar and dining room. A very nice looking girl who was dressed in Express jeans and a cute shirt that allowed just a bit of belly to peak out, I can imagine that she probably has a loyal following. She said that they used to have live music on Sunday nights but that is no longer happening.

Several customers arrived as I finished my soup and paid my bill. The ABG was a nice place and one that I will return to .

[3-2005]  Twenty-eight people surrounded the bar this Friday afternoon.  All but two were male.  Most munched happily on the free peanuts (shells go on the floor) while eyeballing the attractive bartender and her equally nice waitress. One customer was heard to announce, "Jeez, it's like a sausage factory in here". Yup.

[6-2005]  Tuesday evening.  The awesome power of karaoke and beer.  This combination was fueling some good times when I arrived around 10PM. Big Shane, reportedly a regular who is fond of singing suicide songs, was belting out a tune with the hottie girl shown in the photo above. It obviously was not their first song together. That girl move and groove would have been worth any cover (there was none).

To my right was a small gaggle of tattooed women and quite possibly the toughest one was Paula. Being a rugby player didn't earn her that title - drinking a Pabst draft did.  She is only the 2nd person I have witnessed drinking PBR in the last several....decades

[7-2006]  A Wednesday early evening stop for the advertised 25c clams found the restaurant and bar to be pretty full. My clams arrived and were a decent size. 

1:  That's what a PBR looks like. Barmaid said, "we serve a LOT of them because they are $1.50"  2: Chronic Miller Lite drinker Kelly

[11-2008]  Time can FLY by - its been 2 1/3 YEARS since I last reviewed the ABG and almost 3 1/2 yrs since the PBR pic was taken. That amazes me.

Today's lunch break found the lovely Lauren tending bar.  I was surprised at the prices for relatively simple food - almost everything was between $7 and $9.  My $8 cheesesteak was about 1/2 what eight bucks will buy you at Smith's and didn't include a drop of sauce.  ABG has $2 Lager drafts all the time but I settled on a $1.50 PBR draft - partly because of the general feeling of energy depletion that Lagers have been causing me and partly in tribute to this being the first place I saw a PBR in the modern era (see review above).  The price hasn't changed since my 7/06 review and that's saying a lot.

The peanuts are gone (Lauren did not even know there had EVER been peanuts) which stinks.  I looked down at that clean floor and saw the olden days when it would have been covered in peanut shells.

Back to Miss Lauren - one of the good facts about this tavern is that they seem to "get" that a bar should have a nice barmaid.  Lauren fits that bill - with an outgoing personality, all American good looks, attention to her customers and even an accidental flash of thongage - she got a unanimous thumbs up from my group.  The ABG remains a great place for beer and conversation. I'm not sure if they serve more meals than what are on the small menu we saw.  I would probably invest my beer money here and save my eatin' pesos for somewhere else.

[2-2009]  I have been wanting to make the lovely and smiling Lauren a Page 1 Girl for sometime.  This visit accomplished that mission. In spite of being out of PBR (terrible though, had to drink Labatt's on special for only 25c more) I managed to survive. My baker's dozen of clams were small but ohhh sooo tasty. Very good. Thanks Lauren for letting me feature you here!

 

ANNIE BAILEYS IRISH PUB
30 East King Street   Lancaster   PA  17602   717-393-4000
www.anniebaileysirishpub.com

 

BLACK HORSE TAVERN
2170 North Reading Rd (Rt 272)  Denver, PA. 17517  717-336-6555
www.blackhorselodge.com

 

[1-2007]  Many years ago the Black Horse was one of the first places I tried when I moved here.  The exterior does not adequately convey the "fancy" environment inside.

Back then I remember being floored by the $3 Yuengling Lagers.  The going rate for the same beer in most other pubs was about 1/2 that.  I do remember loving their homemade spicy horseradish spread for the ever-present bar pretzels.

My Sunday evening visit found one older couple eating dinner at a table in the bar as well as one man enjoying beef tips at the bar. The lovely blonde restaurant server smiled                          and acknowledged me when I walked through the lobby.  I sat at the bar and could see the server and barmaid conversing as they waited on a food order.  And I sat. And I sat.

When she finally came over I was given my $3.50 Stoudt's Gold Lager with little conversation or fanfare.  Not a good first impression.

Eventually barmaid April returned and began chatting and she turned out to be as nice as she is pretty. At one point she mentioned that she has been in this line of work for 17 years and that 'back then' she was a size zero.  After 5 kids she is still plenty fine enough to leave many men drooling at the bar. She just needs to work on those initial contact skills.  :-)

The Black Horse truly does have "high quality wet goods at the bar"  as most of the many bottles behind the bar are things I have never heard of and probably wouldn't drink.  The draft beers include Lancaster Brewing Company, Stoudt's, Legacy, Troegs and even Oregon Brewing Company's "Dead Guy Ale".  I tried that one and it was surprisingly good. That beer came 3000 miles to grace my lips.

[8-2011]  After driving by the small marquee sign proclaiming St Boniface (Ephrata microbrewery) drafts, I made a U-Turn and hit their new patio. I forget exactly which variety I had but it was tasty and the waitress was friendly. The patio is nice enough considering its toward the back of the building and has the screaming noise of the PA Turnpike nearby. A recent story in the newspaper says that this business has abandoned its uppity rules and is catering to a more diverse clientele. I will have to check it out soon.

 

BLOCKHOUSE TAVERN
PO Box 188, Blue Ball,  PA. 17506  717-354-5073
N40 07.129   W076 02.832

       

 

[01-28-04] Getting into this bar seems to be half the battle.  With traffic whizzing down 322 and snow and ice everywhere, I parked across the street.  When I walked to the front of              the building there were no specific signs telling people which door to enter.  The correct door is the one that takes you below ground.

[6-2005] Having to walk down to get into a bar is always a good thing in my book.  The Blockhouse was nicely air conditioned as I left the muggy summer behind and went in for a                cold beer.  Barmaid Debbie was on duty. Sadly, she refused to be photographed. This is a shame because this 25 year old cutie has some serious good looks.

"Mom" was in the bar. She and her husband have owned this bar for 43 years.  She said that before they bought it the name was "The Rathskeller" and it had been a tavern for at least two decades.

$1 drafts are a throwback to a long-gone era but they can still be found here.  Debbie said all their barmaids are hotties.  Stop in and check out                 this pub - odds are that Mom will be somewhere nearby. If you look hard enough, you can see a Tele Tubby through the door to the kitchen. I wonder      what kind of sauce you get with that dish??

[3-2007] Lunchtime visit found one guy eating a meal and a kid sitting there watching a VHS of  monster trucks and junk cars at the Buck.  Before     long a woman came down to holler at him to get ready for school.  Enjoyed my $1 Yuengling and departed.

 

BOWMANSVILLE INN, RESTAURANT & PUB
1255 Reading Rd, Bowmansville, PA  17507 
N40 11.816   W076 01.074

  

 

[1-2-2006] The "BoHo" has recently been remodeled and is pretty spic and span looking inside. On this mid-afternoon visit I got to listen to the four middle-aged chaps to my left as they discussed the times they had been hit by golf balls.  I know a bunch of golfers and, while I have never asked them, I can't recall even one ever stating that he was hit by a golf ball while      golfing. To listen to these guys it sounded like they had just come out of a battle in Iraq - tales of lacerated heads and faces and even of one of their friends who had been nailed "just to           the side of his spine". One of the drinkers then went on to tell about how he was injured by a javelin. What the heck was he doing downrange of a javelin throw?? Either way, it was funny.

This bar is Irish-themed and has DJs and karaoke on the weekends. They had a piper for New Year's Eve 2005/2006 and apparently throw a pretty decent shindig for St Pat's Day.

A cold pint of Lager and a cup  of "Lobster Bisque" set me back only $3.57. Not much more than a single lager at some places. A good deal.

 [7-2008]   Several people have told me tales about this bar - tales of good live music, hot barmaids, good times.  On several occasions I have stopped in but never encountered anything remotely like what I have heard.  This weeknight visit found the bar full and the bartender busy as people ordered their imbibements. I need to do a better job at getting folks names because he deserves to be listed here as more than "the bartender".

The guy was on top of things and obviously knew his regulars. One gentleman came in - a guy suffering from a physical disability who ambulated slower than his peers - and he wasn't even at the bar before his favorite draft was already in place.

Two women snuggled together at the video machine - arms around one another, nuzzling cheek to cheek and seductively lighting each others cigarettes.  A small peck even happened. I would have bet that full fledged making out was about to happen but without any obvious cause the show stopped and my attention returned completely to the Phillies game.

At the other end of the bar was a woman in utterly unremarkable clothes - jeans and a shirt - but who was just a teeny sliver from fulfilling the definition of stunning. As she was she was quite pretty and quite atypical of the females I have seen here. 

The BoHo promotes itself as Irishy.  They did have a jukebox that played Dropkick Murphys - something that many places fail to offer.

 

 

BRENDEE's CAFE
449 West Lemon Street     Lancaster ,  PA   17603    717-397-8646
www.brendeescafe.com

   

 

[2-2007] Once in awhile I find myself going to a bar for the first time and pondering to myself why I haven't been there before.   Brendee's is one of those places.

I often get to this section of Lancaster so I have no excuse.  To be honest, I didn't even realize it was so close to streets I am often driving.

My mid-afternoon visit found a few people finishing up their long lunches and one woman chain smoking at the end of the bar as she sifted through a mound of business paperwork.

Before I could get 1/3 thru my Lager the barmaid was jibber-jabbering to someone about her personal woes and tribulations.  I simply do not care and do not want her issues to suck the life out of me. Why am I always forced to endure audio assaults from whiny bartenders just because I want  to drink a beer?   Why?  Why??

Brendee's seems to have the pub atmosphere down and would probably be a fun place with some cool kilted people.

   

 

[11-2007]  Lancaster505  rolled into Brendee's for an off-week gathering. As is almost always the case the debauchery was lead by Evil Pete who arrived in a black suit.  Amazingly enough he successfully mixed a Miller Lite, Guinness and a PBR in the short time I was there.  That's a strange combo by anyone's measure.

Brendee's was a mix of frat boys, blue collar workers and a few undefinables.

Barmaid Caroline looked lovely as she worked the increasing crowd.   At one point she whipped put a riding crop as a reminder to a customer that bad behavior wouldn't be tolerated.  Of course Pete was soon up against the cooler and she delivered a few well deserved swats.  I don't know which of them enjoyed it more.

I was happy to hear that one of the bartenders sometimes works in a kilt.  My February review suggested just that.

[3-2008] Starting the St Patrick's Day weekend requires me to patronize Irishy taverns.  Our visit to Brendee's found people talking and mellow and getting ready for a slew of St Patty's events on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Talked with Vernon and Lisa - a nice couple about to be married, played some Dropkick Murphy's on the jukebox and had a cold Harp thanks to Lenanne.  I was surprised to find Union Barrel Works' "Wobbly Bob" on draft.  That's a strong beer!

The guy who was cleaning up turned out to be owner Steve - one of the several tavern owners I have met who work a full time job and then own and operate a bar on the side.  That's a lot of work but his place is cool.

 

  

1:  Newly engaged Vernon & Lisa  2: Rockin' barmaid Leanne

 

BRUNNERVILLE HOTEL
1301 Front St    Lititz (Brunnerville),  PA  17543   717-626-7300
 

        

 

[12-2005]   I have always liked this bar and actually had a pretty good review posted here. Somehow, the writing and the first two photos vanished from the page so I will have to start fresh.

I have eaten soup and light food here a few times and it has always been tasty. The barroom is small and dark enough to fit in with Brunnerville while the adjacent dining room is bright and open enough to feel separate from the taproom.

This visit found Amy behind the bar as she scurried to get everything done for their 3PM opening. Pretty and curvy, she told me that she had been here 8 years and was the "barmaid with the butt" compared to the regular crop of young tiny barmaids.  I don't recall any herd of 100 pounders being here during the times when I have stopped in but I will take her word for it.

Before long a male patron stopped in and Amy was soon politely but sternly telling him that his recent flagging was serious and that she would serve him only if he agreed to stay clear of everything but beer. I guess this didn't agree with him as he was shortly out the door. She seemed genuinely sad at having to admonish a "customer of 8 years" but seemed equally serious about her obligation to ALL the patrons to keep people in order.

I enjoyed an interesting conversation with a chap across the bar as he related his favorite taverns - all in Lancaster and none I can remember except the Dough Boy and O'Halloran's. I wish I could remember his name other than "The Mole" which I heard him use during  a barside phone call.

The Brunnerville Hotel isn't grand but it isn't shabby either. Just a nice little watering hole in a small country town.

[3-2007 - Reviewer: A&W]   This is one of my favorite places. Most any day of the week or time of the day there is a friendly group of people. Good place to unwind after work on a Friday. Bar tender Mary Ann always has a smile and welcome for everyone. It has the old-time bar appearance. There is a  cast-iron contraption hanging on the back wall, if anyone knows what it is please explain it to me. The deck opens the end of May and is a wonderful, relaxing spot to enjoy a meal and/or cold beverage. Wednesday is wing night and seems to be very popular at the B-ville.

BULLSHEAD PUB
6049 Main Street    East Petersburg,  PA   17520  717-581-5408

[5-2010 - Reviewer:Reel Knotty ]   The Bullís Head Public House is the newest addition to The General Sutter Inn on the square in Lititz. To me itís the perfect place to spend the afternoon as the wife visits the local shops on Main Street.

he bar is in true British tradition. You place all of your orders at the bar; there is no wait staff that takes your order at your table. The menu is a bit limited but is a work in progress. Do not expect to find Coors or even a Yuengling on tap as all of the beers are top notch hand crafted and import beers (not all this over hopped micro tobacco water). The staff is well informed on all of the 14 beers on tap, 2 additional cask beers and a countless selection of bottles. They also have a beer sommelier (sounds fancy) on staff to help you find a beer to match your style. They are more than happy to give you a sample of any of the beers before you commit to a full pint. All of the beers are rotated so as the keg goes empty it is replaced with something new which makes every trip a new adventure. The average cost is about $4.00 for a pint but they are high octane beers with several passing the 10% mark.  

The clientele is as vast as the beer selection. On any given night you can see anything from a Ferrari or vintage Rolls Royce to an old rusty pick up truck parked out front. This large array of beers and people make for great conversations as you sit at the beautiful old oak bar.  

If you find yourself in the town of Lititz I do recommend stopping by the Bullís Head for some unique beers with an equally as unique atmosphere.  

Cheers,    Reel Knotty

 

CHANCEY'S PUB
6049 Main Street    East Petersburg,  PA   17520  717-581-5408


[1-2005]   Chancey's was a chance stop. I had never heard of this place but was thirsty after an afternoon of hiking.   The dimly lit restaurant area was empty but about ten males sat around the bar.

The barmaid soon appeared and tapped a $2.50 Lager (during what is normally Happy Hour). She quickly vanished without further comment while several other female staff members lingered at the end of the bar. Their time was largely taken up with idle chit chat and stabbing olives from the condiment container and then munching on them themselves.

The lack of positive atmosphere prompted me to depart after the lone beer. Nobody said goodbye or thank you which validated my decision to leave no tip.

 

CHERRY'S BACK ALLEY BAR & GRILL
320 North Cherry Street   Lancaster,  PA   17602  717-293-9597

 

COCALICO TAVERN  (formerly Albert's Tavern) 
1015 North Reading Rd (Rt272)  Stevens,   PA  17578  717-336-9936

      

[2004]  The Cocalico Tavern is the "anti-Cheers".  They may know all the names of their regulars but if you aren't  one of them they don't care about your name or you.  This is the place where a non-regular could have his heart explode while seated at a table and nobody would notice until they were closing up for the night and wondered why the guy was still sitting in the corner.

Every single time I have been in here I have encountered barmaids who epitomize the term 'beeeee-atch'. Even when a group of us were here one time and spend well over $100 in food we didn't get interaction worthy of noting here.  Their marquee once advertised "Come in and see so and so". Why? 

The digital jukebox is cool and their food was pretty good.  This place would have great potential if they got help that had personalities. But they don't and there are plenty of other pubs that will more happily accept my cash.

[3-2006] Another gathering at the Cocalico Tavern on a Sunday afternoon.  The 5 patrons at the bar included the AM barmaid who had been sitting there since her shift ended. Before long they left and we had the bar to ourselves.  Today's barmaid was nice but not overly interested.  Our small but merry group had a good time playing pool, tunes on the jukebox and eating wings (pretty tasty).

The downstairs bathrooms might be a tad tricky to negotiate if you had one beer to many but they add interest to this pub.

[5-2007] Albert Faiola, previous owner, has passed away.  The obituary that ran in the Ephrata Review is posted below.

[2-2011 - Review by NatickChuck]   I was in the area for a few days, and saw the karaoke sign on my way to dinner. I decided to call them when I got back to the hotel to find out if the sign was right, and for a starting time. Nothing in the local yellow pages for them, and when I tried searching for them, the number I found (on your site and others) was disconnected. When I read your reviews, I almost didnít go.
 
I went anyway. I wasnít near the corner of the bar more than a minute or so and the barmaid locked eyes and asked me what Iíd like!
 
The first 15 minutes were a little uncomfortable as nobody makes an effort to speak to the new person, but I asked a young lady parton about the karaoke and what type of songs go over, to find out it was her first time there too! Her Godfather brought her there- heís been there many times. I spoke to the KJ, and he was very nice. When the drunkards near where I was standing left, I grabbed a stool. The barmaid was off-the-hook busy, but all I had to do was keep checking her way, and as soon as we locked eyes again, I had another beer. For the third one, I kind of raised the glass off the bar a little with my hands, like it was on a pedestal, and she got it right away. Very very busy, but not off-putting as I guess they were when you had gone. And, for karaoke, though I was new, the crowd enjoyed it, and they just about plotzed when the newbie I was speaking to did Proud Mary and asked me to be Ike to her Tina. We rocked it and the crowd loved it!

1. 070512 Albert Faiola Obituary. The previous owner of this tavern

CONESTOGA RESTAURANT & BAR 
1501 East King Street   Lancaster,  PA. 17602  717-393-0290

[7-2006]  Lancaster's bar by the Conestoga River served me a $2.25 pint of Lager that was icy cold and very fresh. Delicious. Maybe I am living in the past but draft beers >$2 seem expensive to me. Either way, it was tasty.

I watched a lady pull up in a big car and park in the NO PARKING spot in front of the ice machine. I assumed by the style of car and way she entered that she was an owner. As I was drinking my Yuengling she paraded through the bar carrying a cute baby boy. Grandson I guess.

DAD'S BAR & GRILL
168 S Main Street   Manheim,  PA 17545  717-665-1960
 

[9-2005]  Dad's was "Plan B" after bailing from Chancey's.  My hiking buddy said that Dad's was known as a gay bar. This surprised me as its location on main street Manheim didn't seem like the likely spot for a bar of this type.

The comment may have been validated by the rainbow Bud Lite neon sign in the window. 

The bartender greeted us with a smile and a hello.  This place was instantly better than Chancey's because of this.  Sadly, the Lager drafts were again $2.50 - high even in this age of outrageous beer taxes.  Lagers are $1 during Monday night football and all day Wednesdays.

The owner was milling around as the pierced tongue'd bartender explained that Dad's actually has 4 bars including a dance club in the basement.  The inside was well decorated and interesting.

Dad's is a decent bar. If it is a gay bar they didn't mind straight folks hanging around.  A nice place.

[7-2006]  Quick stop on a Sunday night.  Only customers were about 7 or 8 guys. Mainly playing pool or just hanging over their beers. Nobody holding hands or dressed like the Village People.  The bartender stopped his pool shooting to get me my $1.75 Lager. Friendly guy. He did make a White Russian for the fellow next to me - a good bit of Stoli so it was probably worth the $6. Drank a single beer and left. The bartender said goodbye. Something most places don't bother with anymore.

[2-2007]  I am still not sure how to classify Dad's or if I know exactly how many bars are in there.  Its seems there are 4: Dad's itself with the street access is a typical small-town dive bar. The Dawg House is a country bar.  The 3rd one is a gay bar and the one downstairs is the specialty place where the themes like swingers and goth nites are held.

This report is based on the inaugural 4th Friday goth night. Somehow it is called Club Shadowland and/or ClubSexyCool.

The manager is Steffani who apparently is a stripper and swinger.  She was surprisingly tiny and surprisingly nice as was ( nice)  her tall and long-locked boyfriend/husband. 

DJ Kiltboy played the music (industrial) and at least 3/4 of the people were in black. Several danced. Beers were $2 which I thought was reasonable given the location ($5 cover). Not a bad turnout for their first attempt.

Waitresses were in skimpy attire and pasties, some people were playing pool and some were just socializing in small groups. A few guys wore kilts.

[8-2007]  The downstairs bar and open area will no longer be the home of goth/swingers/etc nights and will revert to its more vanilla previous entity of just a dance place.

 

DIETZ'S BAR
401 Linden St   Columbia,   PA   17512    717-684-6131

     

4. The view from the parking lot. This old factory will soon be torn down or fall down

 

[4-2005]  Dietz's was recently a convenient stop to check my suddenly contrary car. Of course it takes a few minutes for it to cool enough to be worked on so I HAD to go inside for a beer while I waited.

The lit sign has changed and now advertises the bar as "Nicky" Dietz's.  My assumption that Nicky is the daughter of the owner was correct.

The tavern's interior is decorated in sportsman motif - based partly on its role as hangout for the many local fisherman and partly on recognition of the hunting heritage the area. A mounted deer and bear adorn the walls as well as framed 8x10's of past successful kills.

Nicky is a pleasant looking woman with a dark tan whose ankle tattoo peaked out on the day of my visit. She was quick to refill the mugs but obviously was not in the mood for questions from the crazy or half-drunk traveling salesman ("I'm not from this area").  She did explain that the original bar was started in 1925 and then was removed when the Rt 30 highway project was built. The present building has been there since 1970.

I liked the breeze that blew through the open doors on opposite sides of the room. The endless roar of traffic on the highway was easily forgotten. When the salesman's next question was met with a curt reply, he turned to me for sympathy and remarked, "Jeez, it was just a question".  Not wanting to be marked as siding with the non-local, I finished my beer and departed while Nicky chatted in the far corner with an old-timer.

 

 DIRTY  OL' TAVERN 
 
917 South Prince Street   Lancaster,  PA  17603    717-393-3916

    

[8-10-04] When the Dirty Ol' Tavern was built, the customers most likely arrived by a vehicles with horsepower - power from real horses.   It's hard to imagine thirsty people slowly meandering  into  this tavern by horse when you watch today's traffic on 222 scream by so fast they look like blurs. 

I would be disappointed if a place named the Dirty Ol Tavern were too shiny, new and clean and I am not disappointed here.  The bar welcomes bikers and has it menu displayed on the typical taproom letter board only these letters are big enough  that a legally blind man could read them. No problem seeing what to order from across the room. I have had their roast beef sandwich on Kaiser several times and it is always excellent.

The Lancaster County Chapter of ABATE of PA meets here once a month - either in their retro-looking dining room (I'm not sure if they ever actually serve meals here on a regular basis or not) or downstairs in a newer meeting room.

The official t-shirt is black and has a back logo of a lighthouse, the bar name and "Booze Point Landing" because kayakers and canoeists supposedly stop here for drinks.

The barmaids are usually cute in a biker-chick kind of way and are always attentive. When you leave the place you have to make a left and go south on 222 before hitting the turn around to shoot you back into the city.
 

 

DOLLY'S INN
875 East Main Street    Ephrata,  PA  17522   717-733-0878
 

     

[11-2007]  It's been years since I was in Dolly's.  I know I had a review for it but it somehow got lost.  I remember about ten years ago their small pilsner-glass drafts were 80cents.

My daytime visit found a few souls sitting in the dark room that is the main bar area.  The inside is exactly as I remember it when last visited.  The two funniest things about  Dolly's are the chair suspended upside down from the ceiling and the fact that the bathrooms are actually added on to the main building.  When I asked one of the female customers about them she acted like I was a complete goombah - apparently never having noticed that just because the doors were flush with the main wall but the actual privy was outside.

 DUTCHMAID MOTEL
222 North Reading Rd   Ephrata,   PA   17522  

 

[5-2006]  The Dutchmaid's outside Tiki bar was one of the first places I drank a beer at when I loved to Lancaster County over ten years ago. The outside area was much smaller than it is now - just the main hut if I remember correctly. At that point there were no outside bathrooms and you had to go indoors to take a leak. 

Violating the first rule of safe drinking, I left a partially consumed beer at my place and when in and took care of things. Soon after drinking the rest of the beer I started getting dizzy, could not see straight and felt like I was going to get even sicker.  I miraculously made it home on the Harley before spending two days lying on the bathroom floor - praying to die.

When I recovered it was obvious that someone had gotten their jollies by putting something in my beer.

That painful memory stayed with me so vividly that I have only returned in the past year or so.

The parking lot was full as I rode in on a warm Saturday night. At least 20 motorcycles were parked around the perimeter of the compound and I was lucky to find a seat at the tiki bar that was the scene of the crime. The wait staff was generally young and tanned and even some of the cooks look hip.  The pace was packed and the food that was going by looked tasty. The male barkeep made an impressive looking drink that began with him squeezing oranges into juice. I don't know what it was but I do know it was fresh.

My Yuengling bottle was $2.25 but I think the girl next to me's shot was $3.75 - if so, it was overpriced as it was served in a tiny plastic cup.

This would be a fun place to go with a group of friends - as long as you keep an eye of your drinks and your bikes.

[6-2006]  The barmaid in the tiki bar was hot. Tall, tanned, blonde and wearing summer clothes that showed a lot of her browned epidermis. Sort of like a less emaciated Paris Hilton.  Unfortunately, she didn't seem very friendly. She didn't even say hello or smile. But, I guess enough guys leave big tips (like the goofus beside me who left $3 for two beers) that she doesn't have to be bothered by being personable.

[3-2007 -  Reviewer: A&W]-   A few years ago I visited the deck at the Dutch Maid in the summer but the bar itself had a bad reputation. Last year friends invited me there the night before Thanksgiving and then is when I saw the significant changes they have made. Recently I decided to return on a night that wasnít so well known for partying. The parking isnít the greatest. Upon entering I quickly realized all barstools were occupied so we sat at a table. The blonde barmaid was very friendly and even stepped from behind the bar to take our order, something not seen in a lot of places. She also honored my request of changing the channel of the closet TV so I could watch a hockey game. The Maid patrons were a good mix of people in their early 20ís to more life experienced citizens. The barmaid continued with good service throughout the evening and was even sassy enough to keep one of the regulars in line.

[5-11-2007]  A fire has consumed the Dutchmaid's outdoor bar but the remainder of the deck and outside drinking areas have been saved.  The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal reports:

An electrical fire seriously damaged an outdoor bar in Ephrata Thursday morning, three days after the business reopened for the spring and summer seasons, investigators said.

The outdoor bar, often referred to as "The Deck" by its patrons, was part of Dutchmaid Motel and Dutchmaid Lounge at 222 N. Reading Road.

The fire destroyed the wooden bar and its contents, causing about $65,000 in damage, Lincoln fire Chief Adrian Borry said.

Investigators ruled the fire accidental, Borry said.

Firefighters contained the blaze to the bar and were able to salvage much of the deck's seating area and the motel, which is less than 100 feet away, investigators said.

"Another few minutes and it could have spread" to those structures, Borry said.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 8:24 a.m. and found the outdoor bar was fully involved in flames. Borry said the blaze was controlled within minutes.

Jim Minnich, owner of the bar, has insurance for the structure. The deck had just reopened Monday.

"The sign outside says, and still says, 'Deck Open, Welcome Back,' " Borry said.

Minnich plans to rebuild the bar, according to investigators.
 

 

[5-29-2007]  The deck has been rebuilt and is open for business.

EDGEWATER
548 South State Street    Ephrata, PA  17522   717-733-9926

     

[6-2006]  The Edgewater was one of the first bars I visited when I moved to Lancaster County.  I remember spending a few weekend nights on the dance floor. At that time the Edgewater drew some very good looking women from here or afar.

My stops here have generally been pleasant although its been years since I have been here for a DJ or music.  I have no excuse. I need to return.

END ZONE SPORTS BAR
45 West High Street   Elizabethtown, PA    17022   717-367-7129

FROGTOWN CAFE
684 Marticville Rd   Pequea, PA  17567
www.frogtowncafe.com

 

   

 

[09-2005]  The name "Frogtown" comes from the former official name of this village.  Terry owns this nice country tavern.  My mid-week noon-time visit found the bar empty with the exception of the attractive brunette barmaid who was intently flipping the TV channels in an effort to find the weather.

$1.50 draft mugs. The barmaid didn't know the history of the giant safe in the back of the bar and stated that Terry may have bought it or it may have been there before that. That covers all the bases!

[11-2007]  A new website is up and running.

 

FULTON BAR & RESTAURANT
637  N Plum St   Lancaster,  PA  17602   717-291-1098
 

 

[12-16-03]  Finishing a semester of A&P2 certainly requires a celebration. The "locals" suggested the Fulton so the Fulton it was. Nine of us hit this bar just after lunch of a Tuesday. We took over the tiny backroom and soon the pitchers of Lager were being set on the ledge between the room and the bar. In spite of having several customers at the bar, the lone barmaid (Barb) provided excellent service. I ordered a fajita-like thing (I cant remember the exact name of it for the life of me) which was EXCELLENT. The wing and shrimp specials started at 3P so we ordered steamed shrimp as well. The shrimp arrived without red cocktail sauce and Barb looked kind of confused when I asked for some. She said "they have BBQ sauce on them". This set my well-honed shrimp evaluating sense into warning mode. I am a steamed shrimp purist - cook them in beer and Old Bay without ruining them with funky, unconventional sauces. Tasting the first one made me completely rethink everything I have ever learned in 36 years of shrimp-eating. These were the very best steamed shrimp I have ever had. The sauce was amazing and they were cooked to perfection. The entire shrimp, including the meat in the tail, slid out with just a slight tug of the mouth. They were spicy without being harsh and the sauce has a unique blend of seasonings. I will have dreams about these shrimp!

The combination of good friends, food ,atmosphere and beer made for a very nice first visit to the Fulton. Highly recommended!

[2-28-03] Booked the backroom of the Fulton for a social gathering of an organization.. About 16 people stuffed into the backroom for a feeding frenzy of clams, hot dogs, wings and beer. The service was excellent, the food was great and we drank enough Yuengling Lager that they ran out! Seriously. So, they offered us whatever beer we wanted at the same price and I told her to tap whatever was normally most expensive. We ended up with something Canadian I think.

[3-2006]  Realtor Marilyn Berger of Berger Real Estate lists the Fulton in their March newsletter. "Well-known historic restaurant with plenty of off-street parking. Excellent local reputation and great location. Sale includes all equipment and licenses"  No price listed.

[3-2006]  "The New But Original Fulton Bar & Restaurant. An icon of Lancaster city. Under new ownership. Wide variety and upgraded quality foods, beer, liquor, refreshments and music in a friendly environment. Great food and great drink at great prices!"

[1-2007] "The new but original" Fulton looked unchanged when I stopped in for a lunchtime snack.  Same interior, same menu and same barmaid as the last time I was here almost one year ago.  Not that this is a bad thing as the inside of the Fulton is pretty welcoming. Barmaid Barbara is always quick to greet every customer and seems pretty efficient at her job.  My Lager pint and 25 steamed shrimp totaled $10 - a bargain when you calculate in the sanctuary this bar was on a bitter cold winter's day.

Two guys next to me were jabbering about life and even turned to tell me two bad jokes.  I laughed several times at their comments to each other including, "well, you remember how the cavemen used to just kill whatever they wanted and use the skins" ( in response to PETA and their anti-fur coat campaign ), and " the Romans used to have a whole faggot army - homosexuals who brought their lovers and they were tough - killing every man, woman and child they came up against".  Nooo idea what sparked that comment but I almost spewed beer when I heard it.

One of the neon lights near the bar reads, GENNY, not something you see very often especially this far south in PA.

[10-2008]  The weather on Halloween was fantastic - warm enough for folks to be sitting outside late in the afternoon.  Walking inside the place looks exactly like it did during the last review - 22months ago. Barbara was tending bar.  I was jonesing for steamed shrimp as they are one of the trademarks of this business. Sadly, they were out (huh?).  I ordered and Old Mil and was told they don't sell it. In any form. What kind of dive bar doesn't sell Old Mud?  Oh well.  The jukebox still lacks many songs you would think would be standard here but there is enough to get you through. My chicken Philly was good and the beers we did have were cold.  I saw no signs of the nastiness that rumors pointed to. Not a bad place to stop at.  

HALL'S CAFE
834 North Plum Street  Lancaster, PA  17602

       

 

[11-2007]   The tenth was lancaster505.com night at Halls.  This is the only bar in Lancaster to serve Reading beer.

As with most 505 events, the party machine is slow to get rolling but when it is rolling - LOOK OUT!  :p

There were probably 50+ 505'ers on this Wednesday night - enjoying $2 Readings (keep the glass) with $1 refills. 

Hall's is a cool tavern and it was a happening place for this social.

[2-2008]   I stopped in on a snowy weekday afternoon - finding a few souls hunkered over their beers and a sequel to a classic movie on the TV.  Hall's is small and cozy (for the lack of a more manly word that means the same thing).  I enjoyed my favorite beer - a cold Reading. 

The guy next to me kept eyeballing me and my mind was thinking that all this eyeballing is getting old.  Its happened to me at about 5 of the last 7 bars I have been to.  Before long he comes out and asks me what I can see was on his mind for a beer or two - wondering if I am an undercover cop or PLCB agent.  Man, this is getting OLD. ( see Jack's under the Berks County page ).

I don't have to tell anyone in a bar anything about me I don't want to.  But I also don't like being shunned because of some perception of me based on my good looks or short hair.  He soon left and the bartender poo-poo'd his nonsense away. 

No harm done.  I enjoyed talking with the barkeep about flying and aviation.  Always a topic I enjoy.

[7-2009]   Surprisingly, Hall's was nearly empty when we stopped in on an early Friday night.  My mission was to have a cold Reading Beer and eat supper.  Immediately I noticed that the Reading taphead was gone.  Sure enough, no longer served in spite of it being popular.  Maybe it is not even brewed anymore. What a shame.

The bartender was super nice and quickly got us setup next to the seemingly rarely used shuffleboard table.

Hall's hales their crab cakes as being one of their hallmark foods.  I am a major connoisseur of crab cakes.  My meal consisted of a small garden salad (tasty), a HUGE plate of homemade fries (delicious) and the crabcake on roll.  The cake was large and had obvious visible chunks of crab.  Good sandwich, not great, but good and well worth the money.

 

HELEN'S CORNER BAR  
131 West Main Street    Leola,   PA  17540   717-656-9092

 

[1-2007]   Helen's has always been dimly light and very smoky. Today was no exception. My $1.25 lunchtime Lager was in the company of about 2 dozen male and 3 female patrons.

The fellow next to me struck up a conversation that turned to the military and the war and 9/11.  As we both finished up at the same time he told me he wanted me to meet his wife.  She was sitting with their dog in their car in the back lot. I walked out and said hello and bid them both a great weekend.  Its always nice to meet genuinely friendly people.

 HIDEAWAY BAR
75 East Kleine Lane   Lititz,   PA  17543    717-626-6129
 

      

[1-29-2004] It's been at least five years since I was at the Hideaway. I remember that I had a good time the last time I was there so I am not really sure why it has taken me so long to return. Heather and I met DOAS there and sat on the far right of the bar. A very drunk biker was being loud and opinionated at the other end so our spot turned out to be a wise choice. The barmaid was also named Heather and a very nice surprise to find. Her body matched her nice personality and she was as attentive to us and the 1/2 dozen regulars who she sees all the time.

The jukebox was free and loaded with enough classic rock to keep Heather happy and enough DAC, Hank Jr & Toby Keith to make me happy. The beers were cold and only $1 each. The 5/$1 vodka cherries were completely soaked in booze. If you smoked and put one of these in your mouth you risked bursting into flames! The worst part of the evening was the discovery that they don't serve food "over the winter".

[9-2004]   The Hideaway is one of my favorite bars because it has character and the barmaids give the same attention to infrequent customers as they do their many regulars. The present owner runs a ship that is tight enough to insure a nice atmosphere without being too stodgy.

On a sunny afternoon I went for a ride on my Harley. I stopped to fuel up and rode for about an hour before finding myself in Lititz.. The Hideaway is very dark when you walk down into it. The attractive barmaid ( who had worked there just one week at this time) asked for my order and I requested a Lager. As I reached into my pack to get money, I realized the wallet was missing. Gone. This sucks but it sucks even more when your cold beer is sitting in front of you and you are looking very stupid.

But, two of the customers quickly offered to pay - both saying they had 'been there' and knew how much it sucked. I thanked the guy, drank the beer, and went to find my missing item. When I did find it (lying in a road where I had stopped to take a photograph) I made a beeline back to the Hideaway and returned the dollar to the generous guy (who turned out to be the barmaid's husband).

[9-2010]   The Hideaway hasn't changed much in the 4 or 5 years since I was here. The owner, Oliver, was on duty and standing in the same place he was the last time I was here. I love the nookiness of this place but unfortunately you can still smoke here. 

 

HILLTOP INN
415 East Main Street  Ephrata,  PA  17522   717-733-6331

 


[6-2006]   The Hilltop is a small place.  The bar sits in one corner of the dining room and the only other place to escape to is the deck which is obviously a seasonal idea.

Many locals and regulars fill the bar but it seems more and more  out-of-towners from the new hotel can be found enjoying a cold one or eating a meal.

The Hilltop recently made the news after a "Girls Gone Wild" bus broke down nearby.  Read the whole story here


 

  JACK'S FAMILY TAVERN
15 S Prince Street   Millersville,  PA  17551   717-872-8300
 

 

[8-2005]   One of the best "rules" for writing tavern reviews is to not read other reviews. Someone else's opinions could easily influence your own.

AFTER I checked out Jack's on a very hot summer day, I came across several online reviews and ALL of them echoed the same thoughts I had: good food and terrible service.

My 1:30PM visit found the all-male clientele watching sports on the numerous TVs while drinking what seemed to mainly be national brand beers. My barmaid was a cute young (college student?) female who tapped a Lager and asked if I wanted to start a tab. I replied that a tab would be fine and that I would like to see a menu.  I quickly decided on the steak sandwich (made with genuine sirloin) and closed the menu.

This is where the bad service began.  She never returned to take my order and was actually MIA for more than ten minutes at 2 separate instances. Finally, a 2nd barmaid came over and took the order. The original girl was preoccupied with standing on the far outside of the bar so she could fill sodas from the drink gun.

The 2nd server told me that they do a good restaurant business and that the Parkview Hotel is now the only other tavern that Jack owns.

After it was ordered, my food soon arrived and it looked incredible. Large fantastic-looking pieces of real steak.  My first bite (of a piece that was too big to fit on the bun)  was mainly into gristle but the meat on the sandwich was excellent.

As the original female brought me another beer I told her that this would be all and that I had to soon leave. She acknowledged me and then went back to filling sodas. I sat waiting for the bill (along with at least 2 other guys who had empty beers) for almost 10 minutes. She finally stopped the soda filling ritual and brought me the check.

Service was bad enough that the two guys next to me left NO tip for their drinks. In this case, it seemed appropriate.

Jack's is a dive bar that is filled with odds and ends. $2.50 seemed a tad pricey for a pint of beer in a place like this but the food alone would draw me back.

 

JUKEBOX NIGHTCLUB
1703 New Holland Pike  Lancaster,   PA  17601   717-394-9978

 

KELSEY'S PUB
14 North Broad Street   Lancaster,   PA  17602    717-390-9133
N40 02.435   W076 17.278

     

[2-14-04]  Just around the corner from Kelsey's is a public parking lot. Handy but dangerous when its completely encrusted in about 4" of ice. My walk must have looked like a drunken 90 year man struggling to get to the bar. What kind of people would I find sitting at a bar at 1030AM on Valentines Day?

Three patrons sat watching a Daytona 500 intro show. Two of the three had their own pitchers. The ESPN shows kept being blasted out by the jukebox randomly turning itself on in a desperate bid for dollars. Finally, the fellow to my left got up and dumped some money into it and a non-stop stream of music began. The other pitcher drinker also had me laughing when he loudly hollered out, "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY", for no reason other than good will. Then, after about a 10min segment on a NFL player who may not get resigned in spite of 1000yd seasons, he turned to me and asked if this was baseball. The funniest thing was he seemed stone cold sober!

Kelsey's is a festive bar with a ton of Valentines Day decorations. Many were handmade. No shortage of holiday spirit here. Mug drafts of Lager were only $1. The bartender with the white beard was apparently the owner.

 

KINZERS STATION TAVERN
3572 Lincoln Highway East     Kinzers,   PA     717-442-87899

   

 3: Just west on Rt 30 I saw Santa Claus jogging.  It was about 85degrees and he was wearing white gloves.  His hands were busy waving at the many cars that honked to him

LANCASTER BREWING COMPANY
302 North Plum Street   Lancaster   PA.   17602   717-391-6258
18T  0389272  4433439
www.lancasterbrewing.com

 

               

1: The imposing brick building     2: Barmaid Chris will treat you right     3: The Boar hog      4: Wednesday's special is growler refills for $5 (with Meg)     5. The strawberry wheat lager is a "girls' beer" but it sure tasted good!     6 & 7: Where it all starts  

 

[3-31-2004]  My first visit to the LBC was at 1PM on a drizzly end of March day. A few business people sat eating late lunches and 2 or 3 regulars were finishing their extended noon beers.  The barmaid was off doing something else so it took about 4minutes for her to realize my existence.

Not being a microbrew guy I decided on the $3.75 Litening Lager.  I was pleasantly surprised at its delicious taste.  The last micro brewed beer I had tried to consume was a Fancy Pants at a Reading Phillies game in late season 2003. It cost $5 and was so gross that I literally gagged on one sip. The rest got dumped out. This lager reinstated my faith that a brewpub COULD produce a drinkable beer.

The inside of the LBC is warm and appealing to the eye. The brewing equipment is typically exposed and much of the flavor of the building has been preserved. Their webpage says this about the structure:  " Built in the 1880s, the building  that is now home to the Lancaster Brewing Co. has been utilized in a great variety of ways.  After an addition was added in 1900, the building  served as a tobacco warehouse well into the 1930s.  During World War II, it housed enemy prisoners and after the war was again used as a warehouse where scrap metal and other materials
were stored."  How often do you get the chance to eat and drink in a former POW camp?

My $8 lunch meal consisted of tenderloin tips, peppers and cheese on a toasted roll.  Quite good, especially with a 2nd lager.  Christine continued to scurry around doing other tasks and the bar cleared out.  She was surprisingly literate on the intricacies  of each beer. 

Live Irish music happens on the last Tuesday of each month and several beers are discounted  throughout the week. A small gift showcase holds some nice t-shirts  and souvenirs.  They also have a special - buy a case of beer and get a LBC pint glass.  All pints $3 on Saturdays.  WiFi ready.

My lunch visit was far nicer than I expected.  I plan to return soon to sample  another beer, take some photos and try another choice off the menu.

[September 2004]   The MEGHANATOR and I stopped here for a quick beer and were assisted by barmaid Chris. She offered several samples and we both decided on the girly Strawberry Wheat beer. It was very aromatic and smelled quite strongly of berry.

Wednesdays are growler refill days when customers can get their jugs topped off for $5. The Irish music night is no more. Apparently it didn't "fit in" with the theme of the establishment or its customers.

[1-21-2005]  Having a Friday afternoon 1-4PM class generally sucks. Security practically pushes you off campus as everyone at a community college on a Friday is in a mad rush to leave. There are few benefits.  However, as I crossed town, I remembered that LBC offers a free food buffet starting at 5PM. I knew it was still in effect when I saw masses of people moving towards the entrance - most with a hungry look in their eye and a pep in their step.

In spite of having a single bartender on duty to serve the growing horde (several people eventually assumed the duty) I managed to procure a Lightning Lager in a reasonable amount of time ($3.50).  The food didn't materialize until a few minutes after 5 and I knew it was a pointless mission based on the number of college kids in the crowd. A steadfast rule is that if there are more than 8 young males with ear rings and baseball caps turned backwards, don't bother hitting the food line. They are like sharks.

LBC has atmosphere and even with its staff blatantly catering to its regulars (the top guy in their mug club last year drank 733 pints!) - it still holds my interest. I guess its the whole "this place smells good and it was a POW camp" thing.

The hottest female in the bar, Karen (who emphatically held to her declaration that she is a sheriff and a third grade teacher), was drinking a IPA like a true beer lover (why aren't there more women like her in the world?). She had already given me a heads-up on where the food was going to be placed; therefore saving me from being trampled by the collegiate sect. You just don't find too many women looking like her who love beer!  As if being in her presence wasn't enough,  I got to meet her friend "Martini Girl" Kellie and enjoyed her wit and wisdom. Topping off these two hotties was my nice encounter with three cartographers (at least that's what I was what I assume they were) from MapQuest. Two of these fine ladies were mug club members and one graduated from Frostburg State. A splendid evening indeed!  I hope I run into this woman again.

 

LAZY K LOUNGE
137 Locust Street  Columbia,  PA   17512  717-684-0461

     

 

[6-2007]  I know a guy who lives in Wrightsville.  He despises those who live in Columbia and characterizes them en mass as degenerate drug addicts. Once he even suggested blocked off the bridges so they could not travel west.

I think Columbia has some very cool things including awesome old architecture.  This bar would probably fall into that category because of its ancient retro sign.

The bar was being tended by Kristy - cute, blonde and tanned.  It was obvious that her customers were regulars and that she knew many of the details of their lives both inside and outside the walls of the Lazy K.

The inside of this tavern is large and spacious and I found it odd that it is open only Thursday, Friday and Saturday and some Thursdays the owner closes down at 10PM.  Happy Hour is only Thursday from 7-9PM with $1 drafts.

I ordered 3 dozen clams and waited, and waited and waited.  About 30 minutes later Kristy (or "Krissy" as some of her friends call her) checked on them and was told the first batch was overcooked.  When they finally arrived they definitely WERE overdone - most being a mushy mess. Oh well, I salvaged what I could.   Go to the Lazy K for cheap beer and Kristy - not for the clams.

 

LUCKY DOG CAFE
1942 Columbia Ave   Lancaster, PA 17603

         

 

[11-2007]  "Herby" suggested that I review the Lucky Dog and (seriously!) by dumb luck I found myself on that end of town. This is what he said: "It is locally owned, has a friendly, efficient wait staff, eclectic patronage, and good food cheap."

Years ago I sat here and watched Cal Ripken be honored for playing in his 2632nd consecutive game.  It was a pretty historic moment in baseball  and I remember the excitement in the place as we all watched history being made.

Today I stopped in found all males at the bar - with a 4:3 ballcap ratio.  The inside seems pretty much unchanged since the last time I was there.  I get the impression that the Luck Dog's stability is one of its strong points.  The menu even touts a pulled beef sandwich that has been served, unchanged, for decades.

My $2.25 Lagers were tapped by Michelle - a short-haired blonde wearing a skin tight Dropkick Murphys t-shirt.  A nice combination.

The Lucky Dog has a simple  layout with a dining room above and to the rear.  The food looked good and I heard Michelle say that their turkey club sandwiches use actual carved turkey. Mmmm.  I will definitely return for food.  One thing I liked was the nice, modern dishwasher that was steaming away. No half-washed mugs by a worker with dirty hands.  Cleanliness is next to Godliness!!

 

MARION COURT ROOM
7 Marion Court   Lancaster, PA 17602

 

[May 2009 Marion Court is well known as one of the Lancaster's most prolific meat markets. It's been a longg time since I have been here.  Our stop came on a dreary first day of May.

The location of this tavern is very cool - wedged in a neat part of downtown with views of old architecture and buildings.  The outside area even has one lonely tree growing out of the deck.

Our group numbered about 10 which surely should not have overwhelmed the staff as we were just about the only ones there.  After a slow start the server caught up and stayed on top of our drink needs.

As is typical for many bars today they extorted a 17% gratuity for us being in a group. Places that do this really, really piss me off because a tip should NEVER be anything other than a reward for good service. Do it automatically and you take away a good deal of the incentive for excellent service.  But wait, there is more. SEVERAL of our drafts (served in plastic cups) arrived no where near full. One was barely over 1/2 full. The server asked "would you like me to top it off?". I wanted to reply "Don't bother, I enjoy paying $2.25 for 1/2 a beer".  Jeez.  AND, they refuse to do more than one bill or even allow us to pay separately. This makes a huge mess for the customers when several only have credit cards. Of course you can use their ATM for $2 if you have the ability to tap money. The customer isn't always right here. One bill is common but not allowing people to pay solo really sucks.

I did hear that their sushi is excellent - made fresh there starting at 5PM. Wednesday is an AYCE deal for $19.95.  That could be fun. There are also some good specials such as one night with 1/2 price drafts and well drinks and apps.

This wasn't a bad experience but once again it was a place that has a lot of missed potential.

McCLEARYS PUBLIC HOUSE
  formerly Eckman's Hotel
130 West Front Street   Marietta  PA. 17548    717-426-2225

www.mcclearyspub.com

[1-2008]  I finally got to McCleary's after some time of trying.   The stupid thing is I drove around the block from Shank's - not realizing it was a very short distance down the same street.

I assume that some or all of the lights on the exterior were for Christmas but they sure did make a wonderfully warm and festive first impression.

The inside was busy and people were obviously having a good time.  I was psyched to hear a band by the name of THE SLEEPING WORLD but it was three other guys playing.  The sounded good and one played a mandolin (I wish I played the Mandolin).

We mingled a bit before deciding to sit down and eat.  The waitress was hustling as it appeared she had partial bar responsibilities in addition to taking table orders.

I decided on the $9.99 crab cake sandwich with waffle fries.   It appeared in a timeframe that I considered reasonable for the number of people eating and ordering.  As advertised it was almost all lump meat and was good - not too bland and not too Old Bay-ish.  I think the grill marks on the buns were faked on but that was OK as my mind was locked onto the sandwich.  In fact, my mouth is watering right now as I type this and think about it.

One of the highlights of my visit here was the vast variety of people.  I could hear the couple behind us jabbering - a middle-aged guy and his cougar wife  - and before long a young guy came and sat with them.  My friend speculated that the guy was gay. I have no way of knowing if that was true but I am pretty sure she didn't like her husband much   To the other side was a table full of geeks who couldn't effectively schmooze the two girls that graced their presence.

Did I tell you I had a really good crabcake there?  :-)   

I need to go back and get another one of them.  This was a nice first impression.

 MOLLY'S PUB  
253 East Chestnut Street   Lancaster,   PA   17603   717-396-0225
18T 0389109   4433217
www.mollyspub.com

 

                                

 1: Molly dog on the sign   2:The Lancaster Piper   3:  Jamie S4: Snowy Exterior  5: Kristin with the great... personality!  6/7: Leo, Scott and friends were headed out when they got the idea to do Car Bombs(2004)     8: Manager John setting up Car Bombs       9: St Paddy's 05 - Lancaster Mounted Police show their appreciation for Molly's recent fundraiser for their program    10:  Harvey  11: Rev Nathan Baxter  12: Corey, you rock!  13: Candace & Ed   14: Lyndon in full regalia  18: Johanna & Samuel

 

[3-13-2004]  For many working folks, the Saturday before St Patrick's Day is when they accomplish most of their holiday celebrating. With the holiday falling on a Wednesday this year, it seems that this will be quite true in 2004. The small ad in the weekend section of the Lancaster newspaper promised and Irish breakfast and a piper. Seeing that I love food and bagpipes, I knew the Saturn would be headed south on an empty stomach.

A late start had me arriving at Molly's front door in time to watch the piper walk out. He was followed by the priest who had just delivered the benediction. The Irish eggs, home fries and rye toast sounded good and soon I was eating some good grub. Harps and Guinness'es were being consumed all around me.

Backing the story up a bit, I forgot to tell you that I was warmly greeted at the door. Warmly. Not just the typical BS welcome that you get at most places that even bother to greet you. The noise that my ears heard was the sound of lively conversations and Irish music.

OK, back to the breakfast. two guys were working the bar and it quickly became apparent that they are two of the best tavern personalities in the area. Manager John has been here since the new owners (Harvey, Michael & Marilyn) took over one year ago. Irish-born Bourke Floyd (do a google search) had me laughing out loud several times. I don't want my bartender to be cut from cardboard but I don't want a dog and pony show either. These guys are naturally funny.

A mob from the back of the bar strolled forward to leave and I saw it was Leo and Scott with several women. They were headed out but something easily convinced them to drink a Car Bomb before they left. What a good group when all of them downed the foamy drink with little effort. (see pics above)

Of course I begged for one of the Molly's 1st Anniversary/St Patrick's Day 2004 t-shirts but they were all gone after the birthday party the past Monday. They did hook me up with a Guinness/Harp t-shirt. After telling the tale of www.americantom.com I soon got to meet the owners and Michael told me the interesting story of how they ended up owning a bar in Lancaster instead of LaJolla where they had originally aimed.

By now my Y-Lager was gone and I felt fine so I had to have a Harp before going home. One of the owners announced that he had a stash of the 2004 t-shirts left and before long I was again hooked up. I am a complete sucker for freebies - especially St Patrick's Day shirts.

Waitress Kristin drew her fair share of comments from the bartenders for the way she wore her 2004 shirt. It was worn in a manner that showed that she was thankful for the assets she had been blessed with and in a way that surely made the male patrons happy to have chosen this bar. The cutest thing about this likable lass were her ears. She immediately turned crimson when I said that because she has been self-conscious of them her whole life. They are far from large but stand out from her narrow face. They are the perfect ears for her which might be hard to believe when people have commented on them her whole life. She even said that her stepfather used to call her "Dumbo". What a prick!

The piper and priest will return at 7Am on the 17th. There is no way I am going to miss this again. Molly's Pub is by far the best watering hole I have reviewed since I restarted this project. HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who wants to experience a bar that runs the way a bar should run.

Thoughts: come back for food, come back for the fun, come back to have another Harp. I hope the Irish background music is not just one week per year. Come back when someone is playing the piano that sits in the corner by the bar. Come back to take photos of the sign and exterior - something I NEVER forget to do. I was in such a tizzy at finding this gem that I completely forgot!

[3-17-04 - St. Patrick's Day]  My car slid to a halt in front of Molly's at exactly 7AM - right on time! The snow and slush had been falling all night and Lancaster was blanketed in a beautiful coat of white. Again I was greeted at the door with a smile and a handshake. I guess Saturday really hadn't been a dream!

The building was again full of people enjoying good food and camaraderie. I took a seat at the bar. It was amazing how many folks were drinking Guinness at 0700 when they had to go to work in a few hours. Molly's clientele are definitely beer connoisseurs!!
A very nice blessing was delivered by the Reverend Nathan Baxter ( who was seated next to me & for the record, he was drinking hot tea! ). Rev. Baxter was the pastor who delivered the prayers at the inauguration ceremonies of Presidents Bush, Clinton and Bush. He also presided over the National 9/11 service and has given the morning prayer in the US Senate (several occasions). A really nice man. I hope I see him again.

Molly's is a happy place. Sit at the bar for 15 minutes and you will make a new friend. Where else could I have gone to eat breakfast, listen to a live piper, receive a blessing from a pastor who has blessed three U.S. Presidents, met one of the most gorgeous moms and models I have ever seen, and listened to off-duty staff talking about their employers - with ALL their comments being positive!

[1-2005 - Reviewer: Beertini Girl]-   I've been a frequenter of Molly's Pub for years, but I have not been in since the addition of their upstairs Martini bar Act Two and the new and improved Molly's under new ownership.  Act Two was closed on wednesday night for a private party, so I still have not been in and cannot review that part.  As you look at Molly's Pub in a Historic building at 253 East Chestnut St., Lancaster, you get a warm Irish feel from the beginning.  The all brick building, with quaint window boxes filled with Ivy and heavy green European looking doors is inviting.  As you enter; the large bar is the main focal point, with a rustic Irish feel, including dogs and horses surrounded by beautiful decor and a dimly lit, romantic atmosphere.  We were greeted promptly and friendly with the familiar face of the bartender who has been there since I have been going.  She was on top of things as usual, and our drinks were set in front of us without hesitation.  The place was rather full, and I felt lucky to find two prime seats at the bar, which is where I'm most comfortable. Imagine that.  I ordered the pasta of the day, which was a Mozzarella and spinach ravioli, in a pesto cream sauce with sautťed scallops and shrimp, topped with parmesan cheese.  Heaven.  Every bite made me a bit depressed, because I knew it had to end soon, as my plate was getting more empty by the minute.  It was a portion of perfect quantity, not too much or little and it melted in my mouth.  I have to say, I have had one of the most enjoyable evenings that I have had for a while.  I had a flavored Martini, but my friend had beer.  The beer was fresh, the food amazing, and the service unquestionable.  I would recommend Molly's to anyone and I can't wait to go back.  I think I've found my new regular spot.     

[2-2005]  The February edition of the emailed Molly's Pub-lication announced that Manager John Anthony will be leaving. No reason given and of course nothing stated about where he will be headed.  Solely as a customer, the loss of Bourke and John within one year is significant. I hope Molly's finds replacements with their charisma and sincerity-something that they are a tad short of at the moment.  No word on what is planned for St Patrick's.

[3-17-2005 - St Patrick's Day]   Molly's is consistently Lancaster's best bar.  My 2 hour stay turned into nearly 5 hours. The piper was piping, priests were popping up out of the woodwork, beautiful lasses drank car bombs - you can see just about anything here on the 17th! There were even two guys in the corner sporting "IRA - The Undefeated Army" t-shirts.

Somehow, I forgot to eat but I did meet many new friends: Roger (active duty USAF,  just returned from Iraq) , his buddy and his stunning girlfriend, Ed, Cristen & her hubby, Candace the doggie groomer, Kendra... I even got to chat with the Mayor about the Convention Center. If you come into Molly's and leave without meeting at least one interesting person - its your own fault!

John Anthony will soon be journeying to sunny California. He hasn't lost his knack for running a bar yet - Guinness flowed like melting snow on a 50 degree day and he entertained everyone whose path he crossed.

[6-10-2005] The latest online version of the "Molly's Pub-lication" confirms that the sale of the bar is pending. Harvey & Michael chose from 6 potential buyers and stress that the basic elements of the bar will remain unchanged.

Only time will tell if the new owner will be able to capture any or all of the details that made Molly's a great tavern.

[12-2005]   Under its new ownership, Molly's looks pretty much the same. As expected, it is nicely decorated for Christmas. 

I only recognized two workers 'from before' as we visited for a Jameson tasting event. An Irish jam session was in full swing and the hodgepodge of musicians sounded fantastic.

Kilted people still fit right in here and the patrons were the usual eclectic mix of the middle and upper crusts of Lancaster.

     

1: The Official Leprechaun of 2006    2: She really wasn't drinking, I just made her hold the green beer as a prop   3: Meghan, Rev Nathan Baxter, DW  4: The new logo sign

[3-17-2006 - St Patrick's Day] One of the few constants in life is  change.  When Molly's was sold I was naive to think that it would remain the same or even grow better.  I do not know if St Patrick's Day morning was indicative of how things are under the new ownership or not but they sure have changed.

First, I miss  being greeted at the door.  The first impression many people got of this establishment was of a smiling face welcoming you in.  Didn't happen today. In fact, not many of the staff seemed JOVIAL. Most seemed to just be going through the motions.

This year, nobody was allowed to eat at the bar. Something about it being too crowded or a similar lame excuse.    St Patrick's Day is SUPPOSED to be CHAOS. That's half the fun. This new rule created less insanity at the bar but left a lot of people standing for a long, long time while they waited for a table. Some just gave up and left and that's not good. 

Irish Car Bombs.  This hodge-podge drink is consumed by dropping a shot glass (1/2 Bailey's, 1/2 Jameson) into a Guinness and throwing it back.  Part of the allure is the mess and the clinking of the shot glass as it hits bottom full and then rattles around in the inverted glass while empty. This year these $5 drinks were served.....in a pathetic little plastic cup thing that gave you almost no beer, was absent of the feel and sound and wasn't even accompanied by the traditional ringing of the bell ( an act that happened so often on prior St Pat's mornings that you would have thought it to be hanging outside in a windstorm!) I bitched and was given a free carbomb.  I guess I was not the only one as soon I noticed that they had returned to using pint glasses and glass shot glasses.  Thank you very much.

Music.  What's up with NOT playing Irish muzak when the piper wasn't playing?  That was odd.

One thing I never do is impress my thoughts on anyone else while attempting to judge others' opinions.  I was talking with two chaps who seem to be connoisseurs of pubs and bars. I was astounded to learn that the one guy carries a tape recorder to record his thoughts on the stops on their journeys.  I quickly made offers to both of them to be  field reporters for americantom.com .  Anyway, one of the pair remarked that Molly's drinks, once famous for their reasonable prices and strength, had gone up in price and down in alcohol content.  I have no way of knowing if that is true as I rarely drink mixed drinks but it was an unsolicited comment.

It was great hanging out with Deathwish, DOAS and Hero and seeing old Molly's buddies Ed and Roger and the cool guy who promotes Jameson. I saw previous owners Michael and Harv and recieved a nice compliment of something like, "It wouldn't be the same unless you were here in your kilt".  Rev Baxter gave a great blessing as always and the food that passed by looked and smelled great.  But things were different this year. A good time? Yes. But not the GREAT times that have been the standard in the past.  I would suspect that this is indicative of underlying issues. For now, Molly's Pub retains the coveted red crown symbol of excellence but this will need review and thought in the near future.

[10-2006]   While I was seated at another bar in Lancaster I heard the subject of Molly's come up between two guys. The one started ranting about how good their Irish stew used to be but how the lamb has now changed to some other meat ( I forget what he said ). The 2nd guy chimed in with him comments about some other food staple that had almost been changed into something he found far less desirable.

After the plastic car bomb cup debacle in March, someone else's comments on the weakened drinks and now these - I'm pretty certain that Anthony has made some very foolish choices in how he runs Molly's.

     

[3-17-07 - St. Patrick's Day]   Some people just don't learn.  I was truly hoping that things at Molly's would have improved over last year - my hopes were  dashed. 

Where do I start?  It was nice to see Tom McConnell on the street piping in the day.  We went in (no happy greeter at the door just a less than guy warm guy writing down the names of those wanting to sit for food) and found a bar seat right away.  Maybe I am not the only one that thinks this celebration has gone downhill.

The barmaid.  Cute enough but what is with the ratty jeans?  I would think that would be a NOGO on a normal day here but why not dress for the holiday?  The black shirt and jeans seems almost like she was PROTESTING the wearing o'the green.

Plastic.  Again, glassware was an issue.  My 7:12AM Guinness was served in a plastic ballpark cup.  That is unacceptable. The reason for this and not glass?  "We ran out of pint glasses".  Twelve minutes into the day???  I wasn't about to do a carbomb into a plastic cup and somehow a glass was found.  No bell was rung. Nobody cared even though it was probably the first one of the day.

Priestly blessing.  I  don't think a priest delivered a blessing. In years past there were sometimes TWO priests. 

The Staff.  No zip. No zing. No zest. Just like any other daily grind.  Didn't see a single giveaway being given away.

As we left, I heard two guys complaining about the plastic cups.  The one said "we should eliminate Molly's as our first stop next year".  That is sad as this bar was, and still could be, the single best way to open the holiday in all of Lancaster County.

Because of two years of indiscretions on St Patrick's Day - I am removing the Crown of Excellence  icon from this listing.

Molly's will probably always be an above average bar but it is no longer exceptional.

[2-12-07]  The reason I removed the Crown from Molly's can be summarized by the photo to the right. We are now only one month and a few days from St Patrick's Day and Molly's has ZERO events posted for February or March 2008.

Billed as an Irish pub, and having an extensive history of St Patrick's Day fun, Molly's should most certainly have SOMETHING posted for St Patty's 08. SOMETHING. In fact, it should have ALL its events posted. I am excited that the holiday is approaching. I want to plan my weekend and say.  Act like you want my money. How hard is that?

[3-17-09 - St. Patrick's Day]   Molly's manages to pull off St Patty's AM in spite of itself. The plastic cups for carbombs remain, their website listed NOTHING in the weeks prior to the big day (although they did have a huge ad in the FLY), they do not ring the carbomb bell and the bartender said "im too busy to pour (pour???) a Guinness in more than one time".

This year's festivities included a nice looking t-shirt, some of the people I see every year and a crowd that was generally happy and in the spirit.  The young priest gave a great blessing.

   

2009 St Patrick's Day: 1&4-Some of the partyers  2: Lyndon and Owner Anthony do a carbomb  3: Cute girl, hands full

 

[3-17-2010 - St Patrick's Day] I read my 2006 review of St Patty's at Molly's and it mentioned that this day is one of the few constants in life. 4 years later the statement remains true.  Today's gathering at this tavern lived up to its reputation and was announced as the 21st anniversary gig.

Molly's sets aside all of its issues on the good day and people flood in from all over.  Smiles abound as all sorts of people mesh into one hungry, thirsty mob attired in green.  I did notice folks doing carbombs in what appeared to be GLASS drinking vessels. Thank goodness they ditched those asinine plastic monstrosities of a few years ago.

 

 

    

2010 St Patrick's Day: 1: Leg warmers look awesome with St Pattys green and cowgirl boots   2: Fun in progress  3: Wouldn't be the same without Lyndon

[3-17-2011 - St. Patrick's Day]   Molly's has become the traditional first stop on St Patrick's Day. Note the word TRADITION.  Some traditions continue because of excellence and some solely because of tradition for tradition's sake.  The latter is what has been happening at Molly's for several years.  And I think that others are realizing this as the 2011 attendance was SIGNIFICANTLY lower than in years past.

Thirty or forty people lined up at 6:45AM for entry.  For some reason there was a complete breakdown in the usual triaging of those with the desire to sit down and eat (i.e. having to wait for a table) and those willing to sit at the bar or stand for their drinks.

I really try to emphasize the positives in my reviews so here are the positives: the black Molly's Pub t-shirt is nice looking and the blessing by the priest was well spoken and moving.   End of statement.  Here is what I feel needs fixed:

Last years photos included a shot captioned, "it wouldn't be the same without Lyndon".  He wasn't there and it wasn't the same without him. 

We didn't stay long and if it weren't for the priest's blessing us so early in the holiday day, I would seriously consider skipping Molly's altogether in 2012.

 

1: A happy gentlemen, Irish for the day, on his first Molly's St Pattys at Mollys  2: Morning gathering

 

T&E MOUNTAIN TOP INN
420 Holtzman Rd  Reinholds,.  PA  17569   717-484-2016

 

[6-2005]  I have no excuse for waiting several years to write this review. The Mountain Top is the epitome of a country dive bar. The outside of building is nasty looking enough that a stranger might question if it still in business. But, when you enter either doorway you will find that the inside is pretty nice.

Pinewood walls, shuffleboard and some decent chow are hallmarks of the Mtn Top.  This tavern has some serious regulars and I made almost a dozen visits (on different days and times) before one particular guy wasn't parked in the same seat at the bar.

 

MOUNTVILLE INN
61 East Main Street   Mountville,   PA   17554   717-285-9907

 

[4-2007]  The Mountville Inn was the first bar that I regularly frequented when I moved to Lancaster County.  At the time (mid-90's) it was the home of the stunning Becky. During and after work hours the place was standing room only as everyone clamored to get a sliver of her attention.

Becky is gone and today the bar was being tended by a bearded guy in a cowboy hat. Quite the difference.  The parking lot was full but only about 6 or 7 guys sat at the bar.

My $1.25 Lager draft was cold and very fresh - one of the freshest I have had in some time.

915 CAFE
915 North Plum Street  Lancaster,   PA  17602   717-292-9432

       

 

[1-2005] The 619 is an unassuming bar from the outside. So unassuming that I once excluded it from a pub crawl in favor of several other Plum Street establishments.

The bartender greeted me with a hearty hello - instantly fulfilling one of my "big three" things that make a good bar (greeting, enough interaction to at least notice if the customer dies and a comment when customer leaves).

For 2:30PM on a Monday I was surprised by the crowd. A half-dozen young people drank beer and ate - all of the women being attractive with one being a ringer for TV's Jenna Elfman.

The atmosphere was nice and three flatscreen TVs were mounted above me on one of the long sides of the bar.  A NY Post lay on the bar along with the Hbg Patriot-News (no Lancaster paper in sight).  Oddly enough, the next patron to enter (construction worker type) also carried his own copy of the Post.

An older man entered with his blonde sidekick and gave the barkeep a new Lancaster Brewing Co. insert for the clock.  They were speaking of a contest of some type at a bar where many of the women got undressed to various degrees. Incredibly, the gorgeous blonde, a possible long-lost twin of Anna Kournikova's, said that she didn't enter because she "stood no chance" vs. the regulars who entered the contest. This from a woman who could have worn a snowmobile suit and probably still been competitive. This episode, once again, proves that the best thing about pubs is the inevitable human drama that you will encounter!

Finishing my first $1.75 Lager pint, I took a latrine break and found what absolutely has to be the **best bathroom of any bar in the Red Rose City**.   This one has walls that are COMPLETELY covered with pages of men's magazines like FHM, STUFF or MAXIM.  Gazing at these images while taking a wizz was nice but the many comments written on them were even better - laughter while urinating - a great combination!

The 619's food looked and smelled good but I didn't get to try any. The woman to my right was busy sipping a drink as she did her taxes on the bar. Haven't seen that combination before but it is that time of year.


Nice first impression. Worthy of return visit.

[10-2007] Southwest cheesesteak.  About $5 with chips.  Really good steak, jalapenos, onions, etc. I am not kidding you - my mouth is watering as I write this.  Add a cold Lager and a very nice barmaid with impeccable style and this review of the 915 is as positive as the first.   I can see myself returning sometime soon.  PS: a female cohort reports that the womens room is as thoroughly decorated as the mens room - but plastered with male model-types. 

[2-2008] I just realized the building is a different color. 

 

   

[2-2009] A year since my last review. Time DOES fly by!

A PBR for $1.75 and the $7-ish Southwestern Chicken steak makes for a great lunch.  The SW steak is just about tooooo spicy but it's not - very good.  Mmmm. A classic.  Brigette (my apologies if I am butchering your name) is one of my favorite barmaids - she has a subtle sexyness that works - especially in her hottie girl cargo pants!

The 915 is reliable - you can rely on it to have decent food, cold beer, good service and atmosphere.

I can skip the kids who were eating in the dining room.  Bringing a kid to a bar is asking for a dysfunctional kid down the road   A female member of our group said their bathroom does NOT have pinups - contradicting an old report that theirs rivals ours. Watch for Brigette to be a future Page 1 Girl.

 

O'HALLORAN'S IRISH PUB & EATERY
764 High Street   Lancaster, PA  17603   717-393-3051
 

   

 

[1-13-2003] After driving in circles for awhile, Andrea B and I found this bar. The sidewalk has green shamrocks painted all along it so my first impression was that they are at least making an effort to look Irish. A very diverse mix of ranging from people who probably have some Irish blood to inner city types who you would expect would beat the jukebox with a baseball bat for playing Alan Jackson.

Their ham and bean soup was pretty good and a decent portion.  Redneck music on the jukebox. We had just come from the funeral of an infant and been hassled by the State Police so our moods were not good. Will return soon and write more about this pub.

[8-04-2004]  Over 20 people (all men with the exception of a single female) were in this bar at 10AM on a weekday.  Some seemed to be lingering third shifters while a few others appeared to just be people who needed a brew at 10AM.  Nonetheless, the pool table was crowded and men ate both breakfasts and regular far food.

The jukebox was playing music as good as the first time I stopped here. The barmaid (also the manager and a 12yr employee) was obviously in control and demonstrated this by her immediate crushing of a guy's request to give his friend a free shot because it was his birthday.  If any of them were LCB - they would have no problems realizing that she toed the line on the laws and rules.

I noticed a bigger biker orientation this time.  The giant chalkboard advertised their bike show on October 10th, two Harley jackets were hanging behind the bar  - being raffled for Make-A-Wish, and several 1%'ers sat by the door.  One constant though was a fair diversity of people.  I didn't see anyone in a suit and tie but they probably would have been safe and welcome just like the rest of the mix of white, brown and black.

A handwritten sign behind the bar reminded everyone that all employee's bags must be "checked" by the barmaid before they can leave and everyone must exit via the bar door and nowhere else.  I ordered a hamburger and thought the $3.95 was a bit steep but it was fresh meat on a unique roll/bun so I wasn't as shocked once it was in my stomach.

"Luck'ee To Be Irish" shirts were for sale. No price shown but they look nice and are probably green when you get them outside in the light.

[9-2004]  At 11AM people get hungry and people get thirsty so luckily there is an O'Halloran's.  The $3.50 lunch special of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, soup, chips and a piece of garlic bread was tasty and the pint beers were cold and fresh. I guess it's hard to have stale beer in a place that serves a lot of beer.

The highlight of our visit was watching a scroungy guy in a Harley shirt crash to the floor on his way to the bathroom. His girlfriend was holding his arm but not paying attention and a second later he was on his knees and nearly did a faceplant. As he was hoisted to his feet he declared, "I'm a little buzzed".

The nice green shirts weren't available because the lady who was bartending was only filling in and said she didn't have access to the office.

[3-2005]  Friday afternoons are always packed here. The crowd is a mix of working men finishing their weeks (or starting their weekends?), a few women and a couple of people who look like they are homeless.  But, this mix seems to work and I have never seen any real problems here.  I finally found the men's room (right by the door in the dark corner). The food consistently looks and smells good.

The 2005 St Patrick's Day t-shirts are for sale ($12.00) . This year they are grey with a 2 sided imprint. The back features a celtic symbol and the name of the holiday and date in big wording.

People here aren't afraid to speak their minds and the guy next to me was staring intently at the CNN coverage of the Michael Jackson child molestation trial. I almost spewed Lager out my nose when he blurted out, "I would hate to be Bubbles the Monkey around that guy".

PARKVIEW HOTEL
Route 501/N Broad St  Lititz,   PA.

          

 

[2-2004]  The Parkview Hotel is a redneck haven in a town of upscale people, yuppies and Volvo-drivers. This old time bar is always so smoky you usually have to hack your way to the bar with a machete.

The Parkview is one of the few bars that still have stamped tin walls and ceilings. The rooms that the hotel used to rent to weary travelers are now rentals to regulars ( all male ). Take a look through the window at the old fashioned lobby. Apparently its an all male pool of tenants because their is only one bathroom upstairs. Doesn't sound like pleasant place to be on a Sunday morning after half the tenants were up all night partying?

Don't come here hungry because food is hard to come by. The "menu" is a half sheet of paper. You can select from Chef-Boyardee for $2, a hot dog for $1 or pudding for 75c. Thats it!

The owner of this bar is "Jack" who owns Jack's in Millersville.

 

PARIS  PUB
329 East Front Street   Marietta,   PA   17547   717-426-2225

   

[1-2008] I am not a big fan of the French.  Yes, I am thankful for what they did for us during the American Revolution, the Statue of Liberty is cool and I am fascinated by the Foreign Legion but other than that France ranks pretty low on my list of places to visit.

I have long wondered why someone would name a bar on front street in Marietta the "Paris Pub". 

Pulled up to the location and parked out front.  The barmaid was friendly and carded both of us - "Honey, If I don't know you I am carding you - awhile ago I carded a guy born in the 50s and made his day".   It doesn't count as a reflection of my youthful good looks if that is her 100% policy but it was fun just the same.  Who knows, that may be the last time in my life I get carded.

The Friday special was the "homemade meal" from 5-9PM.  I would have sampled that fare but we had plans to eat elsewhere.  The beer was cold and fresh and I was amused by a big guy at the bar singing along with many of the country songs playing on the jukebox.

The most interesting thing were the three billiards playing girls in the back.  Two very pretty lasses and one that perfectly fit the moniker of 'dyke'.  They sucked at pool and I admit I was puzzled as to what their relationship was but they stuck to themselves and the pretty ones didn't seem to take advantage of the free beers they almost surely could have procured from some male in the tavern.

Departed and only then did I realize I forgot to ask why it was named what it was.  I guess I will return another day with that tasker.

PENGUIN HOTEL & BAR
55 East Church Street  Stevens (Mt Airy),  PA  17578   717-733-8142
N40 14.321   W076 13.707

     

 

[12-24-2003] The last time I was here I sat at the end of the bar and the owner, Barbara Simpson, came over and asked me my name and where I was from. To my right was a friendly guy with a big mustache. Eight months later I enter and sit down and she asks me the same questions. A few minutes later the mustachioed guy comes in. Deja vu!

Penguin statues and lights are everywhere in this bar. The mustached guy said that it was named the Penguinn (no explanation for two n's) in 1980. Several people said that Barbara makes some great food which is probably true. "Abe" ordered a bowl of chicken dumpling soup which looked and smelled delicious and was served in a big bowl.

Hours seem to be at the owner's whims. She runs the bar as a labor of love and not for the income it produces. Another interesting character was "Rick" who gives lottery tickets to all of his friends and relatives as Christmas presents. He said that he purchases $1500 in tickets each year for this purpose.

The male bathroom is in a black & white checker theme and is very clean. Even had had an ashtray on the countertop. One of the cleanest bathrooms I have ever seen in a bar.

Barbara vowed that she was about to close ( it WAS Christmas Eve!) but people kept coming in and she wasn't running anyone off. Definitely a gathering spot for regulars but every time I have been here I have felt welcomed.

This is one of my favorite places and I look forward to adding photos of the inside of this tavern.

[4-2007 - Reviewer: A&W]  The Penguinn Hotel is a true, small town bar. A quiet place to sit and enjoy a cold brew. The first thing you have to do is find it! Itís postal address is Stevens but itís located in the small town of Mt. Airy in Clay Township. The only thing that distinguishes it from the other buildings in the ďtownĒ is the large penguin silhouette on the front. Upon entering youíll find an L-shaped bar  (made of copper and wood) a small TV and shuffle board game, no juke box. The former dining area accommodates a pool table. The bathrooms, actually the entire place, is kept very clean.

 

What makes this place unique is the owner, Barbara. She has a strong accent, stories of life in her home country and a lot of wisdom to share. She greets everyone and will start a conversation. She likes to know about people. If you are in no mood for conversation you can quietly sit there with your suds and be mesmerized by the seemingly endless collection of penguin and/or snow related knick-knacks throughout the bar.

 

[5-2007]   Reportedly the Penguin is for sale for more than $600,000.

[1-2008]   I remember sitting at the bar one time and listening to Barbara saying that when the health inspector arrives you will almost always end up being cited for something. She said that the standards are often written for huge businesses and that a small bar, that is clean and hygienic, that uses cooking and serving methods no different than what you would use at home, will often get made to look like its unclean.

The Sunday January 6th Lancaster Sunday News had 14 restaurant inspections posted.  Of those, only one was marked NO VIOLATIONS - The Penguin.  That's awesome.

[10-2011] Its probably been a year or two since I stopped in here.  My sunny afternoon visit found me being the only customer.  Barbara was in the same seat as the last time I was there and asked me the same questions.  As she chain-smoked we had a great conversation about life. Sadly, following an injury, she doesn't keep the restaurant anymore. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and before too long several other people came in. This pub is a treasure - the rare place that has the owner behind the bar and so much history it would take you a month to scratch the surface.  Clean bathrooms, tapheads that no longer tap (all beer served in containers) and a true down-home feel. I vow to frequent this place more often and wonder what will happen when Barbara truly does deem herself too old to continue to run it.  Well worth the time to trod out to Mt Airy.

THE PUB
503 East Main Street    New Holland,    PA  17557   717-354-2331

 

[3-2008]   This is one of the reviews that mysteriously vanished a few years ago. Where it went, nobody knows.

I was about 75 feet away and the smell of the kitchen was almost overwhelming - in a good way.  A delicious, frying steak way.  Powerful enough that my mouth was watering uncontrollably.

Both the bar and restaurant were packed and I grabbed the last open seat at the counter.  Barmaid Rachel must have just finished talking to the two guys to my left as they were debating whether she was a dumb or smart blonde.  That question remains unanswered but what has been answered is that Rachel is a hottie.  Lean of frame with a tanned, well-rounded bosom. A stunning combination.

I like the large glass windows that surround much of the dining room and the fish tank above the drinks.  Most fish tanks in bars are of questionable cleanliness but this one was full of crystal clear water and the fish seemed quite happy.

I do not know how much the mixed drinks were but they were made STRONG and if I were a mixed drink drinker I would be sitting at this bar. I will be coming back here to eat too.

[12-2008]   Today I was hungry for chicken fingers so I journeyed north to The Pub.  Again, the outdoor aroma was filling the air as I entered the foyer.  The bar was being tended by another utter beauty, Michelle, as she served the handful of folks that were hanging on to the end of the lunch hour.  The chicken strips were good as was the honey mustard dipping sauce. 

Today's alternative to Yuengling Lager (just can not stand the headaches it has been giving me) was Coors Original.  Always good and its amusing to see the label change colors.

PUB DUNEGAL (formerly THE TILTED KILT)
112 East Main Street   Mt Joy,  PA  17552   717-653-2180
www.myspace.com/tiltedkilt

   

[6-2007]  The Tilted Kilt has apparently had numerous names over the years before arriving at it's present incarnation. This small pub didn't have any kilted folks until our crew arrived.

$1 Lager drafts brought a smile to my face almost as much as the really good (apparently hand prepared) chicken strips.  Our group had several meals including subs and bangers and mash.  Not too many places in Lancaster County where you can find that.

Our visit was really pleasant - meeting some new friends, good food, the Guinness Girl giving away prizes and tasty fresh, cheap Yuengling.

[3-2010]  While reading about a promising new local band, The Kilmaine Saints, I noticed that the Tilted Kilt is now named Pub Dunegal.  No ideal why the name change happened but I would bet money it happened under pressure from the national chain of the same name.  Looking forward to going here again to investigate the demise of the old name and to inquire about the atypical spelling of Donegal in the new.

 

 

Q'S DUKE ON LIBERTY BAR & GRILL
1002 North Duke Street  Lancaster,  PA   17601    717-299-7200
 

 

 

[6-2006] Q's is always full of interesting people and seems to truly be a place where people of all colors sit and have a beer together. The barmaids are usually quite good looking with the leader of the pack being the stunning Becky (who had a loyal following when she bartended at the Mountville Inn).

I have watched some very good karaoke here, seen patch-wearing motorcycle club members downing ales next to businessmen in shirts and ties and enjoyed some good food here. Today's visit found Becky looking as good as always: tanned, capri's and heels. My lunch was a delicious "spicy cream of crab soup" and $1.50 Yuengling Lagers. When my soup was done my attentive barmaid was right there to remove the bowl as she peeled and offered me a toothpick. THAT is good service!

By far, the most interesting thing I saw today was an older Amish man - hat on his head and long white beard - polishing off 4 or 5 glasses of wine. Apparently he has a chiropractic appointment nearby and then stops in.  One of the customers said he often leaves feeling no pain. At least you know he won't be driving drunk! :-)

[5-26-2007]  A fire has swept through Q's.  The Lancaster New Era reports: 

BERNARD HARRIS and AD CRABLE

Fire extensively damaged the Q's Duke on Liberty restaurant and bar and spread to second-floor apartments this morning.

"It's devastating," bar owner Linda Quenzer said after the 9:29 a.m. fire had been extinguished.

Quenzer said fire officials told her damage to the bar and restaurant was extensive.

Quenzer, who has owned the eatery with her husband, David, since 1996, said no one was in the first-floor establishment when the fire started at the rear of the building.

A staff of four was due to arrive at 10 a.m. for an 11 a.m. opening. She said the fire started in the kitchen area and spread through the bar area and upstairs to second-floor apartments.

There are seven apartments on the second and third floors of the building, which is Manheim Township, just north of the city line.

"I'm just glad nobody got hurt," Quenzer said. "That's the most important thing."


She said she did not know the cause of the fire.

Duke and Liberty streets were blocked off for several hours.

Firefighters broke out windows, and smoke could be seen coming from the bar and apartment. Blackened items were dragged onto a second floor-balcony at the apartment. No flames were visible.

The building also houses a self-service laundry on the first floor.

Firefighters responded from the city, East Petersburg, Neffsville, Southern Manheim Township, Eden and Lancaster Township.

There were no injuries.

The bar and restaurant has had a number of owners over the years. Prior to 1996 it was called Duke on Liberty, and had earlier been known as Friar Tuck's and the Broad Axe.

[6-2007]  The windows are boarded up and the declares CLOSED but the repair crews are hard at work.  Hopefully this pub will soon reopen.

[10-2007]  Drove by Q's and the place is OPEN!  Neon is glowing in the windows and I could see people at the bar.  Let's get back in there!

[7-2011]   Q's is now open at 7AM with their full menu available. You really can't beat cold beer (served in frosted mugs), friendly staff and crabcakes at 7AM! :p

[2-2009]  Yikes, FOURTEEN MONTHS since the redo and I am just stopping to see the new digs? I am fading in my old age!  The new barroom is slightly different and a good bit brighter and cleaner looking.  The foyer out the back door is gone. The bathroom is still down some very steep stairs - a drunk test if I ever saw one.

RAWHIDE SALOON & EATERY
108 N Reading Rd #6   Cloister Shopping Center   Ephrata,   PA 17522   717-738-2496
N40 11.247     W076 11.166

     

[10-2004]  The Rawhide has never really appealed to me as a tavern because of its location in a strip mall and the proximity of the dinner eaters to your back when you sit down to drink a beer. I believe that restaurants that also have bars should have some sort of solid division between the two areas. 

But, I am always willing to give a place another try so I stopped in one early October evening. There were numerous people eating and a load of staff members seemed to practically be falling over each other.  I had to sit near the video poker machine and under one of the many round bright interrogation lamps that dangle directly over the bar.

Being nearly blinded by the overheads, having a male bartender who had to leave to make a salad for a man who seemed to be a regular drunk, hearing the chomping of their meal by a couple behind me and getting the sense that both the patrons and staff couldn't care less if I lived or died at the bar were all factors that helped me decide that the Rawhide is a bar that I will continue to pass over.

[3-2008]   Nope. I am still am no fan of the Rawhide.  Nothing has changed.  The same bottle of Landshark Lager that I recently paid $3 and $3.25 for (at far nicer places) was $3.75.  The same stupid western pictures hang on the wall (looking as if they were won at the pop-a-balloon stand at the Ephrata Fair) and the same crowded atmosphere.

My visit was on karaoke night.  Way too loud karaoke night.  I don't mind karaoke but its best done with Joe Schmo as the singer - not the horde of 'professional' karaoke singers who were in attendance on this night.  One guy even brought his own album of karaoke CDs.   The biggest dork of all was the DJ - who, instead of letting the lulls occur with bumper music, would launch into American Idol-wannabe renditions of crooning songs. In fact, the snippits of music he played BETWEEN the karaoke singers actually had people grooving and moving and I would bet that MANY people would have been up dancing if he had just DJ'd instead of being solely karaoke. 

The best of the batch was a blind guy named Roy.  I want to learn his story because he seemed very nice - sitting at his table with a pint glass of milk while wearing a FREE HUGS tshirt.  This guy could really sing - all from memory of course.  I mean sing WELL.  A pleasure to listen to.  

The waitress was slow to refill my beer and even failed to return at all with a round of beers we decided to have after paying the main food and beer tab.  How can you simply forget about three beers you took an order for?  We waited 10+ minutes and then just left.

Ephrata is a town with few choices in taverns.  Even so, I won't choose the Rawhide again anytime soon.

 

REFLECTIONS
1390 Oregon Rd  Leola, PA 17540    717-656-3717

       

[3-2008 -  Reviewer: A&W] - Months ago on a Friday night my friend and I decided to go somewhere new, somewhere outside our normal travel of bars and we landed at Reflections. It has become our favorite spot for many reasons. Reflections has a friendly, hometown atmosphere. I believe Iím showing my age, because one thing I like is no loud jukebox. They do have entertainment on weekends but you can still have a conversation with the person next to you.

The beer is always tall and cold. If youíre into martinis, they make the best around. The food is very good, from a full meal down to the homemade potato chips. They are adding new items to the menu and two weeks ago had a free sampling of some of the items. One of the best tables is by the covered well.

I like to frequent places that are locally owned and operated. Reflectionís owners are very much involved in the day-to-day operations and know their customers. You can usually find Lisa behind the bar during the day.

In my opinion the best part of this establishment is the service. One of my pet-peeves in this world is crap customer service. I work for my money and donít part easily with it so on a Friday night when I want a cold beer I want it with a smile. I donít want to listen to a whiny bartender. Reflections provides quality, friendly service.

The only ďbadĒ part is the fact that the bridge along Oregon Road (Rt. 772) is closed (March-October). You can still easily get to the restaurant from Creek Road off Rt. 272 (close to Oregon Dairy).

So if this review sounds like an ad for Reflections itís because it is. When I find a friendly, clean, good quality place I like to let others know. So join me for a drink on Friday night!

REINHOLDS TAVERN
11 West Main Street  Reinholds,PA 17567    717-336-0104
 

       

[1-07-2002] Having a cold one at the Reinholds is a sure way to observe someone interesting. The current owner has pretty much left the downstairs alone but has opened a restaurant upstairs in an area that formerly was a strip bar. The backyard has a deck with a beach volleyball court where turtle races were recently held. The barmaids universally smoke and are tattooed and/or pierced and are usually friendly. The food is good although the chili has yet to be heated the entire way through. The bar also has an old carved wooden counter and stamped copper ceiling and walls. The food orders go up and down in a small dumbwaiter. The elevator part is a wooden box on a rope and something metallic is banged on the pipe to signal the floor above or below. The train tracks run right by the bar with a small station being across the street.

[12-04-2002] Stopped in on the eve of the first real snow of Winter 02-03. Pretty full for a Wednesday. Several people playing pool including a short blonde with dangerous curves and a huge chest. I never saw so much interest in billiards as I did when that girl had her turn to shoot. $1.25 Lager drafts.

[6-2005]  A 2PM Friday beer sounded good and my auto drove itself down the hill to the Reinholds.  One other customer occupied the bar as I ordered my Lager.   Barmaid Robin was a new face to me. She is the "Monday afternoon girl" who was filling in today.  Tanned and fit with a bubbly personality - she is a great server.

Glenda, the owner, came through the bar with two older ladies and two old photos of the establishment. One lady said the backroom used to be a separate barber shop and ticket office for the train.

[5-31-2007]  The 2nd stop on my Blue Moon ride. The barmaid was actively engaged in phoning in the beer order. That of course is a very important task and one that I am willing to wait

This bar is one of the ones where I can most envision myself as a late 1800s beer drinker.  Not much has changed in the taproom. Picked up the June07 FLY magazine and enjoyed my cold Lagers. 

[8-2007]  Pool League.  Many people. All male except for one lonely female. Loud. Good times being had. New Fly Magazine.  My $1.75 Lager draft was cold and well priced. The barmaid was friendly and doing her job well. But I only had time for one beer. So, out to my bike and prep for departure.  Stop. Think, "It's been a long time since I was out back for a beer".  So, I walk up the few stairs to the utterly stupidly named, "Petticoat Junction".

I sit at the outside bar, surprised at how the open 'deck' has now become so elaborate with plants and fancy things and oddly, a childrens play area.  There are two women to my left going over some sort of business notes.  No barmaid.  One finally gets up and taps my Lager and states, "Three dollars please".  THREE DOLLARS??  For the same Lager I just had downstairs (and that one was in a glass mug vs this plastic cup)????  Ouch. 

Too late to protest as a sip of it was already down the hatch.  I see a pool of 'water' on the bar and bump into it as I try to read my Fly.  Another, "WTF?" as my arm becomes adhered to the bar.  It was not water on the bar but globs of pine sap that had run out of the tree and onto the bar. No warning sign or anything - just a sticky, crappy mess that is not all over my arm.

I finish my $3 beer and walk out.  I do not see myself drinking in 'Petticoat Junction' anytime soon.  I should have known better and stayed down in the dive bar where I belong.

Who in their right mind would trust their contraception to a rubber from this machine!??!?!

[2-2010]  This tavern has always appealed to me because of its age and proximity to the railroad tracks.  There used to be some photos on here of the bar a LONG time ago.  I will have to look around and see where they disappeared to.

Anyway, with a lot of remaining snow on the ground and more on the way, I stopped here for lunch. I was floored when I saw a sign on the door proclaiming this business to now be SMOKE FREE.  Smoke free at the Reinholds Tavern. Awesome.

There are some interesting new changes here including free spaghetti 6-8PM Wednesdays and great drinks specials.  Thankfully, some of the best old fashioned highlights remain (tin ceiling, food coming and going in a rickety wooden 'elevator' thing and the nasty old condom machine in the bathroom.

My food was good and the bar patrons were interactive. The whole meal was made so much more pleasant by the fact that I could arrive home and nobody knew I was in a taproom - the power of clean air.  I need to come back here more often.

 

QUIPS PUB
547 New Holland Ave   Lancaster PA   17602
www.quipspub.com

[7-2009]  It's been nearly a year since I was in Quip's.  This visit was celebrating a special occasion and just happened to be on their monthly "St Practice Day" - the 17th of each month dedicated to getting ready for St Patrick's Day.

Three pipers from Ceol Neamh Pipe Band were kilted and did two or three sessions.  I love pipes and their screaming notes in this small pub were pure and strong.  Amazingly, several people were griping and bitching about pipe music, the volume, that more than one song was too many, etc, etc.

Here is a tip - if you do not like bagpipers - GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.  Jeez.

After starting on cheap beer elsewhere I made the executive decision to not change to a good beer.  I felt like a dope having a Coors Light when many good beers were just a few feet away.

Bagpipers Rock!

(HISTORIC) REVERE TAVERN
3063 Lincoln Highway    Paradise, PA  17562   717-687-8601
www.reveretavern.com

RITZ ON MAIN
138 East Main Street   New Holland, PA 17557

[8-2007]  The Ritz has risen from its own ashes and reopened. Same name, same location and a "new family-friendly atmosphere".  More info TBA.  See the logs for the old Ritz on Main.

[3-2008]   The outside of the Ritz looks pretty much the same as it did during incarnation #1.  It is better signed though and more appealing.

Walking in, the interior looks the same except for a new cigar lounge immediately inside the front door.

I sat at the bar and watched the barmaid and two servers BSing behind the bar.  I eventually got a beer as  Dr Seuss played on the theater screen.  I would be interested in watching the movie but who wants to bring your kiddies to a bar to watch cartoons. A bar is full of bar people.  And bar people's conversations and kids do not usually mix well.

The food looked good but it seemed like one order was spread out over a pretty long time.  Put some fire under that cook's butt.  Warm and fresh are two different things.

I finished my beer and departed without comment from the barmaid.  Good service is hard to find and it wasn't found here tonite.

 

 

RIVER STREET CAFE
38-40 East Front Street  Marietta  PA  17547
www.myspace.com/riverstreetcafe

 

ROCK HILL TAVERN
1684 Long Lane    Millersville, PA  17547   717-872-7505
www.rockhilltavern.com

[12-2007]  A reader writes: "You've gotta try the Rockhill tavern just outside of Millersville. If you can try to go tuesday- friday 11am - 7pm Samantha works there and she is barnone the best bartender in Lancaster. she makes everyone feel welcomed and actualy cares about who you are not to mention the glass is never empty unless the coaster goes on top. try the roast beef sandwich"

Makes me wanna rush over there.  Actually, I think I will - thanks for the tip!

ROSEVILLE TAVERN
1860 Oregon Pike    Lancaster, PA  17601
 

[April 2009]  Weird. That is how I can best describe my first visit here.  I do not even really know where to start.  I have always been amazed at places that open or close a deck according to a strict imaginary date. My visit was on one of several really hot days and surely their large outside area could support business.  Whatever.

The crowd here is odd.  The back restaurant was full of elderly people - some barely able to walk - arriving for a meal.  The bar area was a mix of mostly younger people including the funniest female I have ever seen in a tavern. This young woman looked like she was straight out of the 1950s in her appearance. She had a pint glass of beer and after SEVEN drinks the level of the fluid only went down about 1/2".  Nursing a beer doesn't even begin to describe that.

I ordered a chicken steak sandwich.  Surprisingly, it arrived with a ketchupy-like sauce dumped on top of dry chicken and - the kicker - chopped raw onions.  I am a big fan of raw onions but on any sort of Philly - they are fried. Odd.

I am actually so bewildered I will have to go back and rethink this place.

 

7 DEADLY
335 North Queen Street   Lancaster  PA   717-653-2180
www.

     

[3-17-2011 St Patrick's Day]  I don't know where to start here so I guess I will start at the beginning.  St Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays. I read that this new pub was to be open on SPD and I wanted to support it.

The ad promised a leprechaun doing a jig starting at 10AM. We arrived and were greeted warmly by the staff. Never having been to Gusto (the previous name) I can not say how much has changed but the business is setup well and I really like the layout.

One of the girls in our group said the previous entity is know as a place to get into fights and that she will never go there at night.

7 Deadly opens officially on April 1st and will feature sandwiches named after each of the 7 deadly sins for $7 each. A co-owner was behind the bar and could not have been nicer. I asked him about the reputation of Gusto as a troubled place and his reply was that the new business is starting from scratch and putting the past behind it. Everyone deserves a 2nd chance so that was good enough for me.

The work of local artists adorns the walls and he mentioned that 7D will have live music 7 nights a week.  A dwarf showed up and changed into his leprechaun outfit just as we started munching on our corned beef and cabbage sandwiches. Seven dollars.

Due to a miscommunication (as we piled from the bar to escape the overzealous meter maid) we left without paying for our food. The next day I returned to pay and found the WGAL TV crew in the closed bar filming a spot to promote their upcoming grand opening.  I paid the same guy I had hung out with just a day before but this time his demeanor was a complete opposite.  I don't seek acknowledgement for only doing what is right (paying for what I ate) but surely this sort of action is rare in the tavern business. I didn't even get a thank you.  Only when I got home did I realize what may have been contributing to his stress.

It seems the former bar's reputation is hard to kick and at 4:00AM a huge fight broke out. People were hurt including a police officer.  The news quickly announced that the PLCB is investigating it as a possible nuisance bar and that it will now be closed indefinitely. Wow. Thats a major change from the optimism of 3/17.

http://www.wgal.com/news/27237319/detail.html

In summary, I like this bar. The people were nice. The food was good. It has a feel that would make live music really rock. I hope things change and the plan of opening the new establishment will happen. Only time will tell.

[Summer 2011]  In spite of our great time on St Pattys Day, things didnt go well for this bar and the government shut them down for good - almost before they were officially open. Expect this to move to RIP soon

SHAMROCK CAFE
12 West Walnut St   Lancaster  PA  17603   717-299-2927

 

[3-2008]  While making our pre-St Pattys rounds at a downtown pub we announced that our next stop was to be the Shamrock.  Someone commented, "That dive!?!?!".  Admittedly, its been MANY years since I was here and I remembered almost nothing about the Shamrock. So, this trip was essentially my first visit.

I have long-liked the vertical sign with the name and shamrock in bright green neon. Entering the Shamrock we encountered a doorman who sadly, didn't ask to see my ID.  No problem - when I was 21 I was ugly anyway.  :p

The rock band that was playing in the back was actually quite good - better than I would have expected.  People of almost every color and occupation filled the bar - something we need more.  I have always said that all of us need to put the tag AMERICAN first not some ethnic tag.  The Shamrock is filled with patriotic things like US Flags (including at least one that is tri-folded and in a wooden case), pictures of John Wayne & Johnny Cash, decal and military references.  Maybe one reason that people seem to get along in here is because they can be Lancastrians and Americans first.

I like the Shamrock.  Sometime soon I want to take a photo of the neon sign at night.  It's a beacon to this neighborhood dive bar - lighting the way for the thirsty to arrive and socialize and relax.

[10-2010]   The Shamrock opens at 7AM - one of the few city taverns to do so.  I wonder if this start time is a throw-back to the days of bustling manufacturing plants cranking out American goods three shifts a day?  Or maybe its just a convenience to Lancaster's drunks.

I really do like the layout and decor of this place but about 99% of the patrons still smoke. And they smoke cheap, stinkweed cigarettes.  The Shamrock is NOT the stop for anyone who can't survive a few beers in the toxic environment of cigarette smoke.

My $2.50 domestic bottle was cold and fresh. Behind the bar was a big'ol pot of soup - steaming hot and ready for a pre-8AM hunger.

This barroom is a classic and I hope it survives forever.  I also hope they go smoke free (although that seems wayyy unlikely!)

 

 SHANK'S TAVERN
"Lancaster County's Oldest Continuously Operated Tavern"
35 South Waterford Ave (at Front Street)      Marietta, PA   17551
   www.shankstavern.com

     

[11-2006] I like Shank's. The slightly off the beaten path is right along the river and its neat to hear the trains roll by or noise from people on the river.

'Ghosthunters' love Marietta and there are several locations where they do their looking. Shank's is rumored to be haunted although the owner says he has never heard, felt or seen anything and he is the one who is ALWAYS there.

Shank's is comfortable. Good beer, calm environment and good food. I once sat and watched a group of Wyeth workers on their lunch break - sucking down sodas and beers as the group slowly broke up and headed back to their offices.  One male and one female lingered and their alcohol-fueled canoodling increased.

Before long she made eye-contact and asked me if I was wondering what was going on. Almost before I could answer (what was going on was obvious!) she explained that she was a part of a M-F-M couple and this guy was her lover. The story was more interesting than just that but it loses something in translation. :p

Shank's also has epic parties for the end of summer and other events. You can subscribe to their newsletter at the website. They also do something I have never seen done anywhere else - listing their bartenders schedule on the web calendar.

 

[1-2008]  Our evening consisted of stops at 4 watering holes.  All 4 were nice but Shank's took the cake for atmosphere and friendliness.

The barmaid greeted us with a smile, patrons said hello, the owner walked past with a cheerful "Hello Kids!" greeting and the best part of all was Jimmy taking us downstairs to see the ancient and interesting cellar. 

Being a tavern since 1814 makes a lot of memories, legends and tales.  Shank's has preserved many of them in photographs displayed on the walls.

The tile in main bar area is original even though the bar now extends perpendicular to its original configuration. 

One of the most interesting things about Shank's is that they are only open Monday through Friday.  Their website advertises: "Want to own Shank's for a night?  We're still renting the bar Saturday nights for the ridiculously low price of $125!". And they serve sushi on Fridays!

Because Shank's Tavern is a great sum of all its interesting parts, I am awarding it the CROWN OF EXCELLENCE.

 

SHOOTERS CROSSING BAR & GRILLE
88 Diller Avenue    New Holland,   PA. 17557  717-342-9631
N40 05.866   W076 05.867

 

[6-2005]  I have been down this road before and do not think I have ever seen this bar.  I pulled into the parking lot and was taking the photo of the building when a female customer came out and looked right at me.  She looked like she wanted to kill me and take my camera.  It's OK lady, I am not some BATF or PLCB spy!

The tacos and other food specials start at 4PM which left me S Out Of Luck at 230PM.  Pint drafts of Lager are $2.25 and mine wasn't very cold. This was probably because the keg had come off the distributor's truck only an hour before.

The barmaid was tall, tanned, tattooed and attractive.  I asked her if they ever have bands and she replied that "we used to" but that it wasn't worth all the fights and drama that they caused.

Shooters unique interior is long and rectangular but the one end of the bar is slightly raised so the customers seated there seem almost like beer-drinking kings on their thrones.

The numerous posters on the wall for biker events indicate this is a biker-friendly establishment.

[2-2006]  Shooters Crossing was the 2nd tavern on a brief lunch stop today. After the grumpiness of Maggie's I was happy to be warmly greeted by the barmaid here. She smiled more and was more friendly in my 15 minute stay than my previous server could probably manage in a month of shifts.

[3-2008]  The inside of the bar is under construction with over 1/2 of it under plastic.  The barmaids were changing shifts with the outgoing girl walking away in an all-black number that included pigtails, boots and a load of leg.  Cute.  The ongoing lass would normally have been ripped to shreds by me for wearing sweats and commenting "I got up late and am still wearing the same clothes".

But, this one, named Voula, is different. The owner's daughter who according to one patron "fills in and usually isn't wearing this much clothes"  was my 2nd lean barmaid in New Holland and the 2nd who spent some money to acquire bigger boobs.

One of the guys at the bar was eating steamed shrimp. I have had their shrimp a few times and they have always been good.

Besides the interesting mug club (one time fee of $20 then $1.50 drafts vs $2.50 and your beers do not go up during special events) I was surprised to see coasters for Jimmy Buffett's "Landshark Lager" - coming soon.  This is the brew I first sampled last year at the Buffett show in Camden. Surely the New Holland price will be <the Nj price of $5/bottle.

With the old-timer's comments on Voula I doubt it will take me 2 years until my next visit.  Well, her and my steamed shrimp craving.

 

SMITH'S HOTEL
1030 Lancaster Ave   Columbia,   PA. 17512   717-684-3385

   

 

[1-2006] Smith's is local legend (since 1974) and famous for their "Smith's Steaks".  These bargain-priced sandwiches come with steak, sauce and onions.  Don't like onions? You will pay extra for one WITHOUT them.

The steak is cooked in a kitchen with a separate take-out entrance. The large mounds of meat do not last long as people are constantly stopping in to order steaks. The large is well over one foot long!

This is a nice bar with a dining room that also has an outside deck.  Your sandwich will usually come very quickly as the steak rarely isn't on the grill. 

[8-2006]  As expected, my medium steak was excellent. These sandwiches are hands down the best food value in Lancaster County.

 

STOUDT'S BREWING COMPANY
Rt 272  Adamstown,   PA. 17501   717-484-4386
www.stoudtsbeer.com

     

   

3: Hops growing up the tanks  4: Stoudtburg Village   5/6: Carol & Ed Stoudt - Halloween 2005

[9-2004]  It took me ten years to make it inside the pub at Stoudt's. I  had been to the antique stores and even the dance hall as a Christkindelmarkt was winding down, but never into the bar.

My first visit occurred in September and didn't last long. I met  'Corrupted' for a beer before a run. There was nobody else at the bar in running clothes but we didn't draw the ugly stares as I expected. The barmaid, Emily, was busy serving drinks but seemed to have tunnel vision towards the patrons who were regulars. She disappeared twice to do other tasks which seemed odd when there were a bunch of staffers standing around doing nothing who probably could have helped her. I tried the Gold Lager which was quite nice ($3.50).  The atmosphere is great at Stoudt's with enough things to look at to keep your eyes busy for your entire stay.

[10-2004] My memory of the taste of the Gold Lager was strong enough to draw me back to the pub to watch the 8th and 9th innings of the  ALCS game 4 between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The bar was full and boisterous as the BoSox fought their way back from a 3 game lead by the Yanks. Most of the drinkers seemed to be off-duty employees and Ed, Carol & Laura Stoudt were there as well.

This time Emily didn't make me sit too long to get a beer although she did serve a regular before me even though he finished his drink after I had been seated.  The owners were an interesting pair to observe. I remember seeing them on a public access TV show once. They were talking about their business and their plans to build "Stoudtburg Village" - a small town-like cluster of buildings that would be apartments upstairs and the tenants' businesses below.  I recall little about what they said but do remember that she looked attractive and he seemed like some sort of mad scientist.

STUBBY'S BAR & GRILLE
254 East Frederick St   Lancaster, PA   17602

[10-2007] Stubby's works in a lot of ways. It's a haven right in the city.  The inside is neat and orderly and the bar is filled with all sorts of folks.

Several people have said that they recently changed food vendors and that the quality has gone downhill ("Stubby's wings used to be the best in Lancaster County but now are only OK").   I know that my clams were mediocre at best but the service was good and the beer cold.

TANTRA (formerly TAILS BAR)
701 East Walnut St   Lancaster,  PA   17602   717-295-1755
http://www.myspace.com/tantralounge

          

1: The Tantra exterior   3:  A copy of the restaurant inspection report that shut Tails  down

 

<2-7-2005>  Recently I was at a bar in Lancaster and heard a buzz about Tails. The guy speaking was wondering how Tails was affording their giveaways (a 52" TV and a $5000 boob job).  There was much talk about how this place had 1/2 naked women and how different it was, etc, etc.

So, my expectations were high as I entered the doors of "who needs Hooters when you can have Tails".  The building is in an area that is less than the best in the city - make sure you look where you park because of all the broken glass on the streets.

Tails is a long, rectangular building with pretty standard bar decorations: signs, TVs, beer lights.  The barmaid was most certainly attractive but her attire of jeans and a t-shirt did not seem all that different from any other bar. The big screen TV was showing a sappy Drew Barrymore/Adam Sandler movie as she sat at the bar eating what I presumed was her lunch. She came over and took my order of a Lager and crab soup. They were out of the crab soup and "might be" out of my 2nd choice of chicken strips. They did manage to find the chicken (which turned out to be pretty good both taste and quantity wise) and the beers were cold and fresh.

I don't expect a barmaid to delve into my psyche to discover what makes me tick but I do expect common courtesy and at least a fabricated interest in whether I, as a customer, live or die while sitting at their establishment.  As soon as my food was plopped down, she was back to her seat on the outside of the bar where she fiddled with her ring and talked with a guy I guess was her fiance. I bet she was a terrific worker before she was given that darned ring - those things ALWAYS ruin a barmaid - especially if her future hubby is a guy she met while working. And come to think of it, if you are going to promote yourself as a place with hot women and wild contests (the 52" TV giveaway and the contest for the $5000 boob job) - then your waitstaff should make an effort to interact with paying customers.

At one point the phone rang and she actually turned the big screen sound nearly off.  I think the other guy was the cook so I was the only real patron but hey, I was listening to Ms Barrymore as well as watching her.  I contemplated having a third beer but didn't want to bother her chat with her boyfriend and her lunch. So, I got up, gathered my cash and departed. She said something along the lines of "have a nice day" and I was gone.

Maybe the days and nights at Tails are 180 degree different in energy but based on visit #1 - I was unimpressed.

[2-2005]  Anybody can have a bad day. So I decided to give Tails a 2nd chance.  Another weekday afternoon. This time, there were numerous males surrounding the bar and many were having lunch.  Surprisingly, my 2nd visit to Tails was even worse than my first.  A male was tending bar and he did not seem to have much bartending experience. The man next to me asked him "where is she?" and the reply was, "she had something to do". He came back with, "she didn't even take her tip". I did not get the impression that her departure was a result of an emergency. Maybe she broke a nail or something.  I had one Lager and left. I may return at night sometime but have no desire or plans to ever come back during the day.

[4-2006]  The restaurant inspection section of Sunday April 16th's SUNDAY NEWS listed TAILS as being shut down by the health department.

[9-2006]  "You won't believe your eyes...!"  Tails has reopened as TANTRA - Contemporary Lounge. "New York sophistication and South Beach Style" [info from the Sept06 FLY magazine]  I'm not sure how a fancy bar (with a dress code) will fit in the neighborhood that this building resides. Only time will tell but it has to be better than Tails.

[4-2007]  Lancaster505 brought their road show to Tantra this evening with the promise of a free Red Stripe for each of the first 48 through the door.  Pete reports that some of the 505'ers apparently showed their Pennsylvania Dutch sides by coming in, saying hello, drinking their one free beer and taking off.   I think I personally made up for these folks because I essentially stayed until my wallet was empty.

 This was my first visit to Tantra and I approached it with an open mind.  I pushed back my pre-existing thoughts of its former entity, location and the numerous images of metrosexual/transsexual/confusedsexual  velvet-shirt wearing males from their myspace ( sorry, my guy friends tend to be able to change their own flat tires, know which end of the firearm the round comes out of and absolutely not going to own even 10% of the bodycare products of even the sloppiest women)  as well as my doubts about any place in Lancaster, PA that tries to mimic New York City.

Arriving early, the bar was fairly empty.  We were greeted by the smiling face of Red Stripe promo girl Megan.  Even though I was told that Red Stripe tastes like "goat piss" I was not about to pass up free beer.  The Red Stripe not only did NOT taste like piss and was actually pretty good. 

The bar was being tended by Ambre - a breathtaking vision of tanned American womanhood ( jeez I hope she is American - I remember crying when I first found that Pam Anderson was CANADIAN) who is quite possibly the best looking barmaid in Lancaster County.  Surprisingly, she also smiled, said hello and was efficient at getting drinks and food.  I was floored. It's my professional estimate that of all the female bartenders with her incredible looks - only about 5% have any sort of nice personality. Most just slide on their face, tans and bodies because bars will always be full of drooling guys who tip enough just on appearance.

We talked briefly about Tails and how bad the barmaids were under that business.  She said that of all the females who worked at Tails  - she was the only one still employed there.

 

1: The Red Stripe Girl    2: Crazy cool barmaid

The people that were eating were eating food that looked and smelled good.  The menu was clad in a metal jacket - kind of cool.  My steak tip wrap was tasty although I kept being distracted by the party to our right - wolfing down the AYCE Alaskan King Crab leg special.

Ambre was hustling as the 505'ers increased in numbers and the bar filled. The background music was good but a strange mix of genres and eras.  Apparently the sofas and private areas furniture gets pushed aside when people want to dance in this tiny tavern.

My Wednesday early evening visit probably wasn't typical of what things are like late on a weekend.  The folks that were here on this night were average pub goers - not too many guys who wear clothes more expensive than what I make in a week.  My impression of Tantra was a good one - better than I expected.  The unique, trendy interior, good food, cold beer,  incredible barmaid and an overall atmosphere that promotes fun and mingling - all combined to make my first visit a positive one.

 

TIKI BARN AT BARNEE's ( at the Olde Lincoln House ) 
1398 West Main Street, Ephrata (Lincoln), PA. 17522  717-733-3490

 

[6-2005]  Barnee's is a cool bar that has one of the best visual appeals of any pub in the area. There is often a nice breeze going and the summery junk hanging from most of the interior is a good distraction to the noise from 322. The problem is, that most times Barnee's ends up feeling like something is missing.

Free peanuts can be dished out of the specially painted garbage can. The barn itself is a good refuge if it rains hard enough to drive people from their umbrelled outside tables.

My visit on this Friday evening found the outdoor bar full of mainly construction workers. I went "inside" (just a matter of walking through the open garage door on the barn) and was told by a chubby gum-chomping waitress that someone would "be right with you". One barmaid worked both bars (the only real thing separately the two is the wall of the barn) and she soon appeared to tap me a $2.25 Lager (served in a plastic cup with a price that I thought to be way too high for a Friday night Happy Hour).

The chubby waitress proceeded to park herself at the end of the bar (to my left) and chomp gum and it felt like she was staring at my beer. The peanut barrel was almost empty - seemingly poor planning for a Friday night. There was absolutely no music playing. I have heard some good small bands play here. When nobody is playing, how much effort it would have taken to stop by Walmart and buy a $7 Beach Boys/Buffett/summer music CD???

[8-2005]  Good bar reviews are easy. People like to read them.  They make the people that work there happy.  Less than good reviews can easily sound whiny if they aren't carefully explained.  This was another Friday late afternoon visit.  

A set of grandparents and their grand daughters were eating outside and a couple of people sat at the bar. A few people sat at the bar.

The barmaid actually greeted me with a smile and tapped my $2.25 Lager into a plastic cup.  This has always been the point where things go awry and this visit was no different.  FM97 was playing on the radio as the barmaid ran around being far busier than her 2 or 3 customers seemingly would demand. Credit card purchases must have had to be taken inside because several times she had to go inside the restaurant with paperwork.

Barnees has lots of atmosphere but I just do not find it to be a fun place.  The beers are pretty expensive for what you get (12oz and not even a mug) and the barmaids will NEVER enter into even the most minor of conversations. I would think that an attractive, interested female employee would generate great business and great tips.

I will no doubt return to Barnees - still looking for fun while momentarily distracted by the neat ambiance and free peanuts.

[6-2006]  It was time for a weekday evening motorcycle ride. Scooted over to Barnees. Sat in my usual spot just inside the barn and ordered a Lager. Same price as last year - $2.25 for a 12oz cup.

The barmaid was a college-aged female, cute enough in shorts and flip flops but sporting some wacked t-shirt advertising a chiropractic clinic. Why would she wear that to work?  Guys coming in from work and being reminded of their car accident and on the job injuries and subsequent rehab. 

Before long she was gabbing on her cell phone. Even when there are no co-workers around these employees find ways to ignore their customers.

[4-2007]  Remodeling is underway. The barn will have a new name.

[5-2007]  I always try to approach bars without any previous opinions or prejudices.  Again, this was my approach to the new layout of "The Tiki Bar at Barnee's".  I maneuvered around the parking lot full of Volvos, Mercedes and Corvettes to anxiously discover what intriguing changes had been made to this bar.

To my surprise, it looked like nothing had changed other than some cheesy dried grass has been thrown up and a few plastic starfish had been hammered to the wall. Yes, there were new windows and doors ( I often wondered why the local kids didn't just stick their arms in the decrepit old windows and grab bottles of booze) but the decorations and atmosphere were nothing new.  The peanut can was in the same spot, the bar was same and the $2.25 drafts still arrived in a pitifully small PLASTIC CUPS.

Maybe the staff had changed. I sat down and the male bartender brought my beer without vim or vigor. Another Barnee's zombie. There was a very all-American looking strawberry blonde who seemed to smile and interact with her customers but she was waiting tables.  The guy next to me had two dinky tacos delivered to him so I inquired about their cost.  He didn't know but asked the lifeless bartender who said "One fifty" - not $1.50 for the two but $1.50 EACH.  The guy looked at him to which he sort of rudely replied "don't say a word".

Screw you and your overpriced tacos.   While this was going on one female staffer was standing in the corner - appearing as exhausted as if she had just finished a 12 hour shift in an underground coal mine. This was only surpassed by a male who jumped on the business phone to work some sort of mojo on the caller who I assumed was his significant other.

Unbelievable.  Why oh why can't they get this place straightened out?  Reasonable prices and personable people would a great start.  I left to grab a 75c Yuengling Lager at the American Legion - oh yeah, that one comes in a glass mug!

 

T.J.  ROCKWELL'S
800 Mt Gretna Rd     Elizabethtown,  PA  17022   717-367-5544
www.tjrockwells.com

 

 

[6-2006] It's been years since I was at Rockwell's and a lot has changed. I was surprised by the number of people who were working here. A lot of staff.

The beer I ordered from the inside bar was  expensive but cold & fresh and was served by an attractive young barmaid.

[9-2007] Summer is beginning to wind down but thankfully the deck doesn't fold up at Labor Day.  Our small posse grabbed some shade and soon I had a Lager in hand.  Again I am amazed at how many people work here. My shrimp fajita was good although my eyes were on my friend's chicken version.

Rockwell's seems to have excelled in developing a large base of loyal regulars and well as tapping the nearby college market.

Decks are good. Cold beer is good.  Cold beer on a deck is very good.

   

2: The lovely and sassy Heather  3: Didn't try one but I someday I will

UNION BARREL WORKS
6 North Reamstown Rd    Reamstown, PA   17567   717-335-SUDS
http://www.unionbarrelworks.com

 

       

[6-2006]  Holy cow! A brew pub is being born, a brew pub is being born! Can you tell I am excited?  I have always liked this old building ( originally Lesher's Department Store and later a sewing factory) and am happy to see it being given a new shot at life.

Rumor is that this project has been trying to get started for years. Resistance from several sources kept it from happening.

Little is known about the bigger picture but I did hear the owner is planning to offer some great lunch specials.  Parking will be in the lot behind the building and in the extra space behind the apartments.

One of the construction guys was on break and I spoke to him about this project.  The tentative grand opening is Autumn06 but the owner, Tom Rupp, wants to start brewing over the summer and get some product out on the streets.

Apparently Rupp was involved with the Stoudt's when they began that legacy and he has a significant background in starting brewpubs - including Reading's Canal Street and Pretzel City.

Plans are for the first floor to house the brewery, bar and restaurant (with some of the tanks in the front window) with future expansion including billiards and a cigar bar on the 2nd floor and apartments on the third.

Exciting happenings in the small town of Reamstown!

         

1,2: The tanks are in with one or more spares   3,4: This ornate backbar used to be in the Showboat tavern in Reading. It was rescued just before the entire property was razed.  5: Chef David Rupp busy with the construction

 

[9-2006] Today was an awesome day. Three of us were out walking and stopped to (once again) press our faces against the front glass to peer inside at the progress that is obvious in the UBW. Out of nowhere, a man pops out (the first of several Willy Wonka-ish occurrences today) and waves us in.

Turns out, it's Tom Rupp, the legendary and stealthy owner.

We not only get to look around, but we get the guided tour and a boatload of fascinating trivia.  We even got to meet his wife ( I don't think Mr Wonka had a wife ).

Where do I start? First, the layout inside is awesome. ALL of it has been constructed from what was essentially one large open space. The original tin ceiling has been repainted in the same color scheme that adorns the facade out front.

The bar is fancy and beautiful and was formerly inside the Showboat in Reading. Two carved faces may be a king and queen but either way - they surely have seen a lot of things looking down from their perch. Most of the tanks came from the former Pretzel City brewery.

Mr Rupp is an enthusiastic guy - his energy for this place is obvious and some of his ideas are incredible.  When asked about the future food selections he made it very clear that steaks and Australian lobster tail AND hamburgers and pub food will both be available. His 27 year old son ( a professional chef ) will supervise all things culinary.

The UBW has a brewpub license which will allow them to serve their beer and Pennsylvania wines but no liquor. That may scare some people away but I suspect the quality of these beers (focusing on lagers) will convince even the most critical bar-goers.

Bureaucracy is a terrible thing in many cases and he has faced his share of it. One and a half months were wasted over the way the range hood is attached and the inspector made him attach some unsightly modern beams to the weathered, old and sturdy original weight bearing timbers in the basement.  If I am ever in the position to affect small business I will do everything I can to make it easier on those who show initiative.

So much of this building is unique even by the quality workmanship standards of 1911. The basement (a future rathskeller) has large blocks of granite and brownstone. The stone that sits against the sidewalk out front is granite. The original wood floors will soon be refinished and surely will look amazing.

Quality is inherent in this building and in the Rupps attitude toward this business. He even said that nobody will be seated in the dining room unless they will be waited on within one minute. 

The excitement continues!

     

11/06: The exterior is coming along

[1-9-2007]  Word on the street is that brewing has begun.

[3-6-2007]  Today's  Lancaster New Era featured a nice article on the imminent opening of the UBW.  A few weeks later I ran into Mr Rupp at the post office.  I asked him what was up.  He said the township made him revise his fire sprinkler plan even though they had approved the plan 8 months ago.  He said they are hoping to call the staff in next week.  I asked if he had beer and he laughed and said "that's all I have".  He also told me to stop in anytime his truck was there and try some.

   

[3-27-2007]  The sign is now hanging - an all wood, hand-carved creation.  Stopped in after Mr Rupp's invitation last week. The interior looks awesome. There are several old oak barrels in the barroom. They are too small to be used as dining tables but will make a nice spot for a snack and a pint. 

Tavern memorabilia is everywhere - much of it Reading and Sunshine items from the owner's personal collection.

Several other people were inside and Tom said "I can't sell you a beer but I can give you one".  I tried the "Wobbly Bob" double bock.  I was surprised at how good it was considering my narrow range of beer likes.  I will definitely be buying pints of these in the future.

Before leaving I purchases a printed pint glass and a very nice embroidered hat (with a bottle opener embedded in the bill).  The opening day is targeted for next week.  Sweet!!  :p

C reports that the UBW finally launched - opening their doors around 5PM.  He said, "I was there last night and tried the 6-beer sampler. Cold & delicious. I'll be trying the food tonight" 

     

1: $3.00 Sampler (Kolsch, Lager,Pale Ale, Mai-Bock, Wobbly Bob Dopplebock, Round Boy Stout)  2: The high tech security system - no...just another relic to be displayed above on the wall  3: Employee Stevie claims to have caught the fish on display - and brought in a photo to prove it   4: Jessica on her first visit

[3-2007] Until the new sign has its lights installed the UBW yields little clue that it is actually open. Some inside light creeps out through the front door and around the tanks in the windows but that is the only external sign.

The real indicator of what's inside comes when you pull open the door and the happy noises and aromas come gushing out. 

I am a big fan of a greeter and always loved that when Molly's Pub was in its heyday. A welcomer would have been a nice touch - at least through the first few weeks when the UBW is still new to everyone.

It was around 10PM on Day #2 when I made this visit.   The last dining room customers were finishing up and the bar was standing room only.  Everyone seemed to be having a good time.  We soon got seats and ordered the $3 beer sampler.  All of the selections were good with the Lager being my favorite and the Wobbly Bob being second.  The Mai-Bock had an obvious honey taste and was almost too sweet for my taste but I can see how some people will absolutely love it.  The Round Boy Stout was on the opposite end of the spectrum - being nutty and smelling like coffee.  Definitely not my thing but it will appeal to some.

Unfortunately, the kitchen had closed so we didn't get to try the hand cut french fries.  The bar had no "Plan B" so we couldn't even buy a bagged snack.  It's always nice to be able to eat something while enjoying a cold beer.

Everyone working behind the bar was male and all the wait staff appeared to be female.  Jessica, our super cute "neighbor" at the bar, jokingly informed Mr Rupp that he was practicing discrimination by not having barmaids.  His reply was that "no women applied".  It did not take long before Jessica had an app in hand and I just learned that she is starting to work there on Saturday night ( day three ).

The owner hung out with us for awhile and, as is his norm, related a bunch of funny stories.  Two of the  best were  about the animals on display - the fish and the jackalope.  Apparently the fish was caught by someone in the Rupp family but his employee, "Stevie", swears and declares that HE caught it - even going so far as to bring in a photo (see above) to prove it.   He also claims to have shot the jackalope in a nearby field (with the rifle that is also seen in the photo). It was only wounded and dashed off into a fire - a feeble effort at explaining the apparently singed ears.

I continue to be amazed at the degree of friction created by East Cocalico Township.  Lew Bryson's blog about the UBW has a comment from a guy who works here. He says this township is infamous for creating issues for small businesses.  Apparently the zoning allows for a TOTAL size of signage and the UBW doesn't have enough left to create a decent-sized sign to face Rt 272.  Zoning obviously has a place in public safety and order. But, any regulations that consistently hinder the American way of free enterprise (in this case the free advertisement of a new business to the steady customer stream of 272) - should be eliminated.

We almost made it to last call but decided to pack up and enjoy the warm buzz of our first visit.  Grabbing a $15 UBW t-shirt capped a nice evening. I will return in the near future!

[1-2008] I want the UBW to work.  The Rupps are nice people and judging by how often one or both of their cars are on site - its obvious they have poured themselves into this venture.  The business is an asset to the community.

But, I go here and I don't 'feel the love' that I would expect from an intimate, hometown pub like this.  Especially as it is the only public watering hole in town.  If I were asked to comment on what I would change about the UBW this is what I would say:

There is nothing really wrong with the UBW.  Its just that it could be soo much more.

An old wooden beer barrel suspended over the parking lot

 

VALENTINO'S CAFE
132 Rider Ave    Lancaster,  PA. 17603  717-392-9564
 

     

 

VINOLA's RESTAURANT & BAR
193 East Main Street    Leola, PA  17540

[12-2008] Weekday. Lunchtime. No reservations. Group of a 6 or so.  That obviously equates to possibly having to wait.  No problem.  The handwritten soggy sign on the front door asked that everyone go around back to the "main entrance".   A woodstove greets people as they enter and soon after the hostess says hello and welcomes us.

For the sake of brevity and anonymity I will emit where we sat or other details but let's say the fact that we were squirreled away MAY have been an accident.  Or maybe not. Our high-heeled hostess was nice enough and our waitress arrived in good spirits as well.

She vanished after our appetizer order and was replaced by a long blonde-haired stoner looking guy.  He was definitely missing a few brain cells and some of the people in my party commented that he must be related to the owner.

The atmosphere here is very nice.  The wine list is reasonable and something to be explored.

My calamari was barely warm when it arrived and below par for a place of this seeming caliber.  However, my $4.95 garden salad was fresh and delicious and displayed well.  This business deserves re-exploration.

 

WATERING TROUGH RESTAURANT & LOUNGE

905 West Main Street   Mount Joy,   PA   17552   717-653-6181

     

 

[8-2006]   "The Place For Everyone" - that is a good slogan! The Mount Joy WWI Memorial stands out front. Two Colt machine guns, sundials, plaques to the fallen and a few cannon balls. And a watering trough full of koi. Pretty neat.

I do not know if the entire town was once named FLORIN or if it was just this section - but the memorial actually lists the dead as being from Florin.

I only had time for one beer but my initial impression was good. Barmaid Jennifer looked stunning in a simple shirt and jeans and I suspect she was the reason the bar was fully inhabited by working class males - not the small $1.50  beers.

 

WHITE SWAN RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
1264 East Newport Rd  Lititz (Rothsville),    PA   17573   717-626-4700

 

[3-2007] White Swan. When I think of this tavern I do not really think of anything significantly positive or negative.  It is there. Sitting in the crotch of two roads.  It is old.  The bar is always attended by a male when I go in. 

Once the bartender was carving a jack-o-lantern. I found this interesting. He was in a good mood while he hacked away at it.

I just heard that the White Swan might be facing a Sheriff's Sale.  I hope that does not happen.

[4-2007] The White Swan goes up for Sheriff's Sale on the 25th.  Allegedly the probably new owners already own the liquor license and will remodel and rename the business "Moxie's".

[12-2007]  Still closed.  The building looks lonely and sad when you drive me.  Much of the exterior front seem to have been removed.  I heard that it was gutted to the studs inside so hopefully the redo is till underway.

[1-2008]  A tipster writes:      The following is an article about the White Swan in Rothsville. It didn't hyperlink so you can copy/paste to view it. The owners, Gene and John, are in the midst of a massive renovation/reconstruction project. Due to the age of the building and the lack of maintenance over the past several years it has been a dominos effect. They removed the damaged flooring to discover the main beams underneath were damaged. They removed the ceiling to find the floor above was so rotten it's unclear how the bathtub on the second floor never fell onto the bar below. They removed one porch post to make the front "even" and soon learned that was the post holding the porch upright.

[9-2009]  Sadly, a for sale sign has appeared at the White Swan and the place looks very shabby.  It's going to take a solid dose of miracle to get this gem up and running.

[7-2010]  I am glad that I didn't remove the White Swan from the active listings.  A tipster reports: "there is new life at the White Swan. Rumor is it was purchased by the owners of Bottom Line construction and they are working on it as I type. It is now white again and the HVAC has been installed. I will keep you updated as I get more info".

[9-2010]   What a waste.  Invest a zillion dollars in redoing this classic old tavern and miss the very basics.  Pulling into the back (main) lot I found a bunch of construction vans and asked one of the workers if they were actually open. He said yes so I approached the back door. There is no warm, welcoming appearance nor is there an OPEN sign. You would think that after YEARS of being closed there would be some exciting signage but nope - not out back and only a dopey changeable letter sign out front.

The staff all dresses the same and I walked by SEVERAL without a greeting or smile. The interior is well-lit and looks great and the bar top has an interesting appearance as it seems to be layers of broken bottle glass in urethane with a few labels. 

The barmaid was vaguely warm but certainly didn't offer a hearty, "Welcome to the new White Swan! Have you been here since we reopened? We are happy to have you!" Nope. That would be too much to ask.

There were numerous people in the two dining rooms and the number of staff indicated they were expecting more.   Having work to do, I pulled out my phone and immediately saw the wireless network "White Swan".  I asked the barmaid if there was customer access. She did not know and said she would go ask the manager. She disappeared and returned to go back to her busy work - never answering my question.  I asked politely if she had found out anything. She said she didn't think it was availble.

Before long a bossy blonde woman came near and I asked her if she was the owner.  She said no but, appearing to be some sort of manager, I asked if there was wireless available.  It was obvious that she was the person the barmaid had gone to as she made a snippy reply that it wasn't.  I said that was a shame as this is 2010 and many new service businesses have it.  She nearly barked at me, "Give us a breaaak, we have only been open nine days!".

At this, I sucked down the rest of my beer and made a beeline to write this review.  I say to her, "Give ME a break and treat your customers with respect - both the blue collar types at the bar (although I suspect there will be a LOT less now than during the Swan's previous life) and the hoity-toity people dining"

I may someday return here but it isn't going to be anytime soon. I work too hard for my money to dump it into the pockets of folks like this. Usually new businesses are on their BEST behavior at first. If that is the case here imagine how things will be in six months.

[9-2010 - Reviewer: REEL KNOTTY]   With much anticipation I took my daughter to the newly renovated White Swan for her birthday. Being merely blocks away from my home I have been watching this place both deteriorate and become reborn before my eyes. I have been chomping at the bit for weeks waiting for them to open. We decided to hit it a little early to avoid the crowd even though it was a Monday the place was packed for the first full week. We pulled in and took the last available parking space in the main lot. As we walked in the back door I was please to see the changes that were 3 years plus in the making. Now things get a bit shakyÖ As we stood next to the vacant hostess table for about 5 minutes the bartender finally asked if we were waiting for a table (nope just counting the boards in the floor). After topping everyoneís beer off at the bar she came around and apologized as they were understaffed. At this point I knew I was in for a long evening when all I wanted was a burger and a beer but we choose to stick it out.

My initial opinion greatly improved when my order of wings hit the table. I canít tell you the last time I had wings this good. Crispy with dry seasoning so I didnít need to take a shower when I was done eating. We selected the medium since my 10 year old wanted some but they had fair heat. I canít wait to try the hots. With my first beer almost empty the waitress promptly hooked me up with a full one. My opinion was heading south again when I was almost done with my second beer and my burger still wasnít here. But as she put the plate in front of me I was yet again on the upswing. The burger was a huge hand made chunk of meat not the pressed frozen grey matter we find way too often. To top this off they have fresh hand cut fries. Even the kidís meals were pretty tasty and not cheap garbage food to shut the kids up. My son got the chicken fingers which were a high quality cut of breaded chicken not the over processed mush nuggets I have seen before. My daughter got the kids cheeseburger which again was hand made.

As we finished our meals the manager and one of the investors were making their rounds again apologizing for the delays and staffing issues. This made me feel like they understand they have a problem and want to make it right. So in closing my first experience at the new White Swan was a roller coaster of disappointment and excitement and it ended more positive than negative. I will be stopping in again over the next week or so with the hopes the problems of being new are behind them. Cheers!

[10-2010 - Reviewer: A&W]   

A rainy night and a cold/sinus infection that is migrating to my chest has got me at home at my kitchen island, dinner on the stove, gingerbread in the oven and a cold beer in my hand.
 
After driving by the empty tavern for over three years I was excited to see it return to the original white exterior and the friendly sign outside stating it would open Sept. 20. I give people a first chance but after that you're on your own. From owning a business in my previous life I know starting out is hard and you can not please everyone no matter how much you try. That being said... I was at the Swan on opening night and it was very busy and the service was less than anticipated. I swore I would not return until they work out issues. New bar, complete new staff, they need to learn to work together as a well oiled machine.
 
Friday friends wanted to see the "new Swan" so we met them there. No tables, no service, low tip. I believe with time they will age like fine wine and become a place of choice but they aren't going to practice on me

 

WRIGHTSVILLE INN
601 South Front Street  Wrightsville,  PA 

 

 

ZIA MARIA
2350 North Reading Rd (Rt 272)   Denver, PA   17517     717-336-1333
www.ziamaria.com

 

[7-2005] The Zia Maria restaurant is fairly upscale for Adamstown, PA. The bar is tiny and many of the guys sucking suds here seem out of place with the rest of the establishment. The food is good but not cheap. I have never understood the Zia and its appeal. The barmaids are attractive but almost without fail you will end up hearing them discussing personal or work business in front of the customers. Why does there always seem to be an issue with the workers when I am here?

I patronize a bar to get away from  my problems - not to listen to someone behind the bar bitching about theirs. In case you haven't noticed in any of my previous reviews, I rank service as pretty high on my list of priorities in the service industries. Tonight's barmaid, Trish, made an attempt to get a customer's Miller Lite only to find the tap not tapping. She had no idea if the keg was empty or if the lines were frozen and didn't even make a feeble token 2nd attempt. The girl is unquestionably good looking but left a customer standing there with an empty mug and no answers. That is simply not good service.

Maybe the tourists are a significant percentage of Zia's business and they can afford to have shabby service because they know that they aren't going to be frequent business.

[8-2006]  As expected, the bar was lined with males in baseball caps - watching the line of TVs and sucking down beers. Tonight's barmaid was blonde and friendly and dressed in a crowd-pleasing camouflage mini-skirt. She took the time to inquire about my day and seemed genuinely interested in my brief army tale. My $2.50 Yuengling draft was cold and enjoyable.

[1-2007]  Weirdos. That is who made up a good percentage of the guys at the bar during the football playoff game. One or two could easily be classified as REALLY weird including a skinny, middle-aged guy who looked like a thinner, gayer Billy Idol.  Of the 6 TVs that could have been showing the game - one was DOA, three were snowy and 2 were clear.  Drank my Lager, grabbed a FLY magazine and left the cuckoos behind.

 

  

[2-2007]  The Lancaster 505 crew made their northern-most gathering this week as they congregated at Zia on an off Wednesday.  This evening was the first time I have actually had measurable fun at the Zia. 

Pete had told me that he would be the "big guy in the grey sweatshirt at the bar".  I arrived to find a big guy  in a grey sweatshirt at the bar - talking to two blonde hotties.   Before I could ascertain if it was the assembling of the 505'ers I got wrapped up in the wine-fueled ramblings of a PhD educator.  She said "that guy looks shady". 

He did look a bit shady but I applauded him on his choice of company.  She decided that a 3rd glass of wine would probably result in her wrapping her teacher-mobile around a telephone pole and vacated her warmed up barstool.   I met the jovial  Pete and company and soon found myself engaged in lively conversation about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Barmaid Beth seemed to enjoy the group's spunkiness but refused to be photo'd citing "Im not photogenic".  What a travesty as this adorable, personable girl deserves to be captured 'on film'.  If I ever find a time machine ( my thoughts lean more toward the Back To The Future type and not the gonad shocking one from Napoleon Dynamite ) I am going to fly backwards and pummel whoever gave this pretty girl a self esteem problem. 

My chopped steak was delicious and the $2.50 icy cold Lagers went down smoothly. The group socialized and had fun and represented Lancaster well.  I am definitely going to attend 505 events. A good time for sure.

[10-2007]  One of my most frequent  gripes about barstaff is that many show an almost complete disinterest in their customers.  I was happy to come in and find Lori on duty. She has the barmaid thing down pat. She greets her customers, she is polite, she is pretty, she is interested.  That is next to impossible to find.   

My take-home Philly steak was good but they forgot the sauce. The size of these things varies wildly from the monster in the photo above to ones about 1/2 the size. The price stays the same. No consistency at all with the size though.

The coffee shop next door has closed and Zia will be expanding into that space.