Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Good Things and Small Packages

It's an old maxim, but in this case it applies to a gem of a pub in Easton, PA called Porters' Pub.

In terms of square footage, the pub is definitely Lilliputian; but in terms of beer, food, value and that evanescent quality called heart, it's positively Brobdingnagian. If you don't understand the reference, go read Swift's Gulliver's Travels.

You can read the fascinating history of this vintage, stone-walled 1833 building on the site above, but you may only get a taste of the blood, sweat and tears that went into the eighteen months of getting the place ready to open in 1990.

The Worst Bar in Easton?
Clearly every drop of sweat was worth it. This pub has a charm that enveloped me the moment I entered, one which I expect will continue in the future. The bar is comfortable and clean, but not at all large. To get a seat at it, especially on a Friday or Saturday night is an achievement to be treasured. The rest of the place has comfortable, though limited seating space, and that includes the church pews owner Larry Porter uses for special beer events. It holds 75 people.

And 150 beers, many of them much sought after. I had a Smuttynose Baltic Porter that gives Synebrychoff a run for its money. That it matched up perfectly with my Duck Sausage and Bacon dish was icing on the cake. And it also complemented the special dish Chef Derek Chimel asked us to try--Hops-Infused Bacon I think it was called-- thick slivers of seasoned pork belly surrounding Cascade hops that had been injected into it.

At Porters', you're a stranger just once. Whether you chat with James Flynn, the bar manager, Abby the server or with regulars like Stephanie at the bar, your conversation will be worthwhile--and there are no TV's to interrupt it. You may even get to see Chef Derek Chimel emerge from the kitchen with a new dish for you to sample. If that happens, sample it. You will not be sorry. My photographer Kacy declared the Chicken Quesadillas to be awesome.

A glance at the low ceiling will reveal the much-revered pewter-like mugs that adorn the ceiling of the place. Some 4300 of the vessels hang there, with room for plenty more. All numbered and named, you can earn one by consuming every beer on the list the pub will provide. Enrollment is free. Retired teacher Stephanie (who was at the bar when we arrived) was downing a Corsendonk Brown, her 31st from the list. She was proud that she had the most completions of any Porters' female patron so far.

Larry Porter also does "Pub Crawls," but he doesn't mean simply walking up the street to Black and Blue or Two Rivers. Check out the destinations on Porters' web page. Larry clearly runs with the big dogs.

Another nice thing about this pub is the absence of usurious, blood-sucking parking meters. In Easton, the meters run up to 6th Ave., and the pub is on 7th and Northampton in a residential neighborhood. The gelt you save can be better used at Porters' anyway.

"We're always open," says Larry. "Even during power failures, like the one caused by Sandy. We were open on Halloween using candles and a cash payment system. Everybody loved it."

The pub just feels "right." Maybe it's the age of the building, the corner location, the rock-walled ambiance, the great beer list, the great food and the nice folks that inhabit the place.

Or the attention to details. Like the fact that Porters' Pub, owned by three brothers named Porter, properly uses the apostrophe in the plural possessive form.

Only an old-school English teacher (like Stephanie and I) would notice that detail, however.


The PubScout

Addendum: Check out more pictures from Porters' Pub here.
All photos property of Kaseclosed Photography

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