One of my favorite local spots in Reading, PA is Canal Street Pub & Restaurant, nestled deep off downtown Penn Street. One of Reading’s best kept secrets, Canal Street is home to an array of different craft beer housing around fifteen different craft beer [only] taps at all time and boasting a multi-page bottle list.
Living further than I’d like from Philadelphia, Canal Street provides a great local craft beer scene, that I’d otherwise have to travel towards Limerick (see Craft Ale House) or into Philadelphia itself. I’ve wonder if Canal Street isn’t more well known because of its odd location. Nestled in the city of Reading, it’s quite a divergence off the much busier Penn Street. A few twists and turns and you’re there.
Canal Street is separated into two sections; a [full] dining area and the pub. The pub side is dimly light with wooden decor and seats patrons around 80% of the bar with accompanying tables surrounding it. It’s extremely spacious for being a pub, and the dining area is even larger. Two separate menus are offered, naturally; a pub menu and a [full] restaurant menu. In traditional fashion, the offerings are somewhat typical, consisting of appetizers from wings to loaded potato skins, to entrees like pizza, pasta, burgers and fresh salads. The pricing is fair for their pub menu while the restaurant menu pushes the pricier side, though the portions and diversity are better.
While the food in and of itself is great, the reason I stop by Canal Street is for their beer. You’re not going to find any Miller or Coors on tap here, only the finest craft beer they can get their hands on. On tap are mainly American craft beer, but you’ll find some imports like a German Weisbier. Their bottle selection is vastly larger, though definitely smaller than Craft Ale House’s selection which totals in around 400+. I’m assuming Canal Street’s is about half that without counting, which is still a great selection but not as large in comparison by any means.
I’ve noticed the crowd seems to change depending on the day of the week you visit. Tuesday’s are their $2.50 draft specials all day (awesome!) which tends to draw in a younger crowd (mid-20’s to 30’s). The weekend dinner hour mainly holds a middle-aged crowd and progressively into the night the younger crowd seems to fill up. Overall, it’s a great crowd and the bar gives enough space to hold an intimate conversation with your friends or talk freely with others at the bar. Finally, the wait staff is friendly, professional and great to get to know.
Overall, this is definitely a place to check-out if you’re in the area. It’s packed with amazing beer, great food and has a warming feel to it: spacious, wooden and traditionally modern. If you’re in the Reading area, stop by Canal Street and indulge.
Shane Holland is the Editor-in-Chief for Passion Beer.
He is a self-proclaimed craft beer geek and an all around lovable dork. He loves homebrewing, everything Philadelphia, traveling and enjoying the pleasures of life.