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        BRAVE MACKENZIE green logo
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS POH


The Friday afternoon before Easter finds me not sitting in my usual chair. The regularly scheduled mix of political banter and folk music at WDVR FM has been preempted by a bit of dated radio drama depicting those events that fueled Christian beliefs. At least my left flank is still guarded by my good friend, producer, co-host and creative director of this publication, Ed Petersen. it is his recommendation that has brought me to the BRAVEHEART HIGHLAND PUB.



Between pints of Belhaven Scottish Ale we are escorted on a tour of this fine establishment by Robbie, the manager who has found his way to Hellertown, Pennsylvania by way of Manchester, England and Ayrshire in Scotland. I am very impressed by this structure. For a new pub attempting to capture the spirit and look of the land of William Wallace and Robert Burns, it has not given into the temptation to overdo the theme, as so often is the case with most American attempts to recreate the UK or Irish public house experience. The building is a good balance of historic renovation, local craftsmanship and Caledonian authenticity.


Flag at Braveheart Highland Pub in Hellertown, PA as seen in American Public House Review


 The Saturday afternoon before Easter finds me back on the same stool I had warmed twenty-four hours earlier. This time my wife, Fran is riding shotgun. She shares a similar appreciation for Belhaven. Once more, Robbie is on the floor with Kenny, a mate who has found employment via a similar journey to the states. As Fran and I raise our glasses, we recall the acquaintance of another young Scotsman who had come to these shores in hope of acquiring his piece of the American dream.


The taps at Braveheart Highland Pub in Hellertown, PA as seen in American Public House Review
AN AUTHENTIC SCOTLAND PUB EXPERIENCE


We met Scott Mackenzie at Buskers, an Irish tavern in Newport, Rhode Island. He had arrived earlier that day with nothing more than his wits, a few dollars, and the promised position of caddy at an upper crust  golf course  affiliated with his club back home in Inverness. My wife and I adopted this wandering Jacobite for the better part of that day. We provided comfort, counsel, contacts, a few pints, and a motor yacht tour of Narragansett Bay. At the close of the evening we entrusted Scott to the care of a local girl who seemed intent on looking after his wellbeing.





While we've never had the chance to share the finer details of Scott's time abroad, there have been messages of thanks and well wishes from Inverness. On one return call, I was able to speak with the matriarch of the Mackenzie clan. She thanked Fran and I for looking after her son, who was unable to take my call because he had already gone down to the pub.


Original bathroom art at Braveheart Pub in Hellertown, PA as seen in American Public House Review
Original men's room art at Braveheart Pub in Hekkertown, PA as seen in American Public House Review
CHARMING ORIGINAL ART IN THE RESTROOMS


When I think of Scott, I remember the countless young men whom I've known and worked with over the years; men who by fortune or misfortune have broken ties and crossed borders in order to share in the bounty that is America. In most instances, I have no knowledge of how their aspirations played out. There have been no calls from other countries, or words of appreciation from grateful relatives. There are just memories of generous and hard working souls from other lands that have enriched my life, and I believe  have enriched the life of this nation.


Stained glass thistle at Braveheart Highland Pub in Hellertown, PA as seen in American Public House Review
THE THISTLE IS THE SYMBOL OF SCOTLAND

                                                                                
We are now engaged in a debate to determine the status of many of these people. One can easily  argue the merits of both sides' point of view; but we must not lose sight of the simple truth that the status of a man is not the measure  of the man. What is to be deemed legal or illegal is largely determined by the whims of policy makers and the pens of politicians.



William Wallace representation at Braveheart Pub in Hellertown, PA as seen in American Public House Review

Robert the Bruce representation at Braveheart Highland Pub in Hellertown, PA as seen in American Public House Review
WILLIAM WALLACE

ROBERT THE BRUCE


The vast majority of those who cross oceans  or step over borders do so for the same reasons that have always driven men to seek a better life. Like others who have gone before them, they will be called invaders and interlopers by those who seek to protect the sovereignty of their own established territory.
                                                


A shelf at Braveheart Highland Pub in Hellertown, PA as seen in American Public House Review
MEMORIES FROM THE OLD SOD

                                             

I can respect the resolve of either side, but in this instance I choose to toast those intrepid individuals that risk the journey. I raise a glass to Brave Mackenzie.


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BRAVEHEART HIGHLAND PUB


430 MAIN STREET

HELLERTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA 18055


610-838-655


bravehearthighlandpub.com



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