Give me Liberty or Give me Beer

Actually, I’m not really much of a drinker, but when I do drink, I like specialty beers from small breweries such as Southern Tier.  The image above is for one of my very favorite beers, Pumpking.  They also make a great wheat beer called “Heavy Weizen.”  

I’m getting off track already…. This post is really about the Liberty Street Tavern, in Allentown’s west end.   Under various owners, this has pretty much consistently been a corner bar and pizza shop forever… at some point one of the owners allowed a few too many underagers to imbibe in their establishment, and the bar got its liquor license stripped.  Ultimately, this was a blessing in disguise, because now Liberty Street is an all-beer bar with a selection that beats out most in the LV (maybe Porter’s Pub in easton comes close).  

For a few years now, Liberty Street was flying under the radar as a good bar that didn’t often get overcrowded like some other bars in the neighborhood (ahem, callys on a saturday night?), and a place to get a good cheap slice of pizza while enjoying a few beers with friends.  

After Cannons closed, regulars such as myself seemed to scatter off to other locations, and I generally stuck to Liberty Street – it was walking distance from my house and especially over the summer, when I am most sociable, also usually pretty quiet.  I ran into friends there pretty often, which was one of the charms of Cannons, and slowly some familiar faces from the Cannons staff started showing up at Liberty Street behind the bar.  First, Steve Wilt, filmmaker and bartender extraordinaire started picking up bartending hours.  Then the menu started featuring specials that looked surprisingly familiar…

As Mrs. Dottie pointed out on a recent post, the cook from Cannons, has started cooking at Liberty Street Tavern as well.  The food is cheap and delicious, what beats that?  Not much.  BD and I went for dinner this week with some friends of ours, and were NOT disappointed.  

Again, two disclaimers:

First, they still allow smoking in this bar, which sucks.  Hopefully as the food becomes a bigger part of their sales they will go smoke-free, but for now its kind of icky.  We got there pretty early, so there wasn’t really any smoke until the end of our meal when the bar crowd started to roll in.  

Second, this place was packed, which I would not have ever guessed for 6:30 on a weeknight, so I guess…. get there early if you want to get a table?

In any event, you will find that the menu is greatly expanded (the “specials” section of the website gives you about 1/5 of the new menu).

I enjoyed the potato leek soup, and one of our friends got the Butternut Squash soup, both were great (totally the exact same as at Cannons).  The potato leek is not super heavy, and its just slightly peppery, but not overpowering to the flavors of the veggies.  The Butternut Squash is and always has been one of the best I’ve ever had, its made with some kind of smoked pepper, maybe chipotle?  I’m not exactly sure, but it complements the flavor from the squash very well and makes for a hearty and delicious soup!

Then BD got a sandwich of some kind that looked amazing but I didn’t get to try any of it.  It was a ratatouille pocket…. I think the pocket might have been pizza dough, but it wasn’t ridiculously big like a calzone or anything.  Either way, it was stuffed with what looked to be a delicious mix of eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and onion, all cooked into a thick filling.  

I got the Aladdin Plate, which, as you might guess was a mediterranean type deal with some hummus, some bruschetta, and a feta spread.  The hummus was super awesome, full of flavor and smooth and light.  The feta was pretty yummy, too, but the bruschetta wasn’t for me.  

Our friends enjoyed the vegetable quesadilla which was full of grilled veggies and cheese, that will probably also be on my list of “try this” dishes for a future visit…

While we were there, Steve informed us that every Wednesday they have pizza night, and a whole pie is $6!  I mean, yeah I know you can get a $6 pie from some other pizza places, but this is damn good pizza and I call that a bargain.  I will definitely be returning one week in the not too distant future to take advantage of that!

I wasn’t drinking so I can’t tell you about any of the beers that BD or our friends had, but this is the kind of place where there really is something for every taste, if you are a beer drinker.  I’m told that this place rarely gets overrun by co-eds, but if you, like me, are not inclined to go drinking with a bunch of loud 21 year olds desperately trying to get laid, the next few weeks would be a great time to check out Liberty Street, since the college students are away on their semester break until mid-January.

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4 Responses to “Give me Liberty or Give me Beer”


  1. 1 Sarina December 22, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    This is a great spot. It’s definitely quieter when the college crowd is on break. It’s not very good beer, but you can’t beat a $3 PBR pitcher in the summertime. For some reason, Pabst’s leaves the list when Muhlenberg is in session. We call it the summer beer for they offer for the townies!

  2. 2 Michael December 25, 2008 at 12:36 am

    The Rogue brewery sign in the window is an indication that this place cares about the beer. Do you know if they have any bottles from Stone Brewery near San Diego?

    I, too, lament that they’re not smoke-free. My wife and I live so close. It would be an ideal place to get good food and excellent beer. But not if we need shower upon returning home to wash off the stench of second-hand smoke.

  3. 3 capri December 25, 2008 at 10:05 am

    I don’t know offhand, but I’ll try to remember to check and report back the next time I go. When we went last week, we actually sat at a table in the back room and there was no smoke at all – even the main room was full of diners rather than smokers. But like I said, we got there pretty early and I’m sure if we had stuck around longer it would have started to get gross. You can always stop in and carry out a mixed 6 pack of fancy beers from niche breweries.

  4. 4 Michael December 26, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Thanks, Capri. Of course, nothing is stopping me from walking the two blocks to check it out myself. I’ll report back if I beat you there.


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