Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kelly's Bar & Lounge

Last night, my sister made good on her promise to take me out to a bar (part of my Christmas present this year). I chose Kelly's, a bar and lounge I've been meaning to check out for a while now. Thankfully, Karl joined us after a long day of skiing at the Seven Springs Resort, so we didn't have to walk the mile and a half to the bar and back.

The inside of the bar looks more like a diner. There are no tables, just a couple of rows of booths separated from the bar by a 3-foot-high divider. The decor is very retro, kind of like a 1950's style diner.

The special of the night was the Manhattan ($4), a cocktail I've never had before, so Sara and I started out with those. Sara had hers on the rocks (over ice in an old-fashioned glass), while mine was up (no ice, served in a martini glass). I enjoyed mine so much I ordered three more, while Sara switched to beer, of which there wasn't a huge selection, but it wasn't exactly slim pickings either. There were 8 or 9 beers on tap. Karl had the Penn St. Nick, and Sara had Iron City, Yeungling, and Straub.

Karl ordered some food since he hadn't had dinner, so I got to taste his fried fish tacos ($7.50). They were piping hot and absolutely delicious. I usually think of fish tacos as having grilled fish, but these were lightly breaded and fried slabs of tilapia. I didn't get much of a taste, since Karl was so hungry that he scarfed both tacos down in about 5 minutes.

I was starting to get hungry, but I refrained from spending money on the other tasty-looking items on the menu: pierogis and kielbasa ($9), sweet-potato french fries ($4.50), macaroni and cheese ($6, or $4 for a small plate)...etc, etc. I had to put that menu down!

One thing I really liked about Kelly's was their association with Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC), an organization whose mission is to "breed, raise, and release cocktails that are endangered or even believed to be extinct." As a result, Kelly's serves classic cocktails like the Grasshopper, the Pink Squirrel, The Gin & Sin, and the Firefly ($7 each). I'd like to go back and try some of them some time, maybe when they are on special.

The only things I wasn't crazy about was the really loud jukebox (classic style, not the touch-screen kind) and the smokiness. I'm not against smoking in bars, but there wasn't much air circulation in that small space, so it sort of exacerbated the situation.

I'll probably be going back, though!

Make your own Manhattan (and other classics)!


3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 maraschino cherry

Place cherry in bottom of martini glass. Shake the vermouth, whiskey, and bitters in a shaker with ice, and strain into the glass. Enjoy!
(Can also be served over ice in an old-fashioned glass)


1 oz Creme de Menthe (or other mint liqueur)
1 oz Creme de Cacao White
1 oz light cream
chocolate shavings (garnish)

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice, then strain into a martini glass. Sprinkle chocolate shavings on top.

Pink Squirrel

1 oz Creme de Noyaux
1 TBSP Creme de Cacao White
1 TBSP light cream

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice, then strain into a martini glass.

Gin & Sin

1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz orange juice
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 tsp grenadine

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice, then strain into a martini glass.


1 oz vodka
4 oz grapefruit juice
1 tsp grenadine

Shake the vodka and grapefruit juice in a shaker filled with ice and strain into a martini glass. Add the grenadine in the center of the drink (don't stir), then serve.