While peering through the glass-covered hole in the floor of Flow Bar and Restaurant, you may catch a glimpse of a featured item on next week's menu swimming through the underground Mauch Chunk Creek. Executive chef Zachary Pelliccio—whose farm-based upbringing informs his ultra-fresh fare—procures produce and earthy high-fives from the hands of Lehigh Valley and Pocono-area farmers as well as meat, poultry, and eggs from the likes of Spring Mountain Farms of Lehighton. Pelliccio crafts starters such as a duck rillette with cranberry and green-tea preserves and large plates including a grass-fed burger on house-baked brioche, realizing the edible portion of the renovation dream of co-owners Victor Stabin and Joan Morykin. The husband-and-wife team bought the circa-1850 stone building in 2004. Temporarily trading his paintbrushes and her journalist's laptop for a hammer and nails, Stabin and Morykin and a team of artisans conducted a overhaul lasting four years. The historic space has been a wire mill, silk mill, and toy factory, and now also houses art classes and galleries featuring the work of local artists, including Stabin himself. One gallery is devoted to encouraging children's creativity and has showcased the talents of the couple's two young daughters.
The black-leather sofas and armchairs, end tables topped with small lamps, and bright-crimson walls with floating shelves collectively make Fumo Bar and Hookah Lounge feel more like an inviting living room than a traditional bar. Within this setting, groups of friends are encouraged to relax in their seats as they savor the experience of sharing a hookah. The lounge offers more than 50 shisha flavors?including everything from coconut and mint to mango and Cuban mojito?and patrons can even choose to mix two flavors and create their own blends. As the aromatic smoke lazily drifts toward the ceiling, the staff caters to groups' needs by offering drinks from the bar or snacks from a menu that includes hummus and crackers, 2-ounce cheeseburger sliders, and other small, shareable plates. The sounds of casual conversation give way to music on select evenings as the lounge hosts karaoke nights as well as live DJ performances.
Housed in what was once a sprawling textile compound that produced hosiery, The Works at Wyomissing hosts kinetic family outings in a large, historical space. Downstairs, a mammoth game room houses popular video games, such as a sports simulator, Dance Dance Revolution, and diminutive bowling lanes for children.
Upstairs, the Ballocity action center combines the can't-miss fun mix of playground balls, slides, climbing tubes, foam-ball launchers, and grandma's china. Still-remaining historical details add character to the building, including an entrance to 1.5 miles worth of tunnels that once channeled supplies and carried elaborate tin-can phone networks between factory buildings.
The Forest Inn is conveniently located 1 block up from the Sovereign Center in downtown Reading. It offers a wide variety of Pub Food and specializes in the Famous Coney Island Hot Dogs, Burgers, & Fresh Cut French Fries. 9 Beers on Tap & 25 Bottles. Check out the old style décor, bar back & tin ceiling dating back to 1867.
At Pike Cafe, the glow of 40 high-def TVs illuminates diners as they fasten their fangs on steaks, seafood, pasta, wings, and more. After browsing a diverse dinner menu, eaters can set off on their gastronomic journey with a starter, such as lobster crostinis ($10.95). Chicken ($13.95), steak ($14.95), and jumbo shrimp ($15.95) fajitas command the attention of ears, snouts, and tongues, popping and sizzling like break dancers on a midsummer's blacktop. Hickory-smoked bacon enrobes the char-grilled classic pike filet mignon, which is garnished with marinated portobello mushrooms and sautéed onions and doused with a veal demi-glaze ($21.95).
Parched patrons can mosey over to the polished wood bar to wet their whistles and catch up on sporting events displayed on flat-screen TVs. The bar serves an octet of regular tap beers, supplemented by a varied selection of bottled brews and Beringer Founders' Estate wines, and swaps out half of its typical taps for a rotating selection of microbrews and specialty brews on Saturdays. Third Rail also hosts an open mic on Tuesday nights, perfect for emerging vocal artists or experienced artists yearning to break from the tyrannical hold of Garfunkel.