Lebanon County, PA

 

 

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

 The foamy mug marks a specific  feature that is noteworthy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a cold one on the deck!

 

tom@americantom.com

 

THE BATDORF RESTAURANT
245 West Main Street    Annville, PA  17003   717-867-0113
www.batdorfrestaurant.com

 

[11-2007] GANDALF writes:

"Now on to the good news. A new imbibing establishment has opened for business in beautiful downtown Annvile,The Batdorf .The brothers Rotunda have completed their move from the original Batdorf building on main street to 3 blocks west on rt 422 to what used to be The Washington House. The Washington served as a hotel in the 1900's and a seedy biker bar in the 70's, with pool table, dancers and i remember plywood for windows..that glass stuff just didn't hold up very well to the activities inclined to go on there.
I have not crossed their threshold yet but when i do, I will let you know .I have heard they expended a bunch of $'s ....as in stuff like heated all season deck with opening and closing side walls...how ever that works?"

 

BLUE BIRD INN
2387 Cornwall Rd Cornwall, PA.  17042   717-273-3000
http://www.bluebirdinn.com/

     

[2006] The Blue Bird is a visually impressive building with its old brick (built in 1859) and multi-tiered deck. It's history is interesting with it's original name of Ye Olde Golden Key Hotel changing to Molly's Tea Room during Prohibition.

The BB has a very inviting decor inside with the most effective smoke-eaters I have ever seen. The guy next to me at the bar was puffing his generic cigarette like he was in a race to completion and yet I didn't smell a molecule of smoke.

As advertised, the beers were VERY cold and my crab cake sandwich was fantastic - with huge lumps of meat.

One detractor was the barmaid bitching up a storm when her relief called in and would be an hour late. Seems she didn't like missing an hour's worth of pending tips ( as she was scheduled to be the waitress after this ).  Sounds unfair to me but I, as a customer, don't want to hear it.

Why do so few people in customer service understand that customers want service??

I will return again - for another crab cake and to check out the deck.  Overall, a good first impression.

     

5. A photo of the old Golden Key Hotel is laser etched into the glass above the bar  7: The food looked great   8: Cute in spite of having poor taste in beer

[11-2006] Lunchtime was winding down as I stopped for one beer.  When I stepped out of my car I was met with the delicious smell of meat cooking.  Two old ladies pulled in next to me and when I commented on how good that smelled the driver replied that she didn't smell anything. Wow, my salivary glands were in overdrive and she did not smell a thing.

The bar was empty although numerous people were seated nearby for lunch.  A girl appeared and tapped my $2.25 Lager before quickly flitting away.

I didn't observe a full-fledged bitch session this time but the two female servers did congregate at the corner of the bar to chit chat and were soon joined by a male who also joined in the small talk about working  there.  Some things never change.

[2-2007] The warm, lively interior of the Blue Bird was a nice contract to the 18 degree temps outside.  This Saturday night revealed all sorts of people enjoying good food and drinks - from families to small packs of young guys looking for love and excitement.

We sat on the porch and waited a bit too long for service (partially because we transitioned from standing in the bar area without formally going through the hostess procedure).  Our server was friendly and attentive and the food arrived quickly after it was ordered.  The sampler was large and it would have taken a true greasy food fanatic for one person to finish it solo.

The cream of crab soup was described as almost being cream of crab porridge.  She described it as "to die for" and the leftovers went home with her.  I created a slight amount of confusion by ordering a "Philly".  I could swear that the menu listed it as "Philadelphia Steak Sandwich".  The waitress called me out and sure enough it wasn't listed that way.  When I ordered "the steak sandwich" things got rolling.  My steak sandwich was also a thumbs up, especially the great bread that it was on.

[8-2007] My first deck experience came this week when a small group of us stopped in for supper.  The outside heat was like an oven but our umbrella and a slight breeze kept things bearable.

The deck's serving staff were all young, attractive and in shorts.  They looked the part of a staff that spends their time serving people on the large deck.

Unfortunately, the Amish Ale was unavailable because "the bartender last night broke the tap".

The lovely Natasha took my order: 1/2 pound of steamed shrimp, Lagers and a crabcake. The shrimp were cold, crisp and smothered in Old Bay - Mmmm.  The beer was cold although the "No glass on the deck" policy caused it to be served in plastic cups.  While these two were good, the hallmark of the meal was the fantastic crab cake sandwich.  Served on a zesty square bread this thing was amazing. All meat and almost no filler. Highly recommended.

2nd visit of the month - Another Saturday evening stop. This time the temperature was nice and not in the sweltering 90's like two weeks prior.

Again, the waitresses were mainly young and efficient and all were hustling to keep up with the influx of patrons (so many people were streaming in on this beautiful evening that the average wait was inching close to 1 hour ).   This time I ordered nachos and chicken strips. Both were plentiful and excellent.

 

BOYER'S CAFE
285 Main Street   Rexmont   PA
www.boyerscafe.com  N40 16.651  W076 23.433

         

 

[02-2005]>   Boyer's is the type of tavern that is fast disappearing from the American landscape.  These small town, family-owned pubs are under constant stress from a public that drinks less than its forefathers, has less time to sit at a bar, fears the penalties of the 0.08 BAC and no longer relies on the neighborhood taproom for its news and gossip.

I first discovered Boyer's in 2004 when I was killing time before a dinner reservation at the nearby Tony's Mining Company. We were greeted by the owner like we had been there a dozen times before. To me, that is a critical element of a great place.  The Lager was cold and served in a Mason jar.

Every nook and cranny here is crammed with mementos of it's proprietor's 5 decade long ownership: Winross trucks defy gravity on shelves that lean strangely toward the floor, photos and postcards of family and trips, even a glass showcase with race car models.

Thursday nights are AYCE spaghetti night for about $6. Not a bad price!

With little prodding, the owner showed me a book of old liquor licenses dating back to pre-Prohibition. It was interesting to see that the official seal of the PA liquor regulating agency (whatever it was called back then) was a swastika - long before the Nazis bastardized it.

I left my first visit with a good impression and even a nice round decal (which has been placed on one of my Nalgene bottles).

[05-2005]   The word is that the owner will complete 40 years behind the bar this year. Supposedly, by the end of the year he will  retire and put the business up for sale.

[4-2006]   Uncle Bob and the family are still tending bar and Boyer's is still open. 

<11-2007>   RB emailed me - chastising me for not getting to Boyer's in a while.  Even asked if I had lost my map!  :p  I know, I know - it's been awhile but I can see a spaghetti night in my near future!   The coolest thing is what he finished his email with: "42 years and still going strong. No hired help in its history, all family run facility"   Very neat!

 

1. Decorated for Christmas 2006

 

 (RICK's) CHAT-A-WHILE
347 West Main Street   Newmanstown  PA  17073   610-589-5500

   

[10-2007]  Stopped in but the place is closed. Will try again.

 CHEERS
3068 Lebanon Rd, Manheim, PA 17545  717-665-7714

 

<01-2007>  Cheers looks like it ramps up later in the evening on Saturdays.  My 9PM stop found an attractive blonde behind the sparsely populated bar.  A musician was moving his gear into the main room. Mug of Lager for $2.25

<3-2007> Reviewer: A&W -   Karaoke Saturday nights is the time to visit Cheers. Itís a comfortable, friendly bar with typical bar food served until 9:00 pm, which also includes homemade soups. There is a following of regulars who come out for karaoke on specified Saturday nights. As opposed to a lot of karaoke places those people can really sing. Itís a lively, friendly place.

<07-2007>  The bar this evening was tended by Sandy - a lovely blonde mother of two.  And...she smiled and talked and seemed very nice as she went about her business.  This was a night that is how bar visits should be - friends, cold beer, competent barmaid.

1. Sandy. September 2007 Page 1 Girl

<07-2007>  This evening I received my first angry email regarding this project.  The writer did not sign his/her email but a male's name did appear in the header.   The author was angry with my 8-2006 review of a Cheers visit that mentioned a lazy barmaid and bad service.

I was ordered to remove the entire Cheers review from this site and the email concluded with "believe me we will be checking into this whole situation"

Needless to say, the removal of a review is not going to happen just because someone disagrees with what I write.  Like it or not, this site is protected by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution and I I am exercising my freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.

I try very hard to find positive things about the bars I visit as one of the purposes of this site is to promote and support the small town bars that struggle to survive as a result of declining numbers of drinkers, tougher DUI laws  and a populace that is often simply too busy to sit in a taproom all day. 

A second email arrived after my reply and appears to be written by the barmaid that I commented on a year ago.  Oddly enough, I have zero memory of what she looked like or what her name was.  And she was never mentioned by name on this site. Apparently she recognized herself from the description.

The review in question was a result of substandard service. Really bad service.  Plain and simple.  I will never stop writing truthful reviews. I call it like I see it. 

However, I did comment on the barmaids physical appearance (in the context that to make it as a barmaid you probably should have a good look and/or a good personality).  This entry probably was beneath the self-imposed standards I hold for this site.

Because of this, I have decided to remove that one review.  The remainder of the Cheers info, as you can see, remains - good or bad.

COLEBROOK TAVERN
1510 Mt Wilson Rd   Colebrook   PA   17042   (Corner of Rts 117 & 241)

http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/colebrooktavern/

<10-2007> Reviewer: ET    Just had a great meal of ribs at the Colebrook Tavern . Excellent and inexpensive. Owners are celebrating 25 year anniversary. I was surprised to find this place missing from your reviews.  <AT says: I am also surprised I haven't reviewed this as I have been here numerous times and KNOW I wrote about it (with pics). Either I never posted it or it got deleted>

CONNER'S TAVERN
319 South 5th Street    Lebanon, PA  17042

 

 

<10-2007>  Gandalf writes  "I might  suggest checking out Conner's Tavern at 5th. St. and Pershing Ave. it's actually on a corner.....Irish, Notre Dame, Jamisons and such"

<11-2007>  A light snow was falling as I used my new Garmin auto GPS to navigate to Conner's (it comes preloaded with 1000s of bars including this one).  This is most certainly a bar that I probably would not have found without Gandalf's tip or maybe the GPS.

"Neighborhood bar" is the perfect description of Conner's as it literally is nestled in between the homes on this street.  The Eagles were in the 4th quarter of their game vs. Miami but no Eagles appeared on the two football showing TVs.  The game was being shown on CBS so I don't understand why it wasn't on in the bar.  Maybe the obvious Steelers fanaticism comes with a hard rule that no Philadelphia sports may be shown.

Anyway - the customers were all male and their barmaid was the young, tall, attractive and happy-looking Courtney.  I forgot to ask if they actually sell Iron City in the aluminum bottles (as advertised on the wall).  My $2 Y-Lager mug was fresh and the foam clung to the inside. I should no longer be surprised but I was surprised that almost EVERY customer was drinking a light beer and one made by a large corporate brewer (most foreign-owned).   Not a single Yuengling drinker in sight.

Things I like about this bar:

If I lived anywhere around here this would be my bar.

 

(FAT BOB'S)CORVETTE BAR & GRILL
202 West Main Street     Annville, PA  17003

<07-2008>   Several bikes were parked in front of the Corvette Bar when I arrived and flyers for motorcycle-related events hung on the walls. Thats all a good start in my book.

The bartender was seemingly ignoring me as I gazed in awe at the huge selection of bottled beer that this fairly small bar held in its cooler.  Turns out he was getting ready to end his shift. Soon enough he realized I was there and greeted me in the friendly manner that bartenders should greet customers.

Being on a tight schedule and not wanting to risk my one beer choice on something new that may not agree with my (yes, I know its sad) narrow tastes - I settled on something far more bland an less exciting than some of the possibilities in the cooler.

The food that I saw coming from the kitchen looked very good and smelled as well.  I wish I had the time to try something.  The suggestion was made that I get a basket of chips.  I did and they were thick and unique - homemade?  Definitely not a Lay's or national brand.

I didn't get to look around enough to assess how large of a dining room this business has but the taproom area is small and comfortable.

The bartender was replaced by two young pierced girls.  Summer was in shorts and sporting a lip piercing.  Cute but hungover from an unspecified degree of partying the night before.  I laughed as one middle-aged patron repeatedly told her not to worry as he had "been there, done that, still doing it".   The only girl was also pierced in obvious places and sporting jeans with large, skin-exposing holes.  Interesting for sure.

Happy hour is 4-6 daily with $2 drafts.

FARMER'S HOPE INN
3180 Lebanon Rd, Manheim, PA  17545   717-664-4673

 

<07-2006>  The sign advertised Sunday night karaoke from 7-11PM and the parking lot was pretty full.

The Inn has a great front porch that is obviously meant to be used - well, shaded, plants, plenty of chairs. The door is OLD and adds a lot of atmosphere before even going in.

Inside, the dining room is well decorated and the bar is to the immediate left. I sat down and ordered a $2.25 Lager and 75c bag of Utz chips. The bartender was busy doing other things and soon vanished. At one point a guy came to restock the cooler and he ended up getting another customer a refill.

The guy next to me was drinking a Rolling Rock and I asked him the popular question - "Will you still drink Rolling Rock when they leave Pennsylvania?"  He literally turned away from me without saying a word.  Even in the most snooty of bars this behavior is unusual between fellow beer drinkers. This bar wasn't snooty as there were several biker-types. I guess he was just an a-hole.

I would have had a 2nd beer but the bartender never returned. I got up, left no tip, and departed.

FATT BOYS STEAKHOUSE & TAVERN
1904 Allegheny Ave    Lebanon, PA  17042   717-273-0888

FENWICK TAVERN & RESTAURANT
2200 West Cumberland Street    Lebanon, PA  17042

 

<10-2007> Reviewer: ET    Also, one of the most popular watering holes in town, the Fenwick Tavern (22nd and Cumberland Sts) is no more (also not in your list). A tavern and probably a stagecoach stop between Reading and Harrisburg, it has been sold to CVS!

FRANKLIN HOUSE
101 N Market Street    Schaefferstown, PA  17088

 

<07-2007>  A reader from Lititz emailed and asked why I haven't reviewed The Franklin House.  I do not know why I haven't but I will move it to the top of the list of places I should soon go to!  Stay tuned!

<08-2007>  Journeyed to the Franklin House to fulfill my promise that I would see check it out (well, actually the main reason was for a cold beer on a very warm August night).  Arrived on the square to find several vans and trucks parked in front of the building.  A white banner proclaimed that there were new owners and it would soon reopen after renovations. 

<10-2007>  The neon flared brightly in the window of the tavern - a sure sign that the remodeling was complete and business had resumed. 

The old doors clicked as I entered to find a handful of people watching the Phillies.  I sat at the bar and ordered my $2.25 Lager from an attractive barmaid in the semi-formal attire that seems to be required of the employees here.  It was icy cold in a frosty mug and couldn't have been any better.  The atmosphere inside is nice with a great old bar.

An annoying woman sat to my right - discussing life with two guys. She mentioned "Dad" about 10x in the time it took me to drink my beer.  If ever anyone needs to see a shrink - it is her. Possible other conversation topics: the weather, upcoming World Series, nuclear proliferation or the fate of the PA Turnpike - ANYTHING but torturing those around her with endless references to her father.

With nobody else at the bar you would think the barmaid would direct a word or two in my direction.  She didn't.  While I am not the type to vent to a service worker I was having a very bad day and probably would have tipped very well if she had noticed that I was an actual human.  Instead she stood a few feet away - saying nothing to no one.  Good service is rare in 2007.

FRANZ'S TAVERN
1400 South 5th Street, Lebanon PA  17042   717-272-1996

N40  19.469   W765 22.693

       

 

<04-2005>  I have always loved bars with military themes. While nothing will ever beat the Old Sarge's place in Hanover, PA with its sandbags, plane "crashed" into the wall and jeep - it was nice to come into Franz's and find a "Guns In Use" sign inside the  mens' room .  Add to that a framed display of the owner's dad's Army medals and Combat Infantryman's Badge (with star), some display guns and a bunch of patriotic bumper stickers... and you are on the right path already to being a good bar!

The inside of Franz's is clean and well decorated and its country location is another plus.  I had just eaten and didn't have the stomach for trying much more than a few fries but they were tasty.

Melissa kept the beer flowing although she admitted being a tad spacey on the evening of my visit. Surprisingly, my Yuengling Lager (at 7PM) was the first one tapped that day. The #1 selling beer, by far, is Coors Light.  I never understand why so many people steadfastly stick to drinking national beers when there are great local alternatives.  In fact, the same guys drinking the Coors Lights were quick to note that a couple who had just left were getting into matching  Saabs.  Technically, Coors is no longer "American-owned" after its merger with Molson and having 10% of its stock held by two Molsons.

I guess I will just have to return and sing the praises of Mr. Yuengling's fine products!

 

FREDERICKSBURG HOTEL
101 East Main Street    Fredericksburg    PA    17026   717-865-4672

  FROGS HOLLOW
2271 State Road 72  Jonestown PA 17038  717-865-6866

   

3. Holly

<8-2006> Frog's Hollow is under new management. Other than the addition of Spaten on draft and their no longer honoring old gift certificates and drink tokens - I didn't notice much new.  I like the ceramic tiled trough under the taps.

Holly the barmaid does the place proud and has an obvious following of loyal regulars. She is a hottie biker chick who aspires to someday get off the back and own her own scooter. She did her job well and has some killer legs. While she may bang out dozens of miles of running  per week to keep that look I suspect she just has really good genes.

One of the regulars was perturbed at a table of 5 businesswomen who got and louder and louder with each drink. They weren't being obnoxious - just having a good time and laughing like maniacs.  As I was getting up to leave, the guy said to me: "Take the ones you want now - I'll throw the rest in my truck when I leave"   Funny.

My $3.50/dz "Mahogany" clams were good and covered in a unique blend of spices.

The barmaid this week was also attractive and fairly efficient at her tasks.

<1-2007> Steak night at Frogs means $2 off the menu price for any steak.  Two friends of mine ordered 8 ouncers and soon realized that they would be unable finish them. Luckily for me - their leftover steak, baked potato and slaw were enough for me to scrape together a pretty substantial meal.

There were several notable observations from this visit.  The first was the loud, rambunctious dart team that completely and almost instantly vanished the second their last throw was made.  It was comical because none of them stood around and they took off faster than cockroaches in a dark room when the light is turned on.

Equally funny was a tall and fairly fat man who stood at the bar drinking 7oz Miller Lite pony bottles.  Those bottles look silly in the hand of any male let alone a big 'un like him. 

Holly was tending bar in jeans and a black sweater than showed just a peek of her cute back and belly.  The guys love her and I got a laugh out of the lines that several of them used.

She is one of the best barmaids I have met - good looking and friendly - she interacts nicely with the regulars, strangers and bozos alike.  I was particularly impressed with her defusing of two phone calls from a guy who was trying to find out if his girlfriend came in with other guys and her lighthearted comments on a dipstick who left her a 50 cent tip ( a situation that would send many barmaids into an angry tirade ).

After the dart team's expeditious exit the bar thinned out and we talked for quite some time.  Holly is an intelligent girl with a big heart and I enjoyed our chat.

<4-2007> Sunday afternoon stop found a thin, disinterested barmaid on duty.  She seemed almost completely without interest in the customers who needed beers and who held the power to tip well or poorly.  One poor guy set his empty bottle and a chip on the bar - waiting patiently  for a new drink. I consumed by one Lager and departed while he continued to wait for his. 

Guys go to bars for many reasons - several of them being the attributes of the barmaids.  These include: strong drink maker, charming, interactive personality and physical attributes.  I didn't try anything other than beer, she certainly wasn't charming or interactive and her physical characteristics were no where near enough to make up for her nearly-nasty personality (I am not sure that anyone's is).  Why do bars hire people like this?

<6-2007> It's always nice when a bad tavern experience is corrected on a follow up visit. 

I like Frog's Hollow: happy memories from past year's dance parties, cheap beer and tasty food.

Today's visit found the owner gossiping with the sole customer and the 4-07 barmaid on duty in flip flops, a very cute short, white skirt and a tshirt.  A great look on her.

Instead of her previous apathy I found her to be appealing and interactive. A huge improvement.

Happy hours are Monday thru Friday 5-7PM and Saturday 10P to midnite. Prices are going up to $1/small beer and $1.25 for pints. Quite reasonable!

 

GARY'S SPORTS BAR & GRILL
414 North 7th Street    Lebanon, PA  17046    717-272-8007

 

 

JUSTINE'S PLACE
1663 North 7th  Street    Lebanon    PA    17046   717-228-2840

   

KLEINFELTERSVILLE HOTEL & TAVERN    
201 West Main Street   Kleinfeltersville,   PA   17039   717-949-8413
N40 18.029   W76 14.958
 

               

1. Official business card  2. Neat neon serves as the official sign  5. One of the photos that the ghost hunters took. Several rooms in different lighting, showed the orbs floating around  6. Co-owner Heather  7. Patrons having a good time on their day off  

 

<8-2004> The "K-ville" is another example of the type of watering hole that I started this project for. It sits in a tiny town and was probably once
a very welcome sight to weary travelers. People's butts got sore quickly 150 yrs or so ago when they had to ride everywhere on a horse and they worked up big thirsts from being face to face with sun and dust all the time.

Driving north on 897 you pass a similar hotel in Blainsport that was tavern until about 1996 or so.  Its nice to come upon one of these old gems and find that icy suds are still flowing inside.

The K-ville doesn't have a formal sign out front to say what it is but she is obviously alive and kicking by the patriotic decorations and lit neon beer signs. The front door is heavy and old (another good sign that 'progress' hasn't destroyed the charm of this bar) and the floor is still made of 1000s of tiny ceramic tiles. The place is well-decorated - with any girly things offset nicely but the rows of old beer cans that line the ceiling!

The sole customers on an early Friday afternoon were seated at tables so I sat down at the bar and immediately saw that it too is original (built right into the wall).  To my surprise, the barmaid didn't  look like she worked here when the place opened in the 1850s.  Tall, blonde and gorgeous were very appropriate words to describe her (who denied any history of cheerleading and identified herself a 'jock' in high school)  as she happily tapped me a pint of Lager ($1.75).  Turns out she is the co-owner (with her hubby) and have been running the place for five years.

I forgot to ask if her husband was from a food service background but she said she wasn't and I can't recall if she said how they got involved in running this old taproom. I was distracted by the  Iraq vs. Italy Olympic soccer playoffs on  TV as I rooted for the  Iraqis to beat the arrogant Italians (which didn't happen).

As the bar filled with people I think Heather greeted almost every one by their first name.  When I asked her if an old place like this was haunted she quickly replied that it was. Odd and frequent noises have been heard by many people. The Hollingers live on the 2nd floor with tenants on the third. On several occasions the tenants have asked who was running around downstairs all night. The only occupants are the owners who were fast asleep when they were allegedly jumping and running! Ghost hunters recently photographed the hotel and MANY pictures displayed white 'orbs'
in various places.  These orbs have been seen in many other 'haunted' places. Either way, Heather says she is barricaded in her room when she sleeps at night.

Factors that earned the K-ville a big thumbs up:  historic building that hasn't been ruined by modern additions, great old bar, cold beer, friendly owner, large TV with great picture and food that looked and smelled great (soon to be tasted). I will be back!

<5-31-2007> Blue Moon: There are many definitions of what a blue moon is but the most commonly used one is the 2nd moon in the same month.  Tonight was a blue moon (the next one that meets this definition isn't until December 2009) and the weather was fair so it was time to jump on the Harley and go for a ride.

I decided that it's been awhile since I was here so I headed out - blasting through the bugs under the giant moon and an eerie distant display of noiseless heat lightning.

Much to my surprise - Thursdays are $1 draft nights from 8-10PM.  My $1 Lager was as cold as I remember the last one being and very fresh. The barmaid was adorable - achieving a look that could go toward skateboarder or 50's pinup - depending on which way she leaned.

My three favorite decorations inside are the rows of beer cans at the ceiling, the small but cool ammunition collection above the back bar and the snapping turtle clock - for which I award the coveted beer mug icon for excellence.

As I was leaving, owner Heather came in and sat at the bar.  She is quite possibly the most attractive pub owner in Lancaster County.  The K-Ville's deck has not yet opened ("any day") so I know that golden tan is not from working there. The source is ill relevant because it looks hot.

<8-2007> I like the K-ville in spite of itself.  My visit tonight came after I found the Franklin House to be closed for renovations. I parked my bike next to three other Harleys (and a few more were parked around the corner).  Walking in, I found the usual mix of clientele: males at the bar and a few people eating dinner.

The barmaid projected an attitude of mopeyness as she retrieved my Lager.  Once again, cute enough but utterly unfriendly. Her attire consisted of a shirt embroidered with the tavern name and logo and a pair of baggy jeans that looked like she had grabbed them from her husband on the way out.  Why is it that attractive female barmaids so often dress like they are ready to get to work on a construction project?  I will say it again, a barmaid should be either good looking enough that people will overlook a bad personality or personable enough that looks don't matter. Preferably BOTH but never, ever NEITHER.  Arrrrgh.

I did watch the people on the deck and the servers who retrieved their food through the side window.  Pretty neat setup as they slid the screen window up and down to grab the trays of food.  Maybe I will have a beer out there next time.

 

LIMEY'S PUB
2 West Main Street   Meyerstown, PA  17067  717-866-4021

 

MAPLE STREET CAFE
801 Maple Street   Lebanon County, PA.   17046     717-272=0597

 

MOOSE'S LANDING ZONE (formerly Mountain Spring Tavern)  
211 Fisher Ave, Jonestown, Lebanon County, PA. 17038  717-865-6009

 

       

<12-2005> The Mountain Spring sits only a few feet off Ft Indiantown Gap property. Because of its proximity it is frequently filled with soldiers. Nothing fancy here - just a rectangular room with a bar, tables and a pool table.  $1 drafts during NASCAR.

<7-2006> New ownership and new name. The inside still looks the same but a giant deck had sprung up out back.  This beer bar is typically full of soldiers from Indiantown Gap. The customers are always 95% male. ANY female would be a princess in here.

The food that was being sent out of the kitchen looked tasty although if I was the owner of a place that served food I would mandate following basic sanitation laws like the cook wearing a hat and not handling sandwiches with bare hands. Why risk the possible fine and bad PR?

Come out and play the Baywatch pinball machine - those are getting hard to find and Pamela Anderson doesn't look that wholesome anymore.

The Thursday night barmaids were both attractive and received a lot of attention.

<7-2007> Stopped in for lunch.  Ordered the "Blackhawk Burger" - a large tasty hamburger with bacon, mushrooms, onions and jalapenos.  Quite good and inexpensive.

 

PA'S PLACE (formerly Weikel's Manor House Inn)
413 West Main Street    Jonestown   PA   17038   717-865-1506

      

<6-2005>  The Manor House is one of the "Indiantown Gap" bars - places where soldiers from the Gap migrate in search of cold beer and hot women.  It is slightly off the beaten path and is actually in Jonestown.

Yuengling Lager costs $1 per mug during NASCAR races.

 

PATSY FAGAN'S IRISH PUB
1002 Cumberland St        Lebanon  PA  17402

<01-2010> Naming your pub Patsy Fagans in right Dutchy Leb-nan County (now) is a bold move.  The Irish and their culture are not the most understood of people among the PA German folk.  Someone online commented that this name sounds like a gay bar.

Patsy Fagan is a famous snooker player but this place is named after the owners Irish ancester.

My visit was in the middle of the Christmas season and I found this bar to be warm and comforting.  Football (our kind - not the European sort) was on the TVs and a fire was blazing in the fireplace.

The male owner was friendly and when I ordered the steamed "bar shrimp" he declared that there weren't enough left for a proper plate and gave me the pile for free.

This pub opened on St Pattys 2009 and the clientele was a mix of sizes, sexes and colors.  Nobody else was kilted but I won't hold that against them.

They are planning some festivities for 3-17-10. Fagans could easily become the Irish centerpiece of the whole region if they play their cards correctly.  They need a t-shirt for sale.

I like this place a lot and will most certainly stop in again soon.

QUENTIN TAVERN
81 West Main Street,  Quentin, PA   17083  717-272-4700 

<11-2006> I am not sure I ever knew this place existed until this afternoon when I drove south on Route  72.  A billboard promulgated their existence by a right turn off 72.

My early afternoon visit found only one patron at the bar while the male bartender tidied up and an attractive female slogged through some administrative paperwork at a table.

The bartender greeted me and was quick to bring my Lager. Several people in the kitchen were seen coming and going and it seemed like they were ramping up for a busy dinner crowd.

Nicely decorated inside. I look forward to trying the deck next summer. Need to check and see if they have a photo or painting of Quentin Roosevelt. It would be a real shame if they didn't.

RISING SUN
2859 Horseshoe Pike ( Rt 322 )  Campbelltown, PA  

www.risingsunrestaurant.com

<10-2007> Reviewer: RB says Excellent food and not bad prices. You can't beat their jumbo roast beef sandwich or their wings. The owners are celebrating 40 years this month.

 

SPECK'S CAFE
118 Fischer Ave   Jonestown  PA   17038  717-865-2476

 

 1: Speck's when it still had slab wood for siding   2: View of Speck's  from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on final approach to Indiantown Gap

<7-2006> Lookup 'dive bar' in the dictionary and you will see a picture of Speck's. Until recently the siding on the exterior was slab wood - bark and all.

Its proximity to Ft Indiantown Gap leads many a Joe to eventually find their way here.

STEPPIN' OUT
1 West Main Street  Newmanstown  PA  17073

 

<10-2007> Steppin' Out is a classic neighborhood pub.  Its even on the corner at East & West Main Streets.

As I walked in my first impression was that it looked like a bar in some mountain town in upstate PA.  Square and open rooms and pine walls with a few local imbibers at the bar.

My Lager was good enough and I had to laugh when my bag of cashews (marked in big letters on the bag - 99c) cost me a dollar.  For some reason that struck me as funny - well worth a buck as they were quite tasty.

I liked the small grill right at the bar and the 50's illuminated sign over the mens room.

One of the patrons was telling a hysterical story about someone who reached into his property to hang something on the inside door knob and how his normally tranquil dog bit him.  The SPCA came and said that he could turn the dog over for quarantine or they could cut its head off for rabies testing. He went on to say that he should sue the guy for trespass and that they weren't going to "saw my dog's head off - he is was innocent!". I couldn't agree more.

Someone emailed me asking me what I think of Steppin' Out.  I think this is a neat place ( and wonder if there are ever bands I did see a karaoke sign) in a interesting small town.   I suspect a quiet person could gather a lot of info on the meaning of life if you sat here long enough.

THOROUGHBRED'S
10104 Jonestown Rd, Grantville, PA  17028  717-469-7441

 

<7-2006> Time heals all wounds and certainly can skew mental images of places long ago visited.

I have been to Thoroughbred's several times on Friday or Saturday nights and always had a great time. My memories are a combination of cold beer, good music, people dancing, women, a deck and soldiers having a ball.

This was my first weekday visit and I was shocked by how the place looks during the day. The dancing and mingling areas are dining room space during the week. The barmaid was in a very grumpy mood and she was relating some tale of woe about two relatives or customers who were beating the snot out of each other during the recent carnival. Then I was treated to the story of the pub regular who is "allergic to bugs" and was bitten and had an anaphylactic reaction and was seizing out front.

I want to return here some weekend evening for the craziness and energy of a dancing mob. I don't really need to come back for a weeknight beer.

VINNY'S GOODTIMES
700 Reinoehl Street   Lebanon   PA  17046  717-272-7814

 

 

WOODS CREEK GRILL 
3275 Route 72   Jonestown, PA  17038   717-861-4555
www.woodscreekgrill.com

   

 

[10-2010]  This property has had many incarnations over the years. The most recent was a BBQ place that burned and has since been relocated to Jonestown proper.

I had heard that it was again open as a bar and restaurant so a few friends and I decided to see what its latest persona was.

I have always found the property itself to be nice: easily accessible, view of the nearby mountain, large outside yard and deck area and trees.  The building has the overall look of a lodge and we were barely in the door when we were greeted by our server Deb. With a big smile she welcomed us and asked if this was our first visit.  It was as if she was reading from the book of customer service (that I have yet to write).  So many places practice little or no customer service that to be greeted with a smile and a legitimate welcome was almost a shock!

The inside of the WCG is most certainly like a lodge.  Dozens of mounts adorn the walls (as one of the owners is involved in taxidermy) including huge moose, bear and elk.  Many of the the mounts (and artwork) are for sale.   The table and chairs are Amish-made from branches and logs (there is a name for this style but it escapes me at the moment)

The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the requisite football games were playing on flat screens.  While a business makes its existence on customers who come in and spend money, I have no doubts that a person milking a drink or two during a game would be treated just as nicely as a big spender.

The upstairs is a fabulous separate banquet room and bar with the large glass windows allowing people some great views.

Deb kept up the great service as we dined on Elk chili and alligator bites. The bites were done well and not too salty as is often the case with gator. The menu is full of exotic dishes and meats but has more than enough standard fare to suit any taste.

Manager Greg talked with us awhile and expressed obvious pride in the good thing they have going.  The WCG is biker friendly but families will fit right in.  This business has the potential to be melting pot of locals, troops, bikers, hikers and passersby. The biggest hurdle is getting the word out about this gem - while it is only a short distance from Rt 78 is slightly off the beaten path.

I highly recommend the Woods Creek Grill.  The overall feel is very much like that of the Black Forest Inn in PA's northern tier.

I know, without a doubt, that soon I will return!