PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — I’m not giving up on my outdoor lunching just yet. After all, I was dining on a deck in February. But the Autumn chill is already clearing plates from patios. So which of my favorite spots, restaurants and recreation venues, golf courses included provides an indoor kick? Here’s a sampling.
You can take your appetite and your golfing obsession indoors at Linfield National In central Montgomery County. The operation offers indoor golf tees and screens that simulate some of the most sought out courses on the planet. Each simulator booth is set up for a foursome with its own bar. Chomps and sips are served up by the Linfield 19th Hole lounge. Weekday daytime rates are $35 dollars an hour for one to four players. Rates vary on nights and weekends. On weather comfortable days, play the outdoors. When a deep chill hits the air, swing for the indoor links.
The Delaware River waterfront is a popular summer and early Fall stop for strolling along the quay at Penn’s Landing, outdoor festivals and concerts or sipping and supping on the quarter deck of the Tall Ship Moshulu. Now, with cooling days and nights, Penn’s Landing stays alive with the dramatic tour of Philadelphia’s nautical history at the Independence Seaport Museum, the cruiser Olympia and World War 2 submarine, Becuna. The Moshulu seats diners below deck, alongside portholes for a view of the river and a taste of the town. Now just wait for ice skating to begin at the RiverRink Winterfest on November 24th.
Not much can top lazy Chesapeake days, sitting on an outdoor deck with a pitcher of cold beer and cracking succulent Blue Crabs. But when the decks close as blustery winds blow, the Tap Room in nearby Chesapeake City, Maryland is a welcoming spot for year round indoor crab-picking. It’s earned it’s reputation as a neighborhood bar room. The only frills are paper towels to wipe crab spice from fingers. After the Maryland crab season ends, the critters will be imported live from southern waters, so expect them to be expensive. It’s the first place I ever had crab spiced fries. Great. But save room for that luscious backfin meat.
OUTDOOR TO INDOOR EATERIES
Some of my favorite outdoor summertime munch spots where I return for cool weather eats are generally chosen for comfort, the crowd and fun. It doesn’t hurt that the food is also pretty good. Some have an upscale feel, others just neighborhood down-home. Here’s a short list. Two include vintage bars.
This unimposing family owned spot north of Pottstown looks like something that came out of 1930’s Pennsylvania rural tavern mix. Mahogany bar, pool table, juke box and dart board. The summertime deck is a relaxing haven with occasional chickens, pecking in the grass, below. On chill filled days, the bar is warm, friendly and holds the aroma of a bubbling soup pot. Good casual spot for a beer, and in an unusual twist. they shuck live oysters.
I love outdoor golf course dining. There’s usually a view of tee boxes and fairways or the 18th green. That’s Chadwick’s at the Shannondell Course. When frost is on the pumpkin, they take it inside to a room that blends an active bar with set-back intimate booths in a wood and leather motif. A comfy-food dinner menu leans toward Italy with a nod to Cajun and South-of-the-border flavors.
SCHULTHEIS CARRIAGE HOUSE
The outdoor beirgarten is a sun warmed spot to end a country drive up route 29 to the Upper Perkiomen Valley. From Schnitzel to Strudel it’s a reflection of Austrian roots with an Italian branch. The building is 18th century and the bar has a colonial roadside tavern feel to it. In chilly weather when the garden is no longer an option the old world interior is a welcoming place to sip a German beer and share a plate of Smoked salmon Latkes.
Going from the fountain and greenery of a broad outdoor patio to the intimate lighting of a fireplace warmed lounge and rustic indoor bar is stepping into a time machine. The Pineville Tavern in rural Bucks County draws locals and summertime visitors for outdoor dining on traditional comfort-food and a menu that speaks Italian. When late Autumn arrives, this 18th century outpost becomes more intimate with meals and cocktails served in a cozy, Revolution era environment. I’m partial to the pastas here, clams and spaghetti to be specific. And as in Italy, you can feed a giant appetite or choose a half-portion. Definitely a top spot to come in from the cold while longing for next Spring.