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Downtown Lancaster Favorites

Christy

Downtown Lancaster Favorites

Cocktails
Here are our fav spots to grab a cocktail with a more high-end vibe.
Get the Horse Fries for a late night snack! We love their Sazerac and Gin & Tonic. Special tip, though: Ask for a mystery beer and they'll grab you a beer from the bathtub (yep, you read that right) and, get this -- it's only $2.
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Horse Inn
540 East Fulton Street
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Get the Horse Fries for a late night snack! We love their Sazerac and Gin & Tonic. Special tip, though: Ask for a mystery beer and they'll grab you a beer from the bathtub (yep, you read that right) and, get this -- it's only $2.
A local distillery known for specialty cocktails, we especially love their gin and rye whiskey. Drinks are rotating, so check out the specials!
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Thistle Finch Distillery
417 West Grant Street
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A local distillery known for specialty cocktails, we especially love their gin and rye whiskey. Drinks are rotating, so check out the specials!
This brand new spot at the top of the Marriott has become an instant local favorite. With gorgeous indoor seating and a killer view from the rooftop deck bar, you're going to love this place. It's a bit more upscale than most of the bars downtown, so don't be surprised if the bouncer manning the elevators mentions a dress code requirement. They make a deadly dirty gin martini, and their bao buns are fanTAStic.
The Exchange
16 E King St
This brand new spot at the top of the Marriott has become an instant local favorite. With gorgeous indoor seating and a killer view from the rooftop deck bar, you're going to love this place. It's a bit more upscale than most of the bars downtown, so don't be surprised if the bouncer manning the elevators mentions a dress code requirement. They make a deadly dirty gin martini, and their bao buns are fanTAStic.
Coffee
Our favorite coffee shops in town! There are lots more options for coffee, but these are our top picks.
One of two amazing local roasteries here in Lancaster, Square One is known for pour-overs, cold brew, and what is in my opinion the best cappuccino in town. If you're here during warmer weather, be sure to take a book and hang out on their back patio).
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Square One Coffee Roasters
145 North Duke Street
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One of two amazing local roasteries here in Lancaster, Square One is known for pour-overs, cold brew, and what is in my opinion the best cappuccino in town. If you're here during warmer weather, be sure to take a book and hang out on their back patio).
Another third-wave coffee shop and roastery, Passenger is known for their beautiful and bright space right in center city, next to Central Market, as well as their amazing coffee. Try a morning bun and a pour-over!
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Passenger Coffee & Tea Showroom
7 W King St
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Another third-wave coffee shop and roastery, Passenger is known for their beautiful and bright space right in center city, next to Central Market, as well as their amazing coffee. Try a morning bun and a pour-over!
A quintessential neighborhood coffee shop, this place is quaint and cozy and great. We spent countless hours here in college doing homework or grabbing a coffee to sip while walking over to Buchanan park in the summers. We love their iced lattes and matcha. They've also got a full menu for breakfast and lunch if you get hungry.
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Chestnut Hill Cafe
532 West Chestnut Street
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A quintessential neighborhood coffee shop, this place is quaint and cozy and great. We spent countless hours here in college doing homework or grabbing a coffee to sip while walking over to Buchanan park in the summers. We love their iced lattes and matcha. They've also got a full menu for breakfast and lunch if you get hungry.
Mean Cup is a great local spot that started out as a market stand at Central Market, and its brick-and-mortar location is always hopping. For a great quick cup of coffee and a nice, bright and lively atmosphere, stop in at Mean Cup! It's one of our favorite places for a coffee-shop-office workday.
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Mean Cup
398 Harrisburg Avenue
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Mean Cup is a great local spot that started out as a market stand at Central Market, and its brick-and-mortar location is always hopping. For a great quick cup of coffee and a nice, bright and lively atmosphere, stop in at Mean Cup! It's one of our favorite places for a coffee-shop-office workday.
Brunch
Our very favorite brunch spots in the city.
Cafe One Eight serves Square One coffee and a killer brunch. Two words: avocado toast. Do it.
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Cafe One Eight
18 West Orange Street
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Cafe One Eight serves Square One coffee and a killer brunch. Two words: avocado toast. Do it.
This is a new spot to the downtown Lancaster food scene, but a delicious one. If the name doesn't already give it away... they're known for their breads and just super delicious food. A nice central spot in the city!
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The Bread Pedaler
116 W Orange St
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This is a new spot to the downtown Lancaster food scene, but a delicious one. If the name doesn't already give it away... they're known for their breads and just super delicious food. A nice central spot in the city!
Right nextdoor to The Bread Pedaler, this spot is a Lancaster institution. In addition to their French Toast, they're known for the massive lines that gather outside every weekend. Get there early if you want a spot. And definitely ask for a spot on the patio if the weather suits!
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On Orange
108 West Orange Street
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Right nextdoor to The Bread Pedaler, this spot is a Lancaster institution. In addition to their French Toast, they're known for the massive lines that gather outside every weekend. Get there early if you want a spot. And definitely ask for a spot on the patio if the weather suits!
Friendly service, funky atmosphere, and a great deck area are all great perks on top of the fact that these crepes mean some serious business. They have all the classic sweet crepe options, but it wouldn't be right for us to not let you know that the savory crepes are where. it. is. AT. Our favs are the Thai Chicken, Oyler, and Cylo crepes. I'm also a sucker for the Parisian Sunset smoothie with vanilla protein. Might have to go grab one right now, as a matter of fact...
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Rachel's Cafe & Creperie
201 West Walnut Street
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Friendly service, funky atmosphere, and a great deck area are all great perks on top of the fact that these crepes mean some serious business. They have all the classic sweet crepe options, but it wouldn't be right for us to not let you know that the savory crepes are where. it. is. AT. Our favs are the Thai Chicken, Oyler, and Cylo crepes. I'm also a sucker for the Parisian Sunset smoothie with vanilla protein. Might have to go grab one right now, as a matter of fact...
Bars
Our favorite places for a beer and dinner!
It's divey and a little bit old-school punk, but we've been coming here religiously ever since turning 21. There's a tough-love edge, but the service is incomparable. With any luck you'll get Jason, Justin, Joabi, or Sarah serving you, but every last bartender will look out for ya. Our favorites are the Caribbean Chicken Cheesesteak and the Meatloaf Sandwich, or the wings (Thai Peanut and Southwest are the best sauces, icyww). Rotating beer specials and an awesome mixture of domestic and imported drafts. GO.
American Bar & Grill
1081 North Plum Street
It's divey and a little bit old-school punk, but we've been coming here religiously ever since turning 21. There's a tough-love edge, but the service is incomparable. With any luck you'll get Jason, Justin, Joabi, or Sarah serving you, but every last bartender will look out for ya. Our favorites are the Caribbean Chicken Cheesesteak and the Meatloaf Sandwich, or the wings (Thai Peanut and Southwest are the best sauces, icyww). Rotating beer specials and an awesome mixture of domestic and imported drafts. GO.
The name sort of says it all, but this place is known for it's wall of reach-in refrigerators housing all sorts of incredible beers from around the world. They have a fun menu with lots of options, but I just can't say no to their pepperoni pie. You can get pizzas by the slice or by the pie, and they will knock your socks off.
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The Fridge
534 North Mulberry Street
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The name sort of says it all, but this place is known for it's wall of reach-in refrigerators housing all sorts of incredible beers from around the world. They have a fun menu with lots of options, but I just can't say no to their pepperoni pie. You can get pizzas by the slice or by the pie, and they will knock your socks off.
It can get a bit crazy late at night on the weekends, but if you hit it up early enough, and if the weather permits, head straight upstairs to hang out on the roof. Good beers and an Irish-inspired menu will keep you full, and the views will keep you busy. Definitely worth a stop! If you're into a busier scene on the weekends, stop by later at night to see the action.
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Tellus360
24 East King Street
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It can get a bit crazy late at night on the weekends, but if you hit it up early enough, and if the weather permits, head straight upstairs to hang out on the roof. Good beers and an Irish-inspired menu will keep you full, and the views will keep you busy. Definitely worth a stop! If you're into a busier scene on the weekends, stop by later at night to see the action.
This amazing Victorian era pub is another Lancaster institution. Monday - Thursday boast different nightly specials, and their beer list is fantastic. We love this place -- especially Mondays for Taco Night and Thursdays for Fish and Chips.
Lancaster Dispensing Company
35 North Market Street
This amazing Victorian era pub is another Lancaster institution. Monday - Thursday boast different nightly specials, and their beer list is fantastic. We love this place -- especially Mondays for Taco Night and Thursdays for Fish and Chips.
This place is a local brewery and has some great, heavy-hitting beers. Try She-Monster and Big Gruesome (our two favorites). This center-city location is great for the downtown vibe. Check out their brewery location for a different experience!
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The Taproom
25 West King Street
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This place is a local brewery and has some great, heavy-hitting beers. Try She-Monster and Big Gruesome (our two favorites). This center-city location is great for the downtown vibe. Check out their brewery location for a different experience!
This is the brewery location for the Taproom! In addition to being able to see all the brewing equipment and having an extended menu available here, they also have an area upstairs with arcade games and lawn games like corn hole. Another great perk is that they have parking!
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Spring House Brewing Company
209 Hazel St
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This is the brewery location for the Taproom! In addition to being able to see all the brewing equipment and having an extended menu available here, they also have an area upstairs with arcade games and lawn games like corn hole. Another great perk is that they have parking!
Entertainment
We love this place for the amazing indie films it brings to town, and for the fact that you can sit on a cozy West Elm couch while you watch! In addition, you can grab a delicious beer and snack from the concessions stand inside OR check out one of the three attached restaurants: La Cocina (amazing Mexican food), Second Gear (taproom), and Zoe's Cinema Stillhouse (their own distillery and restaurant with killer small plates to share). The best part is that you can bring your food and drinks outside to enjoy on the patio and soak up the sunshine. If you go and meet Alax or Jacob at the theater, be sure to tell them Christy + Ben sent you!
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Zoetropolis
112 West James Street
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We love this place for the amazing indie films it brings to town, and for the fact that you can sit on a cozy West Elm couch while you watch! In addition, you can grab a delicious beer and snack from the concessions stand inside OR check out one of the three attached restaurants: La Cocina (amazing Mexican food), Second Gear (taproom), and Zoe's Cinema Stillhouse (their own distillery and restaurant with killer small plates to share). The best part is that you can bring your food and drinks outside to enjoy on the patio and soak up the sunshine. If you go and meet Alax or Jacob at the theater, be sure to tell them Christy + Ben sent you!
Decades is a fairly new spot in town that offers arcade games, bowling, and a massive bar (with food options available as well as drinks). It's a great spot to hit up with a group of friends, or for a little date night.
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Decades
438 N Queen St
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Decades is a fairly new spot in town that offers arcade games, bowling, and a massive bar (with food options available as well as drinks). It's a great spot to hit up with a group of friends, or for a little date night.
Food scene
This just might be our very favorite meal in Lancaster (and that's saying something, because we have endless amazing options for local food here). Aloo Pepper Roti, Buss Up Shut, Pepper Beef, and Doubles are among our favorite offerings here. If you're going for dinner, you'll need a reservation, but it's absolutely worth it. Our favorite time to go is Saturday afternoon for a late lunch, and you can usually walk in for a table. A definite MUST try when you're in the area!
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Callaloo Trinidadian Kitchen
351 N Mulberry St
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This just might be our very favorite meal in Lancaster (and that's saying something, because we have endless amazing options for local food here). Aloo Pepper Roti, Buss Up Shut, Pepper Beef, and Doubles are among our favorite offerings here. If you're going for dinner, you'll need a reservation, but it's absolutely worth it. Our favorite time to go is Saturday afternoon for a late lunch, and you can usually walk in for a table. A definite MUST try when you're in the area!
For the best local Italian food, you have to stop at LUCA. Amazing woodfired pizzas, specialty hand-crafted cocktails, decadent pasta dishes, and mozzarella to make you weak in the knees, this is another one of our MUSTS. Another "must" about LUCA is a reservation -- you're going to need one well in advance if you'd like to secure a dinner res, even if it's a weeknight. Trust me. If you do decide to take a chance on it without a reservation, they have 30ish seats at the bar, and you can get great service there, too.
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LUCA
436 W James St
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For the best local Italian food, you have to stop at LUCA. Amazing woodfired pizzas, specialty hand-crafted cocktails, decadent pasta dishes, and mozzarella to make you weak in the knees, this is another one of our MUSTS. Another "must" about LUCA is a reservation -- you're going to need one well in advance if you'd like to secure a dinner res, even if it's a weeknight. Trust me. If you do decide to take a chance on it without a reservation, they have 30ish seats at the bar, and you can get great service there, too.
Amazing and authentic food from Nepal and India, you won't want to miss this spot. As unassuming as it looks from the outside, you might be surprised to hear this is some of the best food in town, but it's true! It's nearly always packed to the brim, so it's good to get a reservation if you can. We recommend the Tikka Masala, Chicken Korma, and samosas. YUM.
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Himalayan Curry & Grill
22 East Orange Street
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Amazing and authentic food from Nepal and India, you won't want to miss this spot. As unassuming as it looks from the outside, you might be surprised to hear this is some of the best food in town, but it's true! It's nearly always packed to the brim, so it's good to get a reservation if you can. We recommend the Tikka Masala, Chicken Korma, and samosas. YUM.
Okay, when you look at where this is on the map, you might get suspicious. But this just might be the BEST sushi outside Philly. There's a million delicious rolls to try, but if you're new to sushi, we recommend the White Fox roll to start out with.
Wasabi
2600 Willow Street Pike
Okay, when you look at where this is on the map, you might get suspicious. But this just might be the BEST sushi outside Philly. There's a million delicious rolls to try, but if you're new to sushi, we recommend the White Fox roll to start out with.
The Belv is a favorite around town, and with good reason. Its upscale vibe and killer menu make for a great date night out or celebratory spot. The grilled chicken caesar, Belvie bread, and chicken piccata are some favorites, but their local farm-to-table menu is always changing, so be sure to see what else they've got on offer!
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The Belvedere Inn
402 North Queen Street
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The Belv is a favorite around town, and with good reason. Its upscale vibe and killer menu make for a great date night out or celebratory spot. The grilled chicken caesar, Belvie bread, and chicken piccata are some favorites, but their local farm-to-table menu is always changing, so be sure to see what else they've got on offer!
For some quintessential French-American farm-to-table cuisine, look no further. This place will wow you (and probably your wallet, as well, tbh, but it's WELL worth it) from beginning to end. Fantastic service, impeccable food, and a gorgeous space. They are BYOB (with a small corkage fee), and they have an ever-changing menu, so you're always in for a delicious surprise.
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Ma(i)son
230 North Prince Street
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For some quintessential French-American farm-to-table cuisine, look no further. This place will wow you (and probably your wallet, as well, tbh, but it's WELL worth it) from beginning to end. Fantastic service, impeccable food, and a gorgeous space. They are BYOB (with a small corkage fee), and they have an ever-changing menu, so you're always in for a delicious surprise.
Gluten-Free Friendly
See this listing under Brunch for more details, but COE has a great variety of GF options (including a hearty GF bread that's actually delicious), and the staff take clean prep very seriously here. Great spot for the GF visitor!
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Cafe One Eight
18 West Orange Street
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See this listing under Brunch for more details, but COE has a great variety of GF options (including a hearty GF bread that's actually delicious), and the staff take clean prep very seriously here. Great spot for the GF visitor!
See the listing under Coffee for more details. But CHC has some GF options, and it's a great local, cozy vibe.
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Chestnut Hill Cafe
532 West Chestnut Street
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See the listing under Coffee for more details. But CHC has some GF options, and it's a great local, cozy vibe.
See the listing under Bars for more info. They have lots of great GF options on the menu, and can even make their crust GF! They also have lots of ciders and even hard seltzers from time to time, so there are good options for drinks, as well, even if you can't have the beer.
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The Fridge
534 North Mulberry Street
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See the listing under Bars for more info. They have lots of great GF options on the menu, and can even make their crust GF! They also have lots of ciders and even hard seltzers from time to time, so there are good options for drinks, as well, even if you can't have the beer.