Restaurant Review #222: Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen (Kennett Square, PA)

I’ll take a grimy, divey, old man bar any day over a “scene”. Having been a fan of Kennett Square’s Half Moon Saloon, both for food and drinks, I was saddened to see that it closed last year to make room for a place that was obviously going to be a haven for hipsters and millennials. After all, it was advertised somewhere online that there are USB chargers at the bar. I didn’t see any of these, but Justin and I were there during the day. We were the only people in the place, but I am sure it is a much different at night. For fans of the Half Moon, not much was really changed except color scheme. Bright aqua blue acts as a border around the bar and restaurant area. I really cannot complain about any of those changes, because the ambiance is still there.

I am very weary of several things in bar/restaurant titles. Catchphrases or words such as “craft” or the use of a plus-sign in the title instead of “and” are trigger warnings that such an establishment will be 1) aimed at young, trendy hipsters who want to drink IPAs in their ski-caps and 2) expensive. I was only correct about the latter since this was a weekday, but I’d wager I’d be right on both if we were there a little later. Grain has a massive craft beer menu. Their beer prices for such products were actually fine (it was the food and cocktails that were pricey). I ordered a beer for myself: Allagash White, which is rarely on tap anywhere in New Jersey. A pint was $6. Justin’s Budweiser was $3.50.

I couldn’t do a refill of beer because if I drink it in the afternoon it puts me to sleep. I moved onto a whiskey. I wanted something cheap. I wasn’t looking to splurge. I inquired about Maker’s Mark which was $11 for on the rocks. No thanks. I then asked about what their house whiskey was. Our bartender was excellent and surely did me a favor by bringing over the bottle and showing me that their house whiskey is some locally made spirit that actually says on the label “20% whiskey”, with the other 80% being mysteriously labeled as some kind of grain alcohol. So, the house whiskey isn’t really whiskey. He said it never gets poured and I fully understand why. I went with a Jim Beam on the rocks, not terrible at $8.50.

The bartender whose name was Kevin was very helpful. I know the area pretty well but wanted to learn more. Justin, meanwhile, had never been to Kennett Square. He gave us plenty of ideas in and around that area of Pennsylvania as well as Delaware, where he grew up. He even went around the bar to bring us over some literature as well as go over his favorites on the menu. It was well worth the stop in to Grain. We had just wanted to grab a couple of drinks after lunch but ended up with a plethora of travel information.

We did not eat anything but next time in town I would have dinner there. A few menu items caught my eye but what really stood out was one of their special deals. On Thursday night, they have “date night” which includes two meals, dessert, and either a bottle of wine or four pints of beer, all for $39. That’s per couple, not per person. I cannot remember a deal so valuable in recent memory. As for what I will rate Grain, I think a 3 out of 5 stars is fair given we only had drinks. Some places can even mess that up. Cool atmosphere, great bartender, and excellent craft beer selection for the aficionados out there.

Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen is located at 108 West State Street in Kennett Square, PA.


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