The Bar Exam
Our resident party boy tested a few great places to get your drink on.
These earn the As.
research assistance by Caitlin Birch Published March 19, 2009 at 08:08 AM
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A Wilmington landmark since the 1800s, Kelly’s Logan House (1701 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 655-6426) is still the crown jewel of Trolley Square, with bars on two floors, two outdoor decks, jammed dance floors, local bands, beer sponsors and more of the things that drive the party people crazy. Loop nights and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are the stuff of legend.
Kid Shelleen’s (1310 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington, 658-4054), once thought of as the spot for predatory middle-agers, is skewing younger these days. Thank DJ dance parties, better drink values and contemporary music. Both the old guard and the new regime turn out for No Whining Wednesdays, when all wine bottles are half priced.
Mikimotos Asian Restaurant (1212 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 656-8638), the hip, upscale-casual sushi haven, has enclosed its former patio so it could enlarge its über-cool lounge. That’ll make the patrons of Sushi Happy Hour (two-for-one sushi from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) very happy, even without the aid of Miki’s signature sake drinks.
Bold Spanish wines at Orillas Tapas Bar (413 N. Market St., Wilmington, 427-9700) naturally go great with straightforward and flavorful tapas. First-time visitors, go for the flavorful Marco Real Tempranillo, which is akin to a Pinot Noir. The sangria, stored in mini-barrels behind the bar, refreshes the palate afterward.
The Rebel Restaurant (201 N. Market St., Wilmington, 658-2018) is one of a handful of places tasked with revitalizing Wilmington’s Market Street. So far, it’s impressed a lot of the after-work crowd with its colorful, upbeat environment, great happy hour, event specials and terrific bar food. The late-night crowd, spurred by live music, buzzes on the weekends. Try a Caribbean-kissed Rebel Yell.
Two-dollar Pabst drafts all day—it’s pretty much all you need to know about narrow Scratch Magoo’s (1709 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 651-9188), a Trolley Square staple where slender people have an advantage at the bar. With a food and drink special every day, there’s always a reason to drop in. And how many places still sell buckets of beer?
Drink specials run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night at Timothy’s Riverfront Grill (930 Pettinaro Park Drive, Wilmington, 429-7427), but even better is the Friday happy hour, with its free buffet and carving station. This summer, check out the waterfront patio.
No disrespect to the baseball hat-wearing throngs that haunt much of Trolley Square, but Toscana Kitchen + Bar (1412 N. Dupont St., Wilmington, 654-8001), with its quiet lighting and sophisticated wine program, might not be the place for you. “We’re like Trolley Square’s bar for grownups,” says owner Dan Butler, who just installed TVs at the bar.
A cozy fireplace and contemporary lounge make Union City Grille (805 N. Union St., Wilmington, 654-9780) a nice place to unwind. We dig the super-big, super-plush chairs. Grab half-price bottles of wines with a prix fixe meal on Mondays.
Washington Street Ale House (1206 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 658-2537) keeps 24 beers on tap, much to the delight of CEOs, city councilmen, worker bees, weekend warriors and everyone else who packs the intimate bar. Most beers are small-batch kegs and microbrews (including four Dogfish Head selections at all times). Harpoon IPA, Magic Hat No. 9, Boddington’s, Anchor Steam and Washington Street Warped Ale all get a pull, and customers can sample a four-draft flight for $6.
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