Review: Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports Pub

by theelvee_w2oe3m

Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports pub is a relatively new establishment on the SouthSide of Bethlehem that took over the spot of the beleaguered Lehigh Pub that drove off clientele after calling the cops on them for not leaving at tip.

For months prior to the official switch-over I had heard that the Lehigh Pub had switched owners which was sorely needed after their PR debacle.  On a Friday night visit before Molly’s took over there wasn’t anyone in the entire establishment with the exception of my friends and I.  On a weekend evening.

Thankfully the spot seems to have found a bit of a resurgence thanks to a revamped menu and a sizeable craft beer selection.  Upon entering the bar and dining areas look pretty familiar.  The same high-backed wooden booths line the back wall and it’s retained much of the same feel from the previous Lehigh Pub and before that, Bridgeworks.  What differs here is the drink and the food.

Molly’s mixes it up a bit, combining traditional Irish and Scottish fare with the usual bar favorites.  The likes of corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and lamb stew pot pie grace the traditional eats while burgers, cheese steaks, and fries round out the pub part of the menu.  I’ve been to Molly’s quite a few times and had various dishes there.  The Shannon, encompasing ork, cheddar cheese, green apple, onions, and apple butter on multigrain was an interesting combo, similar to dishes I’ve had at Tika’s and The Brew Works in the past.  It was different, yet very tasty.  A bit of sour bite to round out the sweetness of the pork was just what the fusion needed.

On my most recent visit I opted for Shepherd’s Pie, an example of a traditional Irish meat pie.  Served covered with thick, hearty gravy they sure didn’t skimp on the portion size.  A giant serving, accompanied by a boring house salad and veggies, the pie itself was fantastic.  Warm, just enough salt, and fluffy mashed potatoes made this a winner of a dish.  Unfortunately the salad was completely unimaginative and the vegetables on the side were far too hard and critically overseasoned.  The buns that were served with it were akin to eating a mouthful of sand: dry, crunchy, and not very tasty.  The sides really ruined the meal.

The service is a mix between nice and subpar depending on what sort of establishment you view Molly’s as.  In regards to craft beer, the service is absolutely horrendous.  The bartenders don’t have a clue about the fine ales they serve and the glassware is even worse.  I got served a great stout and was asked if I wanted a glass.  In the world of craft beer, things like this are a sin.  A server also neglected to read off the menu specials to me, which peeved me considering some of them I may have been interested in ordering.  The servers in general, however, seem to be really nice.  All of them were exceedingly prompt, however unintelligible regarding their beers.  On several occasions I had great beers at Molly’s, such as Southern Tier Pumpking or Left Hand Brewery’s Fade to Black Volume 2.  They really need to pare down the amount of crap beers they have though:  Either they’re a craft beer bar or they’re not.

The atmosphere at Molly’s can range from moderate to lonesome to college frat house.  If you’re looking for a solitary time to enjoy a craft beer and a good dish avoid nights/weekends.  Trivia night and Eagles games are excessively obnoxious, as well as party nights like Halloween.  Otherwise the crowd hasn’t been to obnoxious and certainly not the typical college crowd all the time that used to frequent the joint.

I think Molly’s needs to focus more and decide whether they want to be a craft beer bar or another iteration of the pubs that came before.  I think they could survive as both, or survive as they are, both they could excel at one or the other with some focus and investment.  Hopefully this bar won’t stay as it is and will grow into a true destination rather than a random drop-in.


Molly’s Irish Grille & Sports Pub
East 4th Street & New Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015

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Charles Patrick January 27, 2011 - 1:49 pm

Thank you for your review of our establishment. I appreciate your truthfulness to our positives and areas of opportunities. We hear at Molly’s are always trying to continue to get better on a daily basis and this review help us along in that strive for excellence. I will use this as a tool to help continue to train our staff and better our menu choices. Please continue to visit us and let us know what we are doing right and what we need to continue to improve on.


Chaz Patrick
Managing Partner and General Manager

The El Vee January 27, 2011 - 2:11 pm

Mr. Patrick,

Thanks for visiting the site. It’s good to hear a business owner appreciative of honest opinions. Thanks for adding yet another bar with a great beer selection to the valley and I look forward to visiting again soon.

Jordanlk January 31, 2011 - 11:49 pm

Molly’s has two major positives for me beyond their great selection.

1) They have great weekly beer specials. Their $3 micro-Mondays, $3 import Wednesday, and Irish beer Sundays make Molly’s a great destination on these less busy days. It’s a great place to get together with a few friends, have a few good beers, and relax. The staff might not always know all of the details about what is available, but by trying a few beers or trying the beers available on tap, it is usually possible to find something to please any beer drinker.

2) They have great vegetarian food albeit for a bar. The SouthSide has few good places to get vegetarian food especially in the evening. Blue Sky has good breakfast and lunch. Wildflower had (and maybe Terra Cafe will have?) good, but very slow food. Tulum has good burritos, and Nawab has, well, ok Indian food. Molly’s offers one of the best black bean veggie burgers I’ve tasted in Bethlehem. I recommend adding Swiss cheese. They also have one of the only tofu dinner options in SouthSide with their tofu stir-fry.

Combining these two positives, for me Molly’s represents a great place to get a good vegetarian dinner and either a craft beer or import when the weekend crowds are not there.

neil June 30, 2012 - 9:42 pm

So they changed the name of this place to Molly’s Pub. That’s great, only, it wasn’t the name of the place that was the problem, it was the attitude of the employees and management with regard to their customers.

They say they have changed owners which is not true. The same person that was primary owner under Lehigh’s Pub, Carolyn Scott, never went anywhere. They did change the general manager to a man named Chaz Patrick.

So I went to the new Molly’s site and looked at the menu. Guess what? On the bottom of the page there is a statement that betrays their real feelings about the people that pay their bills:

“18% service charge added to check of parties of 6 or more”

In other words, they have taken the term “gratuity” out of the proviso and added “service charge” in it’s stead.
So now, if you don’t pay the 18% + they can have you arrested.
Apparently the “new gen mgr” learned nothing and neither have their customer base..


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