What appears to be a quiet dive bar from the outside turns out to be a fun, rambunctious neighborhood gathering place once you step inside.
Longneckers in the Village of Lancaster was bustling with activity on a recent Saturday night. Balloons marking a birthday celebration lined the wooden frame above the bar in addition to the stringed lights that usually hang there.
My husband, Patrick, and I could tell the place would be packed just by looking at the parking lot, where there was only one spot left. Inside was buzzing with the sounds of people enjoying cake, darts and each other’s company. Young and old were having a wonderful time. (Not too young, mind you – how excited was I to be ID’d when I’m almost 40).
Twenty or so patrons hung by the bar while another 20 crowded around three small, square tables that were turned to look like diamonds. Several regulars chatted with the bartender as a woman re-entered from the frosty outside without a jacket on, obviously returning from a smoke break.
Gasps of “Brrr!” accompanied a bellow from a man imploring the woman to “close the door, you’re letting the cold air in!”
Almost every inch of the walls features framed odes to hops, wheat and barley. Everywhere you look, you can drink in the signs, ranging from Anchor Steam Beer to Yuengling. I desperately sought out a sign for a “Z” beverage, even Zima, to complete the A to Z reference, to no avail.
Our favorite: A Killian’s Irish Red plaque stating, “No shoes, no kilt, no service.”
There was plenty of beer for tasting. The draft selection was good for a small neighborhood bar and included Shock Top, Blue Moon, Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Genesee and Sierra Nevada seasonal. The bartender said the seasonal was spring – and after the long, cold winter, that sounded splendid.
Specials include $2 Mike’s Hard Lemonade and vodka tea. Wing and beer specials also are available, and patrons are encouraged to ask the bartender about them. Other fryer foods are available, mostly under $10, and include chicken fingers, fries, sweet potato fries and pretzels stuffed with jalapeno cheese or sweet cream cheese.
There’s plenty to do while enjoying a drink. A room in the back features a pool table and booth seating. One of the large flat-screens in the small dining area near the bar shows music videos for the songs playing on the Internet jukebox. For sports fans, the game can be found on the other two flat-screens, one behind the bar and another in the dining area.
To Patrick’s amusement, a bubble hockey game sat unused in a corner. He had to investigate, even though it meant bumping shoulders through the crowd and dodging darts. We found the cord unplugged and wrapped up, and at first, we figured the machine was out of order. Upon circling the toy, we found a sign noting that users should plug in the machine before putting in their $1.50.
Patrick decided he would beat me some other time, as the room was too crowded to get a game going.
If you’re looking for a place that is small, but not hole-in-the-wall small, and that has a decent but not overwhelming beer selection, Longneckers is great for meeting friends or finishing off a night on the town.
Where: 3587 Walden Ave., Village of Lancaster (684-7939).
Hours: Opens at 8 a.m. Monday to Saturday and noon Sunday. Closing time most days is when the last few patrons trickle out, but the bar is usually open until 4 a.m. Thursday to Saturday.
Dress code: Casual to night-on-the-town, depending on from where you are coming.
Parking: Large lot.
Wheelchair accessible: No.
Extras: Cash only, but ATM is available. Bar food available.