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 A Christmas Crawl through Bethlehem
   


Story and Photographs by Chris Poh





Sadly, the essence of the Christmas season eludes my grasp during most years. There are too many cookies with too little flavor, too much gifting but not enough giving, too many lights yet no illumination, too many destinations without ever being there. But thankfully, there have been those rare occasions during the holidays when I’ve actually managed to stop and smell the balsam. In early December of this year, I accompanied Ed  Petersen, my good friend and patient colleague in many of my earthly endeavors, as we went in search of some Christmas cheer at a few of our favorite stops in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It became a day of reflection, and a chance to grapple with some of our own ghosts of Christmas’s past, present and future.


Sun Inn in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review
The Sun Inn in Bethlehem, PA



As we stood outside the Sun Inn, I thought to myself what a perfect setting to encounter some of the apparitions of Mr. Dickens’s tale of reclamation. Unfortunately, this 18th century landmark, which hosted many of those who embodied the founding spirit of the country, including Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams and George Washington, is not currently licensed to serve the needs of those looking to raise a toddy by the fire. So we headed down the street to experience a bit of the city’s past grandeur and opulence at the Tap Room in the Hotel Bethlehem 


Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review
Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, PA



When it became time to reconnect with the somewhat less patrician aspects of our present selves, we opted for a warming bowl of chili and an absolutely splendid pint of ESB at Fegley’s Brew Works. 


Fegley's Bethlehem Brew Works in bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review
Fegley's Bethlehem Brew Works


Bartender at Fegley's Bethlehem brew Works as seen in American Public House Review
The Brew Works' fine beers are served with top notch attention and class.


From there we ambled over to the always comfortable and cozy confines of Ripper’s Pub. 

Sign at Ripper's Pub in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review

Ripper's Pub in Bethlehem, Pa as seen in American Public House Review
Ripper's Pub offers a congenial and traditional bar experience to a diverse clientele. White collar, blue collar and bohemian types happily commune.


Having satisfied the need to deal with the present and delve into the past, it was now time to face those future hopes and expectations. That particular spirit was possibly lurking behind the door of
McCarthy’s Tea Room.


Window at McCarthy's Tea Room and Restaurant in Bethlehem PA as seen in American Public House Review


McCarthy's Tea Room and Rerstaurant in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review
Mc Carthy's Tea Room and Restaurant is just behind and attached to the iconic and exceedingly popular Irish import store and gathering place called Donegal Square.

Harp in McCarthy's Tea Room and Restaurant in Bethlehem, PA as seen in American Public House Review


Just beyond the threshold of this Irish institution is a small bar where one can always find that perfectly poured pint of Guinness. It was here that we met up with Neville Gardner, the owner of the restaurant. The same gentleman responsible for bringing the largest annual Celtic festival in North America to the city shared his plans with us about the transformation of the current space into something similar in design and feel to the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast. Furthermore, with the assistance of master brewer, Christopher Bowen, the new pub will serve its own handcrafted beers brewed in keeping with the techniques and traditions of the British Isles.


Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast, Ireland as seen in American Public House Review

Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast, Ireland as seen in American Public House Review
The Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


All of a sudden, the ghost of Christmas Future was looking much less foreboding—and if by chance things don’t go for us as hoped, there will always be these welcoming and wonderful places where one can strengthen and celebrate those cherished bonds of friendship.

May all of you be blessed with such places during this holiday season, and throughout all of the days of the upcoming New Year!   




Hotel Bethlehem

437 Main Street

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018

Telephone: (610) 625-5000


hotelbethlehem. com

Directions

The
The Sun Inn

556 Main St,
 
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Office Phone :( 610) 866-1758


suninnbethlehem.org

Directions


 Bethlehem Brew Works

569 Main St.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018

Telephone: (610) 882-1300


thebrewworks.com

Directions




Ripper’s Pub

77 W Broad St

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018

Telephone: (610) 866-6646


no website

Directions


McCarthy’s Tea Room

534 Main Street

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018

Telephone: (610) 861-7631


facebook page

www.mccarthystearoom.com

Directions






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