I don’t want anyone to think I’ve been slacking off since we published the first installment of Bars We Like back in April. The challenge of this column, I’ve found, isn’t the research, but the fact that once we find a place that meets our criteria – which includes good people, good food, reasonable prices, reasonable sound level and an easygoing community – we tend to want to keep going back to it, at the expense of new experiences. Still, in our travels this summer we’ve stopped in and made friends at some new places.
First, there’s Bobby Simone’s in Doylestown. Tucked away down an alley at 52 East State Street in Doylestown, the bar here is small, elegant, and comfortable. Its “U” shape makes it an easy place to have a conversation or two. The bartender is laid back, yet attentive. The food creative and good, ranging from small plates (like polenta, mussels, or calamari), to soups and salads, sandwiches, or full entrees (jerk seasoned pork chop, pub steak, a great Ahi tuna, fettucini and clams).
In Stockton, N.J., the Stockton Inn’s garden bar is worth crossing the river for. The Inn’s patio is huge and well-covered, so there’s no need to worry that a summer thunderstorm will get in your way here. Surrounded by lush foliage and a waterfall, the long bar overlooks two levels of outdoor dining room and is manned by a friendly staff who make honest drink and food recommendations. We ordered from the outdoor grill menu last Thursday evening – rib eye steak (at $2 an ounce) and shrimp and scallops, which arrived perfectly done. John Cifelli, the bartender, has a creative, if dangerous, list of summer libations he’s concocted, though Lynne only made it through one of them (which is a good thing.) This is the kind of place where folks will shift around to make room for you even before you have a chance to ask (thanks, Stephen). The Inn also has a bar inside that has a friendly vibe to it, and we’ll try that out when the weather turns cool.
Stay tuned: There’ll be more.
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