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Mar 9, 2011 10:45 AM

Is a proper Guinness available in the wider Princeton area?

As St. Patrick's approaches, it seems a good question, though for us it's a perennial one. We are tired of going to Philly for a decent pint of Guinness, especially given the slender odds of finding one even there. Anyone know of closer places that are reasonably serious about both preparing their food and drawing their Guinness? (In Philly we hardly find the two in one place, so it's the second part of the question that's most important).

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  1. Bell's Tavern in Lambertville claims to have one of the "few Guinness certified taps" in the US. They pour a very good pint and their kitchen is very good for a tavern. Note they're cash only. Parking in the evening is usually available around the block at Niece lumber.

    It's been a while since we've dined there, but worth a shot.

    Closer to Princeton, the Rocky Hill Tavern pours a consistently good pint and has a good kitchen. I haven't watched their pours, but Guinness pints typically arrive at the table with a proper creamy dome over a black body.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Foody4life

      They also pour a good pint at Inn of the Hawke, also in Lambertville. I like it, and my more "hardcore" friends have never complained (as they often do if the temperature is off).

      Inn of the Hawke
      74 S Union St, Lambertville, NJ 08530

    2. Guinness available at:

      Killarney's, Mercerville/Hamilton. Perfect pour and great Shepherd's Pie!

      Should be quite a zoo here on the 17th!!

      1. You can definitely get a proper Guiness at Dublin Square on Rte 130 North in Bordentown.

        And for the cider fans out there, they have Magner's on tap.

        Dublin Square
        167 US Highway 130, Bordentown, NJ 08505

        1. For the sake of this discussion, what exactly constitutes a "proper" pint of Guinness? I've had a lot of it in a lot of places and even I'm not sure what you mean.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MGZ

            from the Guinness brewmaster:


            basic steps:

            -- a clean Guinness pint glass at room temp (shape of glass is unique to Guinness beer - as many brewers recommend what shaped glass theirs should be served in),
            -- proper temp of keg (helps too if a bar sells a lot of Guinness to ensure freshness),
            -- unique 80% N and 20% CO2 mix ratio on gas (nitrogen adds the cascading bubble action to the pour, many bars use a higher CO2 level or all CO2 for all taps - not good for Guinness),
            -- tilt glass and pour 3/4 pint (Guinness glasses have a 3/4 line marked on them),
            -- rest glass to settle bubbles out (takes time and busy bartenders sometimes skip, not good),
            -- finish pour with a creamy dome on top of the deep dark beer,
            -- serve & enjoy!

            1. re: Foody4life

              Then there is nothing uncommon about it. Pretty much every one of the legion of "Irishy" bars at the Shore has it.

              I suppose the proper temp thing is the only subject for debate, but finding a pub in Dublin that still serves it warm is about as hard as finding one that's still smokey.

              1. re: MGZ

                found this online:

                "Many places that muck about with having Guinness on tap simply use straight CO2 as their beer gas. Other may use a mix of 50% nitrogen and 50% CO2, and others a 70% to 30% ratio. But Paddy Malone's goes the extra and uses the St. James Gate Brewery recommended 80% nitrogen and 20% CO2, and a proper infuser tap to insure a creamy, smooth texture and clean taste."


                1. re: MGZ

                  In my recent experience, it's very uncommon to find a good pint though Guinness is available almost everywhere. The balance of gasses is critical, and that requires that the finishing pour should be done by pushing the stick back instead of pulling it - something that makes a difference and few bartenders bother about if they even bother to do a double pour. That's more the issue than temperature, imo. But the search is worth it, knowing that draft Guinness has as few calories as most light beers.

                  1. re: gibsonvt

                    Funny. My wife has made the same comment. Regardless of calories, though, a good pint is a good pint. If you're ever looking for one along the Monmouth County coastline, let us know, they are less rare than you might think around here.