American Public House Review celebrates first anniversary!

Today we begin our one year anniversary of the American Public House Review.  Last October our journey began and it is hard to believe that we have been at it for a year already.  But this is a labor of love, and as is the case of with most fun things time really flies.
details at the Braveheart

details at the Braveheart

In observance of this anniversary month, we here at the Pub Talk blog will take a look back at some of our favorite places we visited in this last year.  To begin, we travel back to a place we enjoyed in our very first issue.  It is a fabulous Scottish Pub in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley called “Braveheart Highland Pub”.

With big towns like Bethlehem, Easton, and Allentown right near by, it is easy to pass over Hellertown.  But if you are a lover of great pubs, that would be a mistake.  “Braveheart” is an attraction onto itself.  Whether you want great food, a terrific beer selection, or football from the United Kingdom you’ll find it there.

Posted by: David McBride


Finding great music in unexpected places

A few months ago I wrote about a terrific pub found in a place you probably wouldn’t expect to find a great tavern, Walt Disney World in Florida.  But that is exactly where you find the Rose and Crown pub at the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot.  But that isn’t the only surprise you may find in that neck of what locals call “the Mouse”.  You’ll also find some seriously good Celtic flavored rock.

Off Kilter

As you walk out of the front doors of the Rose and Crown take a right and head towards the Canada pavilion.  Just before you get there, you’ll see a stage on the right.  Now take a look at the schedule the over-friendly person with permanent smile on his or hers face gave you when you walk in.  If it says Off Kilter is going to play soon in Canada, take a seat and have a listen.  You won’t be disappointed.

Five days a week, and five time during those days, five men from everywhere but Canada play a unique blend of hard rock and Celtic folk at the Canadian Pavilion.  Unlike Disney’s normal way of doing things, these guys may not fit the theme of their surroundings seamlessly.  Like I said, none of them are actually from Canada and what they play is mostly not at all Canadian.  But not a single employee I met that works in the Canada pavilion, all of them natives our northern neighbor, cares about that in the least.  All they care about is that Off Kilter is good, very good.

one of the gems of Walt Disney World

So have a seat, perhaps bring a pint with you, and be ready for a high energy performance form a band of virtuosos.  You’ll hear contemporary tunes, beautiful bagpipes melodies, and great traditional songs.  And they are all done with a flair only Off Kilter can provide.

posted by David McBride of the American Public House Review

Mitchell’s Cafe offers an honest Irish Ceili

With only three days until St. Patrick’s Day (and who’s counting?) we take a look at one of New Jersey’s great and largely unheralded Celtic gems.  Ed Petersen makes his way into Mitchell’s Café in Lambertville, a beautiful and quaint town hugging the Delaware River, for a roaring session of traditional Irish music.

Mitchell’s Cafe in Lambertville, NJ

While Mitchell’s may not look and feel like your typical local Irish pub, on the first and third Wednesday evenings of each month it looks, feels and sounds like you have been transported straight to the heart of County Cork.  Take a look at some of Ed’s feelings on this event…

As I search for a few words to convey the richness and joyfulness of this evening in Mitchell’s Cafe, all I can find to say is that the music was beyond description and the comradery beyond compare. The experience perhaps embodied perfectly that quality in a tavern which we at the AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW are forever seeking; and when we find it, share it with you. What is that quality? It’s not about beverage selection, the food, the decor, nor even the history of a pub. It’s about the energy and the fellowship found inside its walls. It’s about the soul of a place, and the spirit which is created when folks convene for no other reason than to share an hour, hoist a glass, and celebrate our journey together towards .  .  . who knows where?

Now if this seems like hyperbole to you, then you haven’t seen a true Irish Ceili in person.  It can raise your spirits instantly and keep a smile on your face for days after.  Have a look at Ed Peterson’s “A Bonny Celtic Music Session”.

In session at Mitchell’s


Chris PohAt some point during the cobbling together of this particular issue someone requested a file name for November’s content. After a cursory review of the articles my response was call it “The War Years.” Whether by intent or fortune this author and our merry band of stringers seemed to have wandered into pubs that have a profound connection to the armed conflicts that have defined this nation. It seems that guns, guts and glory have always been the convenient forte of the fourth estate.

Contained within these pages are the memories and stories of those who have fought, and in many instances given the last full measure on behalf of country. Framed in perfect settings of wood and stone, and accented with the trophies and artistic depictions of battle, these stories take on a lore and grandeur that soften the suffering and hardships of battle. But in many other locations throughout this land are much simpler rooms that serve as the final post for those that truly understand the brutality, bloodshed and tragedy of war. To these veterans and legionnaires we raise our glasses.

Next month our reporters take on rough seas and salt water. Our roving scribes will be anchored in bars from the beaches of California to the rugged coastline of Maine. As for me, the only salt that I’ll taste will be on the rim of a Margarita glass from the relative calm of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Till then we wish you a great November and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chris Poh

A friend inquired about the possibility of featuring a particular establishment in this publication. I think he was surprised by the rapid response which questioned the merits of this well respected edifice of fine food and drink. “If a great space, with a fantastic location, featuring outstanding product and service doesn’t warrant inclusion what does,” he asked? My answer was simply this, “…community.”

The worth of a public house is measured by the efforts of its patrons, owners and staff to establish a space that welcomes everyone as equals and treats all who enter with the same regard and respect. It is a community that provides comfort, wise counsel and camaraderie. It is the family front porch of a bygone era, and the parliament of the common man.

In this first issue, our staff’s explorations remained close to home. This being a shared belief that one should celebrate and appreciate one’s own backyard before venturing over the fence. Future editions will include images and stories from pubs located throughout North America with occasional forays beyond.

As the content of this first run came together it was apparent that it was heavily influenced by the spirit and the traditions of those who inhabit the British Isles. This was much more a case of serendipity than a function of design. Had this outcome been a matter of planning, we would not have overlooked those bold Tudors who ascended the English throne under Henry the VII. Before our time is done, the editorial staff will make every effort to recognize the people of Wales and their generous contributions to the life and legacy of the public house.

Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 10:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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