Review: The Colonial

6a2779_a8fee734a75243f0877e89b0222687e2Ok, we’re all grown-ups here so let’s tell it like it is: The Colonial has all the warmth and charm of a college town dive bar. Its unrelenting hard surfaces make it very noisy but the bar chairs are comfortable and the floor is only sticky in a few spots so, all in all, it is not an uninviting place. And the clientele is friendly and accommodating—a couple of young men sitting at the bar when we arrived happily rearranged themselves to make room for the two of us.

The selection of beers on tap is varied and interesting, ranging from local microbrews to some old standbys, Yuengling and Sam Adams. To their credit they do not waste tap space on “lite” swill. I had a very pleasant blonde ale from Good Nature Farm Brewery in Hamilton, NY. Had I not wanted to stay with a low-alcohol beer I would certainly have chosen the exceptional stout which was the rotating selection from the North Brewery in Endicott, NY.

On the two occasions that my wife and I have been there, the food has been very good. The special was something I have never seen on a restaurant menu in some forty years of eating out in major cities all around the country and more than few in Europe: camel. Yes, camel, the humpy-backed beast. I might well have ordered it but the bartender did not see fit to tell us what the evening’s specials were so I had already ordered something else. Perhaps she thought that we older people would not be interested in something so exotic. I overheard her reading the specials to someone else at the bar and asked her what they were. Speaking of bartenders, while the service was pretty decent I could just hear Jon Taffer of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue fulminating when one of the bartenders checked her mobile phone behind the bar.  

During warm weather, The Colonial has a few tables on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. Before taking our places at the bar, we had requested the next table that came open there. And one did just before our food arrived. The odd jerk on a motorcycle notwithstanding, the outdoor seating was much quieter than inside. My wife had the fish and chips which she, an anglophile of long standing, declared among the best she had ever tasted. My cheesesteak was good if not quite up to South Street Philly standards. And the fries we both had were excellent.

So, the Colonial is not a place one would choose for a romantic dinner but it a great for interesting beer and surprisingly good food. Just don’t expect to have a quiet conversation there.

The Colonial

56-58 Court Street

Binghamton, NY 13901

Tel: (607) 238-7741


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