| KILT NIGHT IN
The first Saturday of each month is Kilt Night at Porter's, any man in a kilt gets a free pint, and live bands play Celtic music from about 10-2. This doesn't come from any particular Scottish or Irish association the pub has, rather, like most of what goes on there, it's just because the owners thought it sounded like a fun thing to do.
When the Porter brothers opened up their pub in Easton, they were warned that if they didn't have Budweiser or Coors on tap, they wouldn't stay open for very long.
That was in 1990. Porter's Pub today still doesn't have Budweiser or Coors on tap, although they are available in bottles. Of course, if one sticks to basic brews at Porter's they'd miss the chance to try any of more than 60 other beers that the pub has on hand (including the paradoxically named house brew, Porter's Ale). The staff can even keep track of which ones you've had before, and when you've tried them all will give you your own mug which will hang on the ceiling until you're ready to use it.
Why so many choices? “I just like good beer,” said co-owner Larry Porter.
Larry, along with his brothers Ken and Jeff didn't set out to be pub owners. “We were actually looking for buildings to rehabilitate,” said Larry, when they found a good looking apartment building at the corner of Northampton and 7th. Along with the building came a liquor license, attached to an establishment called the Central Bar on the ground floor.
But once the idea of opening their own drinking establishment took hold, the brothers jumped in with both feet. “We used to throw a lot of house parties,” Larry said, “and owning a bar is like throwing a party every night.”
It seems they succeeded, on many nights, my Kilt Night visit being one of them, the bar is standing-room-only. There are somewhere between six and 10 men, other than myself, who have decided to take advantage of the offer.
Almost immediately the kilt-as-conversation-piece effect kicked in, and I met up with Gilbert Beers and Shawn Crowley. We launched into a discussion about the merits of our respective garments, all three of which were deviations from the highland tradition. Gilbert had a USAkilt (made in Pa., traditional looking, affordable), Shawn had a Utilikilt (tough fabric, lots of pockets) and I had on a Sportkilt (lightweight, machine washable). In some contexts, it seems, it is possible to have a manly discussion about clothes. Sort of.
Of course, they could also be there for the food, which is worth the trip on its own. In true Porter's fashion, the place was never meant to be a restaurant. The brothers started out with a tiny kitchen and the idea that they would just serve pub grub. But once they started, they figured they might as well do it right, and the kitchen while still tiny, now churns out everything from a cheese board to a steak dinner. Larry, Jeff and Ken all have day jobs, but they keep a close relationship with the staff who run the place from day to day, and are frequently spotted on both sides of the bar.
Porter's manages to be everything a decent public house should be: a comfortable, friendly place where you can grab dinner with your family, while away a Sunday afternoon discussing art or literature, or belt on a kilt and spend the evening trying to learn the “alternate” verses to your favorite pub songs. All this accomplished using a formula so simple, it almost seems self-evident – if you want people to come to your bar, make it the place where you want to hang out yourself.
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