York County, PA

 

Named either for the Duke of York, an early patron of the Penn family, or for the city and shire of York in England.

 

 

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

 

BANANA MAX
2650 Eastern Blvd    York, PA  17402   717-600-1133

 

 

[5-2007] Reviewer: ALKI -  Its been nearly 4 years since I have stopped into this establishment. Only the addition of a go-go dancer platform and hanging lamps marked the progression of time. BM used to be a steakhouse back in the day and the floor plan has never really lent itself well to that of a bar/nightclub. I might not have come back had it not been for the opportunity to hang out with friends and acquaintances. I should say at this point that I stopped going to this bar because of the York “deaditis” which inflicted this place (See Hardware Bar review). This place started out well, but went downhill from there.

On the night of my recent visit, I noticed right away how young the crowd looked….either that how old I am compared to the last time I was here. I then saw the same type of crowd which kept me away from here for so long. The crowd was a healthy mix of trash talking, just trashy looking people. Gold chains, baggy clothes, and backwards hats were in force that night. Drink service was slow at best except for the end closest to the dance floor. This bartender has been at BM for a while and she is a gem. She is able to manage so many people at one time and maintain a polite demeanor. I forget her name but she is a brunette in her late 30’s. I was sure to reward her for her fast service. Perhaps the most disgusting part of the night was when a patron decided to urinate in the bushes next to our table. I wont bore you with the details, but this uncouth redneck idiot was not removed.

Overall, I don’t see a need to return here for quite a while. This bar is a large fight waiting to happen at any moment. The drinks are reasonably priced but the 4.00 cover charge is outrageous considering there is no live music. Avoid the fights, uncouth people, and the bling and keep moving on.

 

BLUE MOON CAFE
361 West Market Street      York, PA  1740    717-854-6664
http://home.comcast.net/~yorkbluemoon/index.html

 

[6-2007] Reviewer: ALKI -   Being the Bon Vivant that I am I consider myself to be a better than average judge of food and drink. Blue Moon Café is one of the few places in town to get continental European/American Fusion food. The main inspiration is French. They also have a small bar section which makes this place eligible for inclusion on this website.

I recently revisited this restaurant after nearly a year of having been there. I have never been disappointed with the food here, and since my last visit, things have gotten better. New owners remodeled the interior which has significantly brightened the interior giving it a clean rustic appeal. On my visit, I felt bad because I had just come from the gym and was wearing my best blue jeans…obviously not my best attire.

Without going into detail, my food, while somewhat pricey, was excellent and the service matched as well. The chef came and chatted with me checking on how I liked his creations. The thing that separates this place from others is doing the small things right. For example, seving warm rolls with homemade seasoned butter. What a great touch! The food here was seasoned just right and was served hot, but not too hot.

The bar section of Blue Moon is perfect for an after date night cap or just to sit and throw back a few cocktails. While they have all the hoity toity wines and liquors covered, you can still get a cold lager draft for a reasonable price. The wine list is a good cross section with something for everything. The bar section, was full by the time I left with people just out enjoying the week night with a few drinks.

Blue Moon is not the place to go to once a week, but would make a great place for a special dinner or just to have a civilized drink. York needs more places like this and all the changes they have made are for the better. Great service and great food make for a good combo. Parking is at premium. Bon Appetit

BRIDGE SIDE CAFE
204 Hellam Street    Wrightsville, PA  17368   717-252-1013

   

[6-2006]  The BridgeSide has the tallest doors of any taproom I think I have ever been in. They must be 10 or more feet tall. They go well with the interior which has ceilings that are probably 18' high.

My 6PM Wednesday stop found the bar pretty much full of people blowing off steam by smoking and drinking. The barmaid was friendly and immediately came to me when I sat down.  My cold Yuengling Lager was only $1 - not sure if this was a happy hour price or not but that's a bargain!

Some intense billiards playing was going on as I checked this place out.  Take note of the $1 bills taped to the cooler - they look like they have been smoked in a meat-smoking house - COMPLETELY brown and cured. I guess that is what happens to money after years of hanging in a smoky bar!

The ceilings in here are old stamped copper (I love those) but covered in what is probably many layers of paint. The biker-looking guy next to me told me that he is trying to buy this bar.

The glass windows you can see in the photos appear to be some sort of showcase from years gone by. I was recently told that this building used to be the town movie house.

The BridgeSide and its regulars is a bar that might make a yuppie crap in his pants but I felt perfectly at home there.

 

CHEERS BAR
468 East Market Street    York, PA  17403  

 

COBBLESTONES
205 S George Street     York, PA  17403   717-854-3331

[1-2005] Reviewer: ALKI -     Cobblestones is the best sports bar in York. There are so many games on the televisions that you can't help but find something you'll like.  There is also NTN trivia to try if you so choose.

Cobblestones is a full-service bar with about 3-4 dozen beers and food service to 11PM. Stick with the beer and appetizers because the entrees are overpriced.  Another great feature is that they sell cigars and they encourage smoking them there.

Sounds like a great place to hang out, right?  It is when they don't play hip hop on Friday or Saturdays which brings in an unruly crowd. It does not help that they have 6 pool tables. Pool tends to bring in bad crowds. My advice is to check out this place on Thursdays and Sundays. Skip it on the weekends.

 

CORNER STABLE or is it CORNER STABLES ?!?  
22575 South Queen Street (Olde Tollgate Village)   York, PA   17402   717-741-4320

www.cornerstables.com  

   

[2-24-2004]  Consistency is an attribute I would tag this tavern with.  Jammed into the corner of a small shopping center - it has always drawn crowds for its intimate environment and great food. They bill themselves as "York's Only Restaurant Specializing In Ribs".  Recent remodeling has moved the dining away from the bar and opened things up considerably. It always smells great outside the building and the food that passes by inside always looks and smells tremendous.

Maybe the question of this establishment being "stable" or "stableS" is a built-in mystery like the 33 on a bottle of Rolling Rock. Who knows. Their signs outside and their website both list it with and without the 's'. Speaking of the website - great job. Truly useful webpages for bars are hard to come by. This one is well-designed and the events sections throws you to a .PDF graphic that is actually current.

Yuengling Premium Lights $1.25 everyday and my mug of Lager was $1.95 at 7P on a Friday.

 

THE DEPOT
formerly Murph's Other Bar and before that The Depot
360 West Cottage Place  York, PA  17403

DUTCHMAN
338 South Front Street    Wrightsville, PA      17368

[8-2007]  This is a biker bar. Through and through.  Until recently there were weekly strippers.  Sometimes when you sit at the end of the bar and look into the backroom you can see a Harley parked back there.  Most people wouldn't go in here for fear they would get pummeled by someone.

Most people are wrong.  Yes, most of the people who frequent this bar are "tough looking" or maybe even "rough looking" and many have some association with Harley-Davidson. 

But the people here are usually pretty friendly. No matter what you look like.  While someone in a pink golf shirt surely wouldn't fit in they would leave in the same misguided state they arrived in.  And the bulletin board is frequently plastered with posters for charity rides for sick kids and people whose homes have burned down and other downtrodden folks.

I like this bar.  And it has a good view of the river when you look out the front window.

FAT DADDYS
2510 East Market Street   York, PA  17402   717-755-8843
www.fatdaddys.com

 

[11-2006]  For many years Fat Daddys was the premier club in York. Its gradual decline began almost the moment it left South Belmont Street.

Over the years I have had many good memories at Fat Daddys, including the East Market Street location.  Their deck hosts hordes of people in the warm weather - enjoying the tiki bar environment - often with live music and a free food buffet.

Fat Daddys is also the only place where I was almost killed in a bar.  I once worked for a manufacturing business.  The print room was led by a chubby female whose husband was a prominent member of one of York's gangs during the tumultuous 60s.

Over the course of a few month this woman lost a lot of weight, changed her hairstyle and became very tan. Her fat slob of a husband obviously suspected something when none of her new-found energy was directed toward him.

Putting 2 + 2 together he deduced that she had a lover.  He deduced correctly as she was sleeping with one of the guys from the shop.

One Friday afternoon a group of co-workers gathered to celebrate one guy's 50th birthday. We were the only ones there as the early inside DJ began playing. 3 or 4 of the females were dancing casually around me. Apparently the crazed husband saw her car in parking lot and entered.  He looked at the dance floor and in his rage saw only me and his wife - not noticing that I was not even dancing with her but just in the group.

His anger intensified, he went into the men's room where he loaded a magazine in his 9mm handgun and brought it with him - his sole intent to shoot me in the back of head (after his incorrect assumption that it was ME that his wife changed for). 

His wife disappeared when she went to the bathroom and didnt come back.  He grabbed her and took her home.  I later learned that he said this was the ONLY time in his life that he DIDNT act when he was in a rage.  Apparently he HAD shot at least one other guy in years past.  Gee, thanks buddy for NOT shooting the wrong guy! 

So, it seems I was only a few moments from getting wacked in Fat Daddys.  I never heard what happened to the guy who was causing all his problems.

 

FINLEYS TAVERN
2225 Seven Valleys Rd  Seven Valleys, PA   17360    717-428-9094

       

 

[04-2005] Finley's has one of the most storied histories of any tavern in then area.  Years ago it held the reputation of a hardcore biker bar and a place where a wayward businessman might not exit alive.  The modern persona still holds some of that outlaw aura but in a slightly refined way.  "Pizza Til 2" is always a good thing to know when you are leaving work or another bar and most places have long since closed their kitchens.

The giant sign on the roof came from a York area restaurant when it conveniently closed.

 

FIRST CAPITAL DISPENSING COMPANY
57 North Pershing Ave    York, PA   17401  717-854-1714

 

[11-1006] Reviewer: Alki - "First Cap"  as it is known to locals is my favorite bar on the York pub/bar scene. What makes this place so great? Let me tell you.

First Cap is a quaint yet classy corner bar on Philadelphia and Pershing St. The bar is small, but it has oh so much character and ambiance. The live music in this place is consistently excellent. The main bar maid is also a tall Amazon blonde and she is one of the best looking and attentive bar maids in the area. They can make any drink you want plus they have an excellent selection of beer. Their drink prices are excellent as well.

First Cap is the place where you can meet your friends or go their solo and strike up a conversation with someone there. There is always such an eclectic mix of people that there are always good people watching opportunities at this place. In addition to the bar, this establishment is reputed to have an excellent lunch and dinner menu. I need to check this place out in terms of food, but I always here raves about the quality and price. Don't waste your money at some chain. Do yourself a favor and check out First Cap right away.
You will get hooked!

[01-2007] Reviewer: Alki - In my previous evaluation of this fine establishment, I mentioned that I had never had occasion to sample the cuisine. Well I remedied that recently by taking a lady friend there for dinner on a weekend night.

The menu that was available that night was limited, although this was made up in large part by a few well chosen specialties. I opted for the crab cakes with Bruschetta appetizer and a glass of Riesling. The crab cakes were some of the best that I have had in a long while. There was little to no filler in these cakes, just fine chunks of crab meat.

The Bruschetta was exceptionally good and featured chunks of crab meat in addition to the normal peppers and spinach that you would expect.

One word of caution, the restaurant section was absolutely packed so be prepared to wait a few extra minutes to be served. The wait was well worth the time and accept for the company of my lady friend, the evening was very enjoyable.



 

4-B's
3245 Susquehanna Trail North     York, PA  17402

 

[01-2007] Reviewer: Alki - I don’t usually venture too far north of center city York to visit a tavern, but this place is close to where my work soccer league plays once a week. After visiting this place for the first time I did remember hearing some good things about a bar on “The Trail” near Emigsville. I have to say that I was impressed on my first visit by the nice décor, and abundance of sports on the televisions. This is the kinda place where you meet your buddy, throw back a few, and watch a game.

Our server regularly waits on the company guys so she is always prompt to take orders and quick with the beer refills. It also doesn't hurt that she is attractive. I have had occasion to visit this establishment three times for food and drinks and I have not been disappointed by the quality of the food, the service from our fine waitress, or the coldness of the beer.

Prices are very reasonable. The crowd that patronizes this place seems to be okay but I cant speak for the weekends. The only thing I have found that I didn’t like about this place is the fact that when a ticket to a flyer’s game was offered to the waitress, one of the owners wouldn’t let her take the night off to attend stating “She had a day off last weekend” What an ass.

 

GLENVILLE INN
7945 Glenville Rd, Glenville, PA   17329  717-235-3339

     

[1-2005] The Glenville Inn will always have a special place in my tavern-reviewing heart . When I was a boy and it still snowed consistently in PA, our snowmobiling trips would often end up here. The old guy who owned it would stay open and I think he even made sandwiches in addition to serving beer. When I hit 21, this was one of the first places I frequented and I can remember the cool breeze that blew through the trees outside. 

Like everything in life, the Glenville Inn has changed.  The old-timer has passed away and the bar is under new ownership. I am looking forward to getting back out there sometime this Spring.

[7-2005] Change is one of life's few constants.   After a week of mind-melting heat and humidity, a "cold front" pushed through Pennsylvania and the daytime temperatures didn't break the 90s and the humidity was reasonable.  The weather seemed even better in Glenville as the old trees cast their shade and a slight breeze moved across the parking lot.

I was surprised to see the round Guinness sign attached to the brick building.  Modern distribution has allowed Guinness to be served across the world but it's still odd to see it being tapped in Glenville.

The inside of the tavern seems pretty similar to what I remembered.  It is far less dark and dreary and small posters announce all sorts of events: weekly DJs, the previous night's pajama party, Wednesday Bike Nights where anyone who rides in gets a prize and the upcoming pig roast and party.

I didn't recognize anyone in the bar but I didn't really expect to. The latest owner is 'Bobby' who is the author of the printed sign behind the bar: "To whoever backed into my truck and didn't tell me... Thanks. Bobby".  An obvious HD biker - this explained the weekly bike nights and the HD themed Glenville Inn tshirts.

Dozens upon dozens of tankards hang from hooks. The mug club members' names engraved on the sides and the mug number on the bottom. The barmaid uses a stick with a hook on the end to retrieve them.  The barmaid was Heather - an nice looking girl that was slightly vertically challenged. She had the annoying habit of constantly pulling her small shirt down - seemingly to hide the decent sized tattoo on her lower back. If you get that part of your anatomy inked - why would you perpetually be yanking your shirt down? If you truly want to hide it, wear a longer tshirt.  She yawned and acted disinterested and didn't seem to have much energy for her job. When asked, she told me that she had worked there for 4 months and was a Marylander. She knew nothing about the decades old "Bean Club" whose annual meeting was coming up on Wednesday August 10th. 

I like the Glenville Inn. It has many fond memories for me. I like the wide variety of special events that they have - atypical for a small town bar. I didn't like the number of people who came through the kitchen - Bobby, the barmaid, at least one cook, a teenaged boy that I assumed to be the owner's son, an old lady and one or two more people.  Maybe the kitchen is spotless - I didn't see - I just hate seeing non-food service people strolling through the kitchen. Reminds me of the time that I was in a country taproom on their weekly stripper night. When the kitchen door swung open I saw a dancer pulling on her stockings while seated firmly on the sandwich cutting board that ran the length of the prep table.

A friendly looking guy made the circular hand sign and soon the barmaid was throwing (literally) a free beer token at me.  When I asked one of the drinkers who he was I was told he was the owner of the "BVI". When I asked what the BVI was - I was told it was a bar "down the road".  Mapquest says that Glenville to Manchester, MD is only 9 miles. Years ago it might as well been 90miles because the Glenville didn't draw a Maryland crowd. Now, with most things in Southern York County being completely mixed with Maryland influence, even this bar has become populated with folks from south of the border.

I drank my free beer and ate 1/2# of steamed shrimp ($5.50) and headed out the door. I hope to check out some of the their events this Autumn.  This place would do a lot wrong before it would overcome my happy memories.

[11-2006] Almost a year and a half has passed since I was last here. Where does the time go?  Today, EVERY automobile in the parking lot was sporting a Maryland license plate.  I wondered what has changed here. When I was a young lad I can't recall seeing more than a sprinkling of MD tags.

The barmaid was a bleached blonde biker looking lass with numerous unrelated tattoos, skin tight jeans and a shirt that revealed her feminine assets to anyone seated in front of a cooler where she bent to withdrawal a beer. She seemed locked in conversation with a guy at the end of the bar - to a degree that caused her to neglect several thirsty customers as they did their best to draw her attention.

The Glenville Inn's New Years Eve celebration will feature the band Poison Whiskey.  I didn't even know that they still existed. I saw them several times MANY years ago and remember that they absolutely rocked. I want to see them again.

 

GOOFY'S EATERY & SPIRITS
Route 116   Spring Grove, PA   17362   717-225-9909
N39 51.026    W076 53.665

 

2: Something new. Some sort of mini-market and 6 pack shop

[12-20-2003] After a several year absence from going to Goofy's I stopped in with the mission of killing an hour or two before a Christmas party. Hank Jr's “A Country Boy Can Survive” was playing on the jukebox and the bar was decorated nicely for Christmas. My first impression was that this bar looked like a bar should.

Pretzels and cheese spread were washed down by $1.50 Lager drafts as the great music continued to play. The bathroom has a chalkboard over the urinal and it actually had chalk. Numerous Goofy's items, suitable for holiday giving, were displayed: the $22 embroidered shirt as well as the red thong with official logo printed on the front.

The barmaid was attentive and my empty glass didn't sit long before being refilled. As I was getting ready to leave I ran into long-time friend Jim A. I didn't get to share a cold one with him because I had to leave but maybe next time.

<12-2006> The inside of Goofy's changes very little from year to year or even decade to decade. The outside has evolved greatly as time passages: deck, 6 pack store, picnic area.

HARDWARE BAR - YORK
 25 West Market Street   York, PA   17401   717-854-3494

www.hardwarebaryork.com     

[11-2006] Reviewer: Alki - This was supposed to be the bar the brought York Downtown back. For a few years it did and it inspired others to attempt to make the York city bar scene viable again. For a few years, it accomplished that goal. It offered something for everybody to include good cover bands, an arcade, a martini bar, and a hip-hop club. This place was always packed and always had nice looking women. But an unknown disease set in. This disease with no-name has attacked nearly every popular bar that has opened in recent years. For lack of a better term, I will call it dead-itis. In the initial stages of this disease, the more upscale middle class to upper middle class leave. All that is left are the trailer park types and fat chicks from around the county. The second stage of this disease is the absence of crowds. The last three weekend times I have been to this establishment, it has been dead. I would estimate barely enough people to make a profit for the evening. One thing I noticed on my last trip, is the addition of pool tables. This seems like this bar is starting to go into its death throws. I estimate that this bar two to three years of life.

[9-2007] Was just informed that the Hardware Bar has moved.  News to me.  So, I need to come to York to investigate Murph's and this bar.

HARP & FIDDLE
Route 116   Spring Grove, PA   17362   717-225-9909
N39 51.026    W076 53.665

       

1 & /2. The HF looks great from the outside  3: The manager sent an underling over to apologize  4. As we were leaving, the bouncer rushed out and accused us of "stealing a menu" - hark, it was not a lowly menu but a gift that the guest of honor was carrying. You never get a 2nd chance to make a good 1st impression ***see 7-2008 entry for update on this photo

 

[12-2004] Where do I start with this mess?  The saying, "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression" apples completely to my first visit to this pub.  York is so desperate for unique, new bars that this may very well be the only negative review ever written about this place. 

I will grant the owners of the Fiddle the fact that the response to their opening has far exceeded their projections and their staffing. However, when you see this happening, the obvious answer is to hire more people.  We gathered here late in 2004 for the send-off party for a friend who was about to deploy to Iraq as an officer in an Army combat arms unit.

The bar and restaurant were full of patrons and the staff was very busy. NONE looked like they were happy or having fun, NONE offered up a smile and Irish wit (read any other review and you will read about the 18+ Irish folks who are here on an 18mo contract to work here and how happy and witty they are).  After a reasonable wait we were placed in a small alcove just inside the main front glass window. We were the last table and no other patrons were beyond us.  Our group filled the tables and the rest stood around them. Instantly, an employee came over and said we couldn't stand there. Offering no legitimate explanation other than "the manager's rules".

The guest of honor, who was actually picking up the tab, assured the guy that we weren't going to disturb anyone and that our alcohol tab would be considerable by the night's end. He refused. When asked about opening the closed upstairs area - he also refused, saying that they didn't have the staff to do so. When we politely explained that this was a "going to Iraq" party and that we would come down to get our own food and beer and no staff would be needed - he still refused.

At this point, it became obvious that the Harp & Fiddle wasn't going to bend in the least bit and we decided to move to Cobblestone's (where we did, ate great food and dropped a ton of money).  The group gathered our belongings and assembled outside. We walked by the bouncer and manager without a single word from the boss.  Outside, the door goon came bursting out and accused us of stealing a menu - this on top of repeated inflexibility and poor service over the course of the last hour .  In spite of his formidable girth - he was lucky the half dozen males in the group (all emergency services and/or military) didn't pummel his ass.

I truly was wishing that the Harp & Fiddle would be a great place and live up to all it billed itself to be.  Now in their 3rd month of business I guess their high patron numbers make customer service irrelevant.  I have no intentions of returning anytime soon which is a crying shame with a smuch as I love Irish pubs.

[2-2005]   When leaving Park City I stopped to tie my shoe in the foyer of the Bon-Ton store.  A well-dressed lady was making a case on her cellphone about not returning to a bar that she didn't like.  Of course this caught my ear and my shoe tying turned into eavesdropping. I was even more piqued when I heard her say it was an Irish place. 

Never being one to hold back words, I asked her what business she was talking about. Turns out, it was the Harp & Fiddle. She had recently gone there with her friends and been treated to servers that looked like unhappy zombies.  It was an unfavorable first impression ( hmmm, there ARE more than one group of us).  She also stated, " I get the feeling there is something going on there". (I didn't say it!). 

[3-2005]  Rumor has it that the Harp has purchased a location in downtown Lancaster for their 2nd opening and that the owner has visions of franchising. Let's hope he has learned something from his first attempt. But, if your business is packed you don't have to focus as much on being friendly or good customer service. Gotta love lemmings and sheep!

[1-2007] Reviewer: Alki - Before I start this review, I should state up front that my previous visit at the Harp & Fiddle was not very enjoyable. That said, I thought I would give this place another shot to redeem themselves. I have heard a lot of gossip surrounding this bar, most of it negative. I have heard a lot of people complain about the prices at this place. Yorkers are a cheap lot and its hard to get away with charging Baltimore or Philly prices for drinks. When this place opened up, there were actually authentic Irishmen working at this place, but during my visit, none from the Emerald Isle were to be found. I would imagine that many had seen their periods of indentured servitude expire and they returned to the land of leprechauns. I went into the Harp & Fiddle on a Friday during happy hour intending to check out the York professional crowd. During the hour I spent there I chatted up a naval reserve officer and grew disgusted with this place all over again. First, I ordered one of the happy hour martinis which are supposed to be on special. When I ordered a gin martini with Bombay, I was told that was on the “list” of martinis that is 5.00. After finding a martini that I did want on this list, I asked what would go into it….Bakers Pride vodka and the mix. Cheap vodka gives me a headache and I had no desire to get a hang over. So much for a bargain….the martini I wanted was 9.00. Then I ordered a beer paid for the beer with a 20 dollar bill and didn’t get enough change back. When I asked the barmaid for the rest of my change, she said I didn’t give her a 20.00 bill, but a 10.00 bill. That was a pretty expensive beer. I am thoroughly disgusted with this place and I hope they go out of business.

[7-2008] Received the following email:

DEAR SIR PLEASE REMOVE THE PICTURE OF THE BOUNCER DUE TO THE FACT YOU HAD NO SAY BY THE PERSON IN THIS PICTURE ME. I NO LONGER WORK THERE SO I DONT WANT TO BE PART OF YOUR SITE WITH THEM LEGAL ACTIONS WILL APPLY. IF PICTURE IS NOT REMOVE THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME

This is not the first time someone has threatened legal action for a photo on here.  The real beauty of living in the USA is that in most cases I stand behind a little thing called the First Amendment.  The photo in question was shot from a public sidewalk and therefore is completely protected under my free speech rights.  Nothing libelous was printed and the witnesses to the evening would be a variety of Army Officers and NCOs and other upstanding people in local society.

That said, I can understand someone who no longer is employed with a business wanting to no longer be associated with that firm.  In this case the writer was polite.  WHO the bouncer was is not as important as the actions of that evening.

So, the pic stays but I have hidden the person's identity.

HOMETOWN HOTEL
108 Hellam Street (Route 462)  Wrightsville   PA   17368   717-252-2211

 

[8-2006] The Hometown Hotel has a bunch of fish/fishing related items. That's relevant as this tavern is just a few blocks from the river.

Several large rooms make up the inside and I was quiet surprised to see that my large cold beer in a frosted mug cost me only 75cents! The bar was full of guys and some of them looked like mutants who just emerged from the water.  Even pairing this with the barmaid who did not say anything - it was still worth it for a big draft that was so cheap!

Someone asked the barmaid if they would be open on Labor Day. She said that the kitchen may be closed but "this bar never freaking closes".  Funny.

JACKIE B's
300 Mulberry Street,  York,  PA  17403    717-854-6247

     

[2003] Jackie B's never seems to change much. It's always full, the smoke is always thick and there is almost always an attractive barmaid. The other near-constant is that the white haired owner is always hovering around and usually looks grumpy.

I really can't think of any superlatives to say about the atmosphere or beer at Jackie B's. I can't think of much bad to say either. Its a bar that seems to exist in neutrality. One problem is that there is always a broken glass problem outside. Watch where you drive and park.

I once watched a very nice looking barmaid, in a belly-exposing shirt that obviously wouldn't hurt her tips, compulsively keep tugging the shirt down as if she was trying to hide her belly and back. In the time it took me to drink two beers she tugged on that shirt 58 times. That one was hard to figure out.

The "wimpies" here are edible. For the uninformed, wimpies are balls of crabmeat and filler that are fried or baked. They are usually kept unrefridgerated in a glass jar near the bar. I have eaten dozens of wimpies in bars and never gotten sick but I bet that practice would make a food inspector's hair turn grey.

 

JAMIE'S COURTSIDE SPORTS
18 South Belmont St    York,  PA  17403    717-845-5560

JR'S TAVERN
1204 West Market Street   York  PA 17404  717-854-0001

 

                                  JEFFERSON INN  (formerly Pete's Place)
"On the square" 3 Hanover Street  Codorus,  PA 17311  (idiotic mailing address of Spring Grove PA 17362)
N39 49.013   W76 50.520

          

[2006]  This watering hole has been in business for decades in the small town of Jefferson. Ownership passed down from Pete to his son-in-law Dick and then was sold to the present owners.

When Dick ran the place he was often so cranky that he probably wouldn't have had any customers if he was not the only bar in town. Many times he decided to close up early and would literally open the door and stand there so people would get the hint.

He collected hats and displayed them in the small, and mostly unused, dining room. I think they were even in plastic bags to keep the dust off them.

 

KELLY'S INN
1906 N Sherman Street   York, PA   1740
6   717-755-3896

<2-2007> Kelly's hanging sign is shabby enough that it would be very easy to drive right by if you weren't familiar with its location on top of the hill.

This visit soon lead to a plate of cold steamed shrimp. Very good.

LEFT BANK RESTAURANT & BAR
120 N George Street    York,  PA  17401    717-843-8010

 

[6-2007]> Reviewer: ALKIE -   The Left Bank is a small place in York City (next to the Harp & Fiddle) that offers a big city dining experience. The décor is very trendy and the crowd that frequents this place. I have to confess that I have only had appetizers here, but what I have had has always been good and I always hear rave reviews about the food. The bar offers a great selection of wines, spirits, and beer.

The one thing I can never figure out is why this place closes at 11:00. I am almost positive that they would generate enough bar business to justify staying open to 1 AM or later, especially with the new stadium in York. I recently visited this place after a baseball game, and I was informed that when I walked in at 10:30, that it was last call. I ordered a drink but I could not get dinner. I asked them why the owner doesn’t keep the place open later, especially with the baseball crowd (and on a Saturday). I told the bartender it doesn’t make sense. I was informed in a matter of fact way that “everyone knows this is the best place in town” Okay……

Anyway, Aside from the apparent intransigance of the owner to stay open later, I enjoy the people and the atmosphere of this bar. After work is always a good time to patronize the Left Bank and I encourage you to start your evening here if out a weekend night.

 

MURPH'S STUDY HALL
850 Jessup Place   York, PA   17403
www.murphsstudyhall.com

 

[1-2005] Reviewer: ALKIE -   Every person who went to York College and mattered has been to this bar. Murph's doesn't have the best decor or the best ambiance, but waht it does have is and energetic crowd of college students and a packed dance floor.

Drink prices are very reasonable  and the food is always cheat yet good.   Even better, there are plenty of opportunities to meet members of the opposite sex.

One of the sad trends I have noted about Murph's is an ever-growing number of inner city hoodlum-looking types. It used to be that Murph's was mainly for YCP students. This is not the case anymore which is quite upsetting because Murph's will always have a special place in my heart. Two of the other big drawbacks here are that it is always crowded after 11PM on weekends and the bar service in  the rear is mediocre.

Overall, Murph's is a great place to check out for the 21-28 year old crowd.

[3-2007]>  Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!   It can't be!?!?!  I was just told that in a few months Murph's will be closing as Murph is facing ill health and advancing years.  I feel like a part of my insides has been ripped out. Even though its been years since I was in Murph's ( and my best days there were pre-laundromat ) I have always gained solace knowing Murph's WAS there - open and serving the needs of locals and coeds alike.

Murph's - the college bar that hosted countless rugby parties, drunken horny college students doing courting and mating rituals more elaborate than even the most fancy wild bird, and preserving a sliver of the fantasy depicted in the movie Animal House.

Of all the bars that deserve to live on forever - this is the one. I hope it somehow manages to stay open.

[3-2007]  Murph's is sold. The word is that the empire has been sold to the Greek owner of the Village Green Family Restaurant.  The college bar will be turned into, take a guess, another Greek family restaurant. That is the last thing York needs. The Depot may stay as is. Why not keep the Study Hall the way it is?  The last shebang will be the over the YCP alumni weekend on April 28th.

[9-2007]  Me oh my oh! It seems that Murph's has NOT morphed into a diner. It is still open under the same name (although something will always be missing from Murph's without Murph). I need to move this up higher on the investigation list.

[10-2007] Reviewer: Alki -     As a York College alum, I decided to check out Murph’s on an alumni weekend for York College and to see how the old bar is doing. The first thing that struck me when I walked up was a line almost like a que. The line moved pretty quickly and I noticed what was causing this momentary delay….the dreaded ID scanner. It looks like the new owner will be checking all IDs for all people regardless of how old you look. The days of just flashing any old card are over. After walking into the bar, I was pleased to see the place was busy, just like old times. The music was good and except for all the sports memorabilia being gone, it looked like the Murph’s of old. This is where the old and the new start to diverge.

You’d think that the Greek guy (yes, another Greek) who bought this place would be wise to the business. With one of the biggest weekends of the year at YCP, you need extra staffing to meet the increased demand. Well he didn’t. The staff all appeared to be new which I have to say is a good thing because it shows a lot of loyalty to Mr. Murphy. I waited nearly 15 minutes to even speak to a bartender to order something. When it was my turn, I drew the owner and when I attempted to clear my tab and pay for a drink, he told me in his best Henry Kissinger accented voice “You have card….I cannot help you” I waited an additional 10 minutes before a more competent server came and fixed the situation. Unbelievable!!!

I would like to think things will work out, but I really have my doubts.

 

NIKI'S SPORTS NOOK
215 Carlisle Street, Hanover, PA   17331   717-632-9494

  

[7-2005] Niki's Sports Nook is one of the bars that I first patronized when I was a young man. I remember asking someone there why it was called that and I was given the answer that Niki was the owners toddler son or grandson.

Not much has changed. I couldn't figure out if the large wood door in the front was an entrance to the bar (it is) or apartments. Walking along the side alley to find the rear entrance I noted the vast amounts of grease running down the wall from the kitchen vent. They must be cooking some good ol PA Dutch food in there!

The inside of Niki's is decorated in a sports theme - mostly with freebies from beer companies. The sole, small TV was tuned to an old movie but it wasn't long before a guy grabbed the remote and flipped to a gold tournament. The fellow who changed the channel came over to me and shook my hand and asked my name (he either didn't care or didn't notice when I told answered with "Thirsty"). The barmaid was an old lady wearing khaki cargo shorts and a sleeveless shirt.  In spite of the damage that the decades (and cigarettes and tanning?) had taken on her - it was plain to see that she was once a very beautiful woman. Her eyes still sparkled and she smiled widely at her customers joke and stupid comments.

The man next to me was a volunteer firefighter from just below the MD line. He told me that Niki's was his favorite bar and that he and his wife drove up just to go there. I asked him why and he said it was because they were always friendly there.

Niki's has a very nice old wood fireplace along the alley-side wall. I doubt its used anymore but it adds a great accent.

The beer was cold and not too expensive and the people did seem fairly friendly. I will have to stop back again soon and see if I spot a pattern.

OVERBROOK CAFE
40 Overbrook Ave, York, PA  17404  717-843-7914   717-843-7914

 

 

RACEHORSE TAVERN
738 North Biesecker Rd    Thomasville, PA  17364
N39 56.787   W076 51.662

 

   

[1-2007]  It has been over a decade  since I was in the Race Horse.  So long that I could not even remember the first thing about what the interior looked like.

The outside of this bar is scroungy - muddy, stone parking lot and a fugly building.  I would bet that more than one thirsty person has driven by without stopping - just because of its look.

The inside of the Horse is actually pretty nice - much larger than it looks from the road and well decorated.

I sat down and ordered a bottle of Coors.  Shantay (spelling?) was also a surprise - WAY better looking than I would have expected but probably one of the reasons for the hordes of men who surrounded the bar.  Cute, tanned and bubbly - she interacted with her regulars like she truly cared for their thirst and well-being.

I forget how much the beer cost but it was very reasonable and iced cold.  I almost barfed watching a middle-aged woman hanging all over her man - singing the jukebox song to him as she nibbled his ear and...well, I can no longer even think about it enough to continue the description.  Let's just say it was NOT the thing I wanted to see as I tried to relax.

 

RED ROCK CAFE
4550 Lincoln Highway   York (Hellam), PA  17406   717-755-3016

 

RED ROSE RESTAURANT & TAVERN
5370 Lincoln Highway   York (Hellam), PA  17406  

 

ROOSEVELT TAVERN
50 North Penn Street    York, PA   17401

www.roosevelttavern.com

[2004]  I used to work near the Roosevelt Tavern and would sometimes pop in for happy hours.  Their food was always good and their dimly lit barroom was often the location of people involved in romantic rendezvousing.

So anyway, one afternoon I am sitting there drinking a beer and a guy comes in and hollers - "A round for everyone!"  Turns out it was the father of hometown boy Ed Kowalczyk - the lead singer of the band LIVE.  Turns out LIVE's album had just hit #1 on the Billboard charts.

That is when LIVE was still big news in York. Before they announced in an interview that their hometown was someplace else (Lancaster I think) and then released a song about York entitled, Shit Towne. I guess that rules out their being giving the key to the city!

 TAILGATERS GRILLE & DRAFTHOUSE
204 St Charles Way  York, PA   17402   717-741-1159

 

[1-2005] Reviewer: ALKI  -  I am going to say this upfront. I hate this bar. It is a good place to watch car races on the weekends but that is it.  These people are the biggest ID Nazis I have ever seen. For some reason, the owner hates the military and will not accept a military ID card as proof of age.  This place scans everyone's driver's license and then makes them sign a receipt stating they are 21. They really hate out of state IDs and I have heard stories from friends of mine about getting major hassles here. Aside from the ID issue, the beer and food are okay, but, I would have to say overpriced. Take my advice and go find another place to spend your drinking dollars.  I would like nothing else to visit the going-out-of-business bash at his place.

[1-2007] Reviewer: ALKI -  I went into here before going to see a movie because Vito’s was closed. I was with a friend and we hadn’t shared a drink in a while. I haven’t set foot here in nearly 4 years and I wont do so again. Tailgaters is also known as “Schultzies” now and has the same bad food and expensive beer, except the food is now more expensive and the drinks are even more expensive. My friend and I chatted the waitress up and I was surprised when she accepted my military ID to buy my beer. Historically, this place was anti-military ID wanting a state ID that they can scan. They then would give you this Declaration of Age paper to sign…very tacky. They are the only bar to do this in York County. After our drinks were served we chatted up the waitress who told us she was living. Apparently the Schultz’ are miserable people to work for. There is constant turnover in the staff and this young lady hadn’t told Mr. Schultz that she was leaving because he fires people once they give notice. I offered to get the young lady a lawyer and help her sue the owners if they did this. Surprise surprise, traffic is way down at this place due to the recent increases in food prices. Bottom line: Stay away from this place like the plague. This waitress confirmed for me, what I have known for a long time. Keep driving down the road and go to Vito’s, Dunkin Donuts, etc.

 

  TOURIST INN
671 West Market Street   York (Hellam),  PA   17404   717-755-7629

www.touristinn.net     

   

[6-2006]  The "TI" has always been known as a biker bar and a place to go and hear metal music. Few bars in the area routinely offered as much live music as this one did. They also had Friday strippers in the back room.

But something happened to the TI. Whatever it was had an effect that was obvious from the outside as fewer cars and bikes were routinely seen there. Yes, the place was still full of Harleys on special weekends like the HD Open House or a HOG Rally but the numbers were definitely down.

New owners took over in July 2005 and the first thing they did was eliminate the dancers. They now announce that the place is cleaned up and different and that they will continue having loads of live music.  I will get by sometime soon to check for myself.

VITO'S PIZZA & BEER
 48 N Beaver St      York,  PA   17401   717-848-5369

www.vitospizzaandbeer.com

 

[1-2007] Reviewer: ALKI -  This is my favorite hometown pizza place. They have excellent pizza and subs and they have a great little bar in the corner. They have food and drink specials every night of the week except Saturday and the beer is always cold and cheap. The crowd is usually constant and I always see the same people in there. This is not the place to go pick up women or men, but it is a good place to watch sports and chat with the people thrre. It is truly a neighborhood bar. Vito’s is going to be expanding so it’ll be interesting to see what the place looks like in few months. Skip Tailgaters and check out this place. This is the best value bar in York.

[10-2007] Reviewer: ALKI -  Vito’s has completed its renovations and the place looks great! Vito’s is busier than ever and they really havent lost much of the charm and personality that they had when the bar was smaller. I think they sucking away the business from George’s and Tailgaters which they deserve to do. I wont cry in my beer if Tailgaters goes out of business. More tv’s for sports and the same great service and food.

 

 

WEST YORK INN
 1400 West Market Street    York, PA  17404    717-845-5885

WHEELIE BAR
 1033 North George Street     York, PA   17404  

WHITE ROSE BAR & GRILL
 1734 South Queen Street      York, PA   17403   717-843-1143

www.whiterosebarandgrill.com

[6-2007] Reviewer: ALKI -  The White Rose has transformed itself from dive York City Bar to decent place to hang out and eat. In the last few years, the owners have expanded the old bar and added a new outdoor, trendy bar with additional seating. The best time to come to this establishment is on a warm summer night. You can sit outside and watch the cars and people move on West Philadelphia St. Motorcycles are encouraged and its not unusual to see four or five parked outside on a good night.  I have eaten here a number of times and have always enjoyed my food - the wings are particularly excellent.  I think there food is just a bit overpriced in all fairness. The crowd usual varies, but it tends to be a better crowd and slightly older than what you might find at the Hardware Bar or like. The original bar is still open and brings in a completely different crowd and its always smoke filled so I avoid it.

Overall, the service is usually good, the drink prices are moderate, and the food is good. The White Rose is quickly becoming one of my favorite community watering hole. The inside bar usually has good music and has videos playing on a big screen. If you like outdoor seating this is definitely a great place to go in York.