The Fig & Barrel Pub: Warm, Inviting, and Aged to Perfection

ADVERTISEMENT

The first thing to notice when entering The Fig & Barrel Pub in downtown York is the “Whiskey Wall”. A long wall of fully functioning whiskey bottles and small barrels stacked on wooden shelves behind a nice long bar just inside the front door.

You can’t miss her. There’s even a ladder, and rightfully so. It extends from bar level to high ceiling. It’s a beautiful sight even for those who are into dark drinkers and maybe even those who aren’t.

But after looking at this wonder, look around. Not wide but deep, the venue features hardwood floors, gorgeous suspended lighting, banquet and table seating at the front of the house, and an exposed brick wood-fired pizza oven with more booth and table seating in the back.

The building is over a century old and stands in the history of both the York Railroad Company and the Edison Light & Power Company. Rebuilding is impressive. The atmosphere is a mix of casual, industrial, rustic and casual. Located on Market Street just west of the town square, the pub has outside seating in front.

As you can imagine, there’s a bit of a whiskey highlight here. There’s even the “Whiskey Book,” a weathered leather-bound catalog that features over 100 selections, including rye, whiskey, Japanese blends, and more. A number of tasting flights are also available. And of course, there’s a changing selection of craft beers on tap and a pretty fair wine list by the glass or bottle.

A dining companion and recently met friends for dinner. I started with a Sazerac made with Old Forester rye, which was excellent. Like the reasonably priced house cocktail menu. It includes products such as the Fig N’ Cocktail, made with bourbon, fig bush, honey, vanilla and egg whites. And a Singapore Slingshot. When was the last time you saw this on a menu that wasn’t on a cruise ship?

Mostly pub-type food is varied, fun and creative. The offerings range from small plates to flavored potato toasts, salads, soups, sandwiches, pizzas and appetizers.

Small plates, like the rest of the menu, are practically priced and include something a little bit different from wood-fired Mac`n Cheese, homemade pierogi, and the usual, hand-spun soft pretzels from the York City Pretzel Company (neighboring the bar), mustard beer cheese Served with sauce and horseradish.

Two of our group split a large bowl of thick okra billed as “Nawlins original” filled with andouille sausage, pulled chicken, peppers, rice and shrimp. It got high marks and has been called a meal in itself. It’s easily enough for two people to share.

My dining partner and I shared a classic Caesar salad with white anchovies. Again, it was pretty big for two people. There are other salads, too, like the Nutty Pig with cashew, bacon, grapes, and honey sesame dressing on mixed greens.

Sandwiches include various presentations of grilled cheese on toasted homemade sourdough bread. I was tempted by the Munster, roasted chicken, spinach and tomato slices. Maybe next time. There are also burgers, a bourbon barbecue pork sandwich, and a bacon wood-fired crab sandwich.

From a classic Margherita to the “Morning Pizza” with mozzarella, provolone, bacon, sausage and egg, to the “Fig and Pork” with figs, prosciutto, mascarpone and arugula.

Entrees are mostly under $20, excluding the market-price butcher cut of the day. They range from homemade battered chicken with roasted garlic mashed potatoes to pork tenderloin, braised short ribs, cheese pierogis and kielbasa, and a family recipe gnocchi gorgonzola.

There is more. Our table ordered a highly praised mustard crust salmon dish and an unusual pale ale risotto with a very spicy homemade chorizo. Two of us chose shrimp and grits, a generous serving of Gulf shrimp with Cajun sauce on top of thick and delicious cheesy grits. Everyone at our table was satisfied.

This is a husband and wife owned and operated pub with lots of homemade products and attention to detail.

The only negative during our visit was the short staffing issue, which is so common in today’s restaurant world but became tolerable due to our server’s kindness and familiarity with the menu.

And the menu is a draw, as it’s a mix of creative pub fare and some old-school fare treated with home-style methods. Fig & Barrel is definitely worth a try while in York.

FIG & BARREL PUB:

25 W. Market St., York

Street and nearby garage parking. The website says it’s open daily for brunch, lunch, and dinner; recommended reservations (always best to call ahead); 717-850-0080; figandbarrel.com.tr