Restaurant Review #196: Cheer’s American Bistro (Reading, PA)

This is going to be one of the only reviews I will ever post based solely on drinks. Normally, I don’t believe in that. There should be the consumption of at least a snack to properly assess a business. Well, yes and no. I’m not fan of hotel restaurants as you know, but something about Cheer’s (in the Reading Double Tree) stood out. The back of the bar had a unique design and was back-lit making all your drink choices visible. The bar itself was a small one—intimate. Then there were pub tables, an elongated bench-style table, and finally some booths right in the bar area with gigantic pillows so one could get extra comfortable. We were in Reading only one night, a Sunday, and while the town appeared to be half asleep, Cheer’s was rocking due to a Pride “After Party” being held in the convention room.

We walked up to the bar and asked if we could place a drink order and have a seat. The bartender was friendly, funny, and pleasant to deal with. First he carded us, but then said he wouldn’t serve us unless we struck the same pose that we had in our driver’s license picture. “So you want me to look miserable?” I asked.

We placed our orders: I had a gin martini straight up while Justin had a White Russian. The bartender brought them over to us as we grabbed one of those cozy booths. My martini was gigantic. It was so large that even the three enormous olives it came with did not affect the amount of liquid in the glass. This was like a “double”, if I could use such a reference on a cocktail like this. It was done perfectly. I went with the house gin after he told me it was Gordon’s. Just the right amount of vermouth was added to make this a nice, salty sip after a large Hispanic meal earlier at Sofrito. Justin’s drink came in a pint glass not loaded with ice, but well put together with enough Kahlua that it was not overly milky and enough vodka to give it that kick. He was impressed by its size.

They were so good, we got a second round. After all, we weren’t driving. Just had to make it to the elevator. We both agreed that Cheer’s should get its own write-up, so here it is. A great evening capped off by excellent cocktails in a wonderful  atmosphere that managed to be casual yet elegant at the same time. Hats off to the bartender who clearly knew what he was doing and appeared to be enjoying his job to the max. He interacted with customers like they were old friends or regulars. That’s when you know you have the touch. Had we been in Reading another night, I may have broken my rule. Hell, if they don’t screw around with drinks, I may have trusted them with meals. 4 out of 5 stars.

Cheer’s is located at 701 Penn Street in Reading, PA.

Click here for more in this series as the days go by.


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