Reporting Jay Lloyd
Never let a reasonable craving go unsatisfied. For me, it’s often pizza, and the craving hits around happy hour time. This should not be a problem considering the suburbs boast three pizzerias an acre. But most don’t have bars, and happy hour does not register with the dashing delivery dudes. So, where does a thirsty guy (or girl) craving pizza go outside the city? Here are a few ideas. – Jay Lloyd
Right in the heart of Skippack Village, the Parc Bistro has a classic country look with an upscale attitude. Happy hour draws a unique mix of judges, lawyers, artists, politicos and even a broadcaster or two. Conversation ranges around the rectangular bar, which is usually heaped with wood fire baked pizzas that range from the traditional to a roasted scallop topped pie. And if you want a quiet spot for two to share drinks and pies, there’s a shaded outdoor patio–perfect for quiet conversation or romance.
Bartenders move like lightning and waiters and waitresses go into hustle mode for the packed happy hour crowd at Bravo on weekdays. Nestled in the Willow Grove Park Mall, it’s a convenient stop for members of the after work crowd who commute on the nearby Pennsylvania Turnpike or busy Easton Road. It’s also an ideal watering hole to wait out the rush hour traffic. The big draw at Bravo is the flatbread pizza, which range from the exotic to a tried-and-true tomato cheese pie. If you’ve got a sense of adventure, tuck into a flatbread topped with shrimp fra diavolo and eggplant. The incentive is the $3.95 price tag on the pizzas and other bar eats, which can be washed down by $5 martinis, mojitos and wine.
Head down the stairs into what you think is a basement, and you’ll wind up in a brick-walled, comfortable bar and restaurant that just reeks of old world style. Peroni beer is on tap, and the pizza has that thin crust that almost stands straight out when you pick it up to make the fold. This pie is well coated with homemade marinara and spread with mozzarella, and you can choose from a list of the usual suspects for toppings. I like it the traditional way and eaten while seated at a high table just beside the bustling bar. Happy hour here features different enticements each night, like Monday’s $5 pizzas and $2 Miller Light drafts. Pepperoncini is in the center of a dynamic, revitalized Phoenixville and boasts a ton of free parking, too.
Affectionately known as MOMS, Maxwell’s is an easy stop for the courthouse crowd and countryside artists and craftsmen that have a bit of business in Doylestown. Pizza at this happy hour is a flatbread art form that takes care of big appetites with creations topped with barbecue brisket, or pork and pineapple. To wash it all down, Maxwell’s shaves the prices on an impressive list of draft beers featuring craft brews with labels that read like a cross-country travel brochure. Happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. also yields a bargain array of martinis, cosmos and wines. Watch people or sports at both the upstairs and downstairs bars, or kick back on the rooftop patio.
As the name implies, the Iron Hill Breweries that punctuate our region brew their own beer, so it’s not surprising to find that they have a lot of malted barley lying around. Some of it finds its way into the local chain’s deliciously tangy pizza dough, which is well worth a try here where happy hour is a tasteful marriage of craft beer and unique pizzas. The pies are as simple as traditional tomato and mozzarella or as ambitious as a topping of Florida rock shrimp. I’m a fan of the Iron Hill Light to wash it all down, while my wife prefers the Raspberry Wheat. High tables, a friendly bar and a crowd that runs the gamut from attorneys to young professionals from the nearby tech nests create a diverse environment. Suburban Iron Hills are also located in Phoenixville, West Chester and North Wales.