Your Guide to Main Line Bar Musts

A town-by-town rundown of great watering holes.

Above: McClosdkey’s Tavern in Ardmore and its famous shepherd’s pie.


McCloskey’s Tavern

Billed as the oldest Irish barroom on the Main Line, McCloskey’s has been slinging pints for more than three-quarters of a century. In recent years, it’s added an impressive craft-beer lineup—and don’t miss the apple-Jameson chicken wings, which go especially well with a whiskey-splashed beverage.

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What to drink: A house-made shandy. 17 Cricket Ave., Ardmore, (610) 642-9280,

Honorable mention: John Henry’s Pub, 98 Cricket Ave., Ardmore, (610) 726-9193,


Berwyn Tavern

This 55-year-old neighborhood institution satisfies countless regulars with its stick-to-your-ribs fare, ample TVs, cozy back patio, and specials galore. Check out the tap list for your craft fix. Major holidays are reunion time, when multiple generations of BT fans pack the place. 

What to drink: A Sam Adams seasonal. 625 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 889-9352.

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Honorable mention: 30 Main, 660 E. Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 220-2367,


Garrett Hill Ale House

Though it’s only been around for a few years, this amiable joint has the lived-in feel of a classic. Choose from more than 90 bottled beers and 20 drafts. Or sample a flight of four drafts for just $7.50, while also perusing the surprisingly diverse—and quiet consistent—menu. The Alehouse Brunch is also a keeper.

What to drink: An Evil Genius Purple Monkey Dishwasher (before it’s gone). 157 Garrett Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 519-0500,

Honorable mention: The Grog Grill, 863 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-5870,

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The Gables at Chadds Ford

Situated on what was originally part of a William Penn land grant, this family-owned gem has a mirror-backed bar, a well-appointed dining room, and a tented outdoor patio. Patrons appreciate the solid draft selection, unique concoctions like the adult ice-cream float (served in a mason jar), and seasonal options with house-infused fruits.

What to drink: A Bing cherry mojito. 423 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-7700,

Honorable mention: McKenzie Brew House, 451 Wilmington West Chester Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 361-9800,


Ron’s Original Bar & Grille

The 200 bottles and 20 tap beers are a major draw, but also give Ron’s signature cocktails a try. Barkeeps coax intriguing flavors from fresh mixers, including an organic option.

What to drink: A cinnamon-toast martini. 74 Uwchlan Ave., Exton, (610) 594-9900,

Honorable mention: Brickside Grille, 540 Wellington Square, Exton, (610) 321-1600,

From left: The fish tacos are a favorite at Campbell’s Place, as is the cozy interior.


Campbell’s Place

This 100-plus-year-old bar is now a historic-meets-edgy haunt. The narrow, brick-lined space is defined by its leather-studded booths and antique mahogany bar. You can’t go wrong with any of its variations of the classics. Think: Sidebar, Dark ’n’ Stormy and Negroni.

What to drink: A Bulleit Sazerac. 8337 Germantown Ave., Chestnut Hill, (215) 242-1818,

Honorable mention: McNally’s Tavern, 8634 Germantown Ave., Chestnut Hill, (215) 247-9736,


The Whip Tavern

This authentic English pub, hidden away in the Chester County country-side, has a wonderful patio, a robust Eurocentric brew list, and hard-cider offerings from here and abroad. You can bring other libations-—but why bother?

What to drink: Thatchers Green Goblin Oak Aged Cider. 1383 N. Chatham Road, Coatesville, (610) 383-0600,

Honorable mention: Mr. E’s Tavern, 313 W. Kings Highway, Coatesville, (610) 384-4356,



Isabella’s thought-provoking, garden-sourced drink recipes are the perfect match for its colorful, contemporary atmosphere and tapas-style dining. House-made offerings like cucumber-infused Tanqueray and jalapeño-infused Milagro share top billing with key-lime- pie martinis and other clever creations.

What to drink: A strawberry-basil martini. 382 E. Elm St., Conshohocken, (484) 532-7470,

Honorable mention: The StoneRose, 822 Fayette St., Conshohocken, (484) 532-7300,


Station Taproom

This cozy spot brings a low-key hip quotient to Downingtown’s budding town center. It offers an exceptional whiskey selection and an impressive tap-and-bottle list, plus a tasty, affordable menu and a craft-beer inventory that changes often.

What to drink: WhistlePig’s Boss Hog, a 12-year-old single-barrel rye, served neat. 207 W. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, (484) 593-0560,

Honorable mention: Victory Brewing Company, 420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown, (610) 873-0881,


The Old Guard House Inn 

The martinis are sharp and cold, the wine list is petite yet refined, and the bartenders never forget your name. With its devotion to classic cocktails—and repeat pours of cognac—this rustically genteel 18th-century landmark is a true throwback to the old Main Line. 

What to drink: Rosé sangria. 953 Youngsford Road, Gladwyne, (610) 649-9708,

Honorable mention: Is there another place worth mentioning in Gladwyne?


The Crossbar

This super-friendly beer-and-shot joint aims to please with its ample mahogany bar, chalkboard beer list, and thoughtful spirits menu. A great place to catch a game-—any game. What to drink: A shot of Fireball Whisky, chased with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. 2225 E. Darby Road, Havertown, (610) 449-4200,

Honorable mention: Roache & O’Brien’s, 560 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford, (610) 527-6308.


Two Stones Pub

The first Pennsylvania outpost of this burgeoning Delaware chain has earned raves for its stellar craft-beer list and excellent, seasonal gastropub fare. Less has been said about its killer cocktails, which incorporate fresh herbs and fruits. What to drink: An Incognito. 843 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, (610) 444-3940,

Honorable mention: Half Moon Restaurant & Saloon, 108 W. State St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-7232,


The Flying Pig Saloon

It’s no-frills done right at the Pig—in the form of a fantastic beer selection that features hundreds of brews from around the world. The hearty sandwiches make this most treasured of neighborhood institutions a lunchtime favorite.

What to drink: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. 121 E. King St., Malvern, (610) 578-9208.

Honorable mention: The Office Bar and Grille, 1021 Morehall Road, Malvern, (484) 318-7806,



Derek’s is home to one of the area’s best wine lists. Or set your sights on one of the “candy” cocktails, made from vodka infused with Skittles, Nerds and more. Other noteworthy ingredients include crème de cassis, house-made grapefruit bitters, and Fernet-Branca.

What to drink: A Bijou. 4411 Main St., Manayunk, (215) 483-9400,

Honorable mention: East End Tavern, 4001 Cresson St., Manayunk, (215) 482-4944.


Diego’s Cantina & Tequila Bar 

Forty-plus tequilas make Diego’s a must for margarita lovers. Or try an Old-Fashioned made with mescal. The wine list favors South American reds and whites, and standout bar bites include chorizo tacos with onions and cilantro (just $2 during happy hour).

What to drink: A margarita with jalapeño and fresh-squeezed lime. 214 W. State St., Media, (484) 442-8741,

Honorable mention: Old State Tavern, 38 State Road, Media, (610) 566-9920.


The Greeks Arcadia Chios Tavern

A Narberth standby since 1922, the Greeks has enjoyed sustained success by keeping up with its discerning patrons’ changing tastes. It currently boasts 18 rotating craft beers on tap and over 950 bottles. Fill a growler, or grab a six-pack to-go.

What to drink: Founders Brewing Co.’s Rübæus. 239 Haverford Ave., Narberth, (610) 664-8655,

Honorable mention: Pub of Penn Valley, 863 Montgomery Ave., Narberth, (610) 664-1901,


TJ’s Restaurant & Drinkery 

One of the first spots in the area to fully embrace the beer-obsessed gastropub dictate, TJ’s maxes out at an impressive 26 taps and 100-plus bottles—many of them hard to find. The cider, Scotch, bourbon and wine lists are also strong.

What to drink: Laphroaig Quarter Cask Whisky—neat. 35 Paoli Plaza, Paoli, (610) 725-0100,

Honorable mention: Redhound Grille, 128 Paoli Pike, Paoli, (484) 318-8047,


A beer at Molly Maguire’s is a must when in Phoenixville, as are its authentic fish-and-chips.


Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant & Pub

They take Irish seriously here, right down to the bar itself, which was imported from the ould sod. The friendly staff is always ready to help you choose from among any number of beers, whiskeys or Emerald Isle specialties.

What to drink: Baileys Irish Cream on the rocks. 197 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (610) 933-9550,

Honorable mention: Sips Bistro & Bar, 400 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (484) 924-9721,


Bar Savona

With more than 1,200 bottles in its wine cellar and an on-site sommelier, it’s no wonder Bar Savona was honored with Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. A sophisticated yet approachable menu ensures spectacular pairings.

What to drink: A glass (or bottle) of Ramey 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pedregal Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley. 100 Old Gulph Road, Gulph Mills, (610) 520-1200,

Honorable mention: 333 Belrose Bar & Grill, 333 Belrose Lane, Radnor, (610) 293-1000,


Teresa’s Next Door 

One of the area’s first and best gastropubs, Teresa’s is always crowded, which says a lot about the food, the service and the beer selection. The cocktails pack an intelligent punch, too. Even when it’s three deep at the bar (which is often), you’ll be sipping a fresh, new discovery in no time.

What to drink: A Bulldog Gin Negroni. 124 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 293-9909,

Honorable mention: White Dog Cafe, 200 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 225-3700,


Side Bar & Restaurant

With its rock-solid regular menu, imaginative specials, well-researched beer list, and inspired cocktails, Side Bar has fast become the best all-around watering hole in a town filled with them.

What to drink: An Orange Jewel. 10 E. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 429-8297,

Honorable mention: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, 3 W. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 738-9600,

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!