Wayne Beef & Ale, Wayne

Conestoga Rd and W. Wayne Ave.
Wayne, PA

Rating: 3 silver spoons out of 5
Overview: Possibly the best dive bar in the area — great sandwiches and cheap beer.

Food: I’m going to say its the best hamburger on the Main Line — not because of its whopping size (18oz), but because it tastes so damn good. Can occasionally be overcooked, but if you order medium rare you should be fine. Lots of other good sandwiches to choose from as well — cheese steaks, roast beef and roast pork, etc. Bring your appetite. Takeout also available.
Ambiance: Small place, but somewhat bright and usually not too crowded (except for football games). The biggest drawback is the low ceilings which make the place extremely smoky, even when its not all that crowded. Avoid at all costs when there is a band (some Saturday nights), as the music is consistently loud enough to hear in the center of Wayne, ruining the normally laid-back atmosphere of “The Beef”.

Service: Actually, pretty good.

Value: Not haute cuisine by any means, but great value for what it is.

# of times we’ve eaten there: 5+
Reservations: No
Payments: Cards
Bar: Beer & Wine only (limited wine list)

Bella Luna, Bryn Mawr

Lancaster Ave.
Bryn Mawr, PA

** Bella Luna has closed permanently. Fans can visit Stella Blu in Conshohocken, Bella’s more expensive sister restaurant. **

Rating: 3 silver spoons (out of 5)

Overall: A very nice little neighborhood BYOB. Unfortunately the food can be inconsistent and the wait can be unbearable.

Food: The quality of the dining experience at BL often hinges on the specials available. One steak special, a butterflied sirloin on a bed of mushroom risotto was easily one of the best steak plates I’ve had in the last few years. If the specials are not to your liking however, there is little on the regular menu that excites, with mostly very basic chicken, veal and pasta selections.

Bread: Crunchy crust with light, airy middle. High Quality Olive Oil on the table.

Atmosphere: A brilliant little place with quirky nighttime sky motif. The tables are all private enough to feel secluded but the space bustles enough to feel like you’re someplace important. It doesn’t get much better.

Service: The waitstaff is always knowledgeable and friendly.

Intangibles: I’d visit BL much more frequently if not for the absurd wait on weekends. Twice recently I’ve shown up after 9pm on a Friday or Saturday and been told that the wait is approximately 45 minutes. That’s to be expected at 730 or 8, but at 915? Come on.

Value: As always, the BYOB offers the best value. BL always offers an affordable meal.

# of times we’ve eaten there: 5-10
Reservations: None. Huge weekend waits.
Payments: Cash Only

The Flying Pig, Malvern

121 E. King St.
Malvern, PA

Rating: 3 silver spoons out of 5

Overview: Great little dive bar in the middle of Malvern.

Food: Standard Pub Fare — Generally high in fat and cholesterol, but so tasty. The pepperoni rolls (slabs of pepperoni rolled up in oily bread) are a sentimental favorite, and the burgers are quite good as well (though a recent one was overcooked). We tried an artichoke and parmesan “dip” appetizer recently that was quite good. Unlike most brewpub style artichoke/cheese dip, this was more like a spread (think bruschetta) and was quite unique and interesting. I also had a sandwich called “The Veal Deal” (or something kitschy like that) which was sauteed veal medallions with peppers and onions on a hoagie roll, all smothered in provolone cheese. The roll wasn’t really “crusty” as promised, but it was still quite a sandwich.

Beer: The Pig is definitely a “beer bar” with a great seasonal selection on tap — during a recent visit I tried Anchor Steam Spring Bock, Troegs Sunshine Pils and Lucifer Golden Ale. The selection of bottled beer is even more extensive.

Ambiance: Small, dark, and somewhat noisy, but the type of neighborhood pub where you can really get comfortable. To be avoided when they have bands — it is way too loud and really ruins the whole point of going there in the first place, which is to relax with some friends and some beers.

Service: Not great, but it doesn’t really matter.

Value: More of a bar than a restaurant, so pretty cheap.

# of times we’ve eaten there: 5+
Reservations: No
Payments: Cards
Bar: Full