Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny


51 Ratings
Union Jack's Inn on the ManatawnyUnion Jack's Inn on the Manatawny

Type: Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

546 Manatawny Rd
Boyertown, Pennsylvania, 19512-8056
United States

(610) 689-0189 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by jakester on 07-14-2005

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Ratings: 51 |  Reviews: 44
Photo of carlosd74
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

It has been said many times but if you are not from around there - you will drive by the road that leads into the woods to their location. So be smarter than I and don't attempt your first run in the dark of night. The key to not missing the turn off West Philly Street onto Toll House is to be looking for a small billboard advertising Pheasantland Roller rink. Once you see it - TURN!

Anyways, the place looks like some Pocono lodge circa1950 - think that place in the crappy movie - Dirty Dancing. So it is very rustic and woodsy. However, it is in great shape and not a bit rundown.

It was a chilly night so I did not make it onto the deck overlooking the "river" (hey my Girlfriend is from Cali and thinks 60 degrees is cold). It didn't matter because fruits of our trek lay inside.

They have a bottle selection that easily rivals Monk's Cafe and surpasses it as far as non-Belgian micros go. They have 8 taps (I think) and only a few stinkers (Coors, Yuengling, and Stella). The rest were a mix of local & national craft brews and one Belgian (Lindemanns). They served their beers in appropriate glassware and temperature.

The menu looked good but the best things are the wings. I grew up in North Hills (near their original location) and these wings have a reputation. I asked the barkeep what was the deal with their flavored wings (I only had hot wings). He recommended this stuff that was like Chinese Sesame Chicken/General Zuo's...but not sickly sweet or like it was a sauce from a bottle.

The staff was a highlight and that is rare for me. They offered their opinions and actually liked drinking craft beers. Bonus:
It turns out the one gal is the wife of the owner (or did she say owner's brother?). Anyways, she kicked butt!!! Thank you Jennifer Daily's younger sister!!! LOL

It was worth the 1 hour drive and I will go again....btw it is very reasonable. Two people drinking and an order of 10 wings and we paid less than $40 (b4 tip).

P.S. - the beer menu is great. Dare I say it is even better than The Beer Bible???

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

A lovely place right off of 663 in suburban berks county close to the bucks line. Easy to get too but seemingly in the middle of nowhere in a batty location tucked in the woods by some big lake or river or something. Atmosphere is great, this place is HUGE, and decked out like a boathouse from the 40's or something of that ilk. The quality of the beer is top notch and the serive was fantastic. The tenders' are friendly and love talking beer. The selection was also killer, with two russian rivers on tap! (Benediction and Pliny the younger) with the elder on deck apparantly. I was sad to see the deification was gone, but apparantly there was a problem with a foamy keg :-( Wow, this is one of the best beer bars that I have been to recently and it is only 40 minutes from my house...Awesome! The food looked great too! It's worth a special trip here for the Russian River beers alone (who else has em'!?). If you live within an hour of here I suggest going (multiple times)...I know I will!

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Photo of rdrummer
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I finally got a chance to give UJ's on the Manatawny a visit for an early Sunday lunch. Many things have been said about the location because it seems to be in the middle of nowhere. It is actually not hard to find and the spot where it is situated is beautiful. The building is well maintained and the inside was spotless.

The bar was quiet but it was early. Tom, the Manager (Owner?) was friendly, beer savvy, and easy to talk to. The taps were incredible with two Russian River beers, including Pliny the Elder, Nugget Nectar, and Speakeasy Big Daddy with 7 or 8 others. There were only one or two macros, which is strange for the area.

The food was very good. There were three soups on the menu, salads, other appetizers, a bunch of burgers with combinations of toppings, veggie burgers, and some more hearty platters. We had the crab soup, the Italian Wedding soup, and the pulled barbecue pork sandwich, which came with fries and coleslaw. A very hearty repast, even though my wife and I split the sandwich.

The bottle selection is huge. I wouldn't want to make a guess how many bottles were on hand but it had to be more than 150. I selected an assortment of bottles that I can't get in southern NJ and ended up with 11 bottles. Tom threw in an aged bottle of Cantillon Kriek Lambic that I really look forward to trying. I also picked up two more Russian River beers, Temptation and Damnation, the Middle Ages 10th Anniversary Ale, and the Southampton Cuvee des Fleurs. Tom also took $2 off the bottle price for each bottle since I was taking they with me.

This is a destination place that I will definitely be returning to. I have family in Pottstown and Boyertown so the trip for me is not a long one. In fact, it's a pleasant drive.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I just visited Union Jack's the other night with my wife and cousin after hitting a winery on the way up from the Paoli area. A woman at the winery highly recommended UJ's and the wine maker is a huge Belgian beer fan and a fan of UJ's as well. Although we had already planned on visiting UJ's after we left the winery, if we didn't have those plans we would have been convinced by the kind folks at the winery to head there.

Our directions got us a little off track but we eventually got our barings straight and found UJ's without alot of trouble. I was suprised at the overall size of the place although the bar area is somewhat small, it has a very cool vibe to it and the number of quality taps and bottles per square foot was off the charts.

When we arrived there were only a few other customers at the bar but that changed over the 2 hours or so we were there as the bar filled up quickly and so did the restaurant. Unfortunately we didn't stay to eat dinner as we already had plans to go somewhere else for that but I heard their food is also very good.

The bartenders were very friendly and when I sat down at the bar I prompty got a nice glass of RR Pliny the Elder in a nice gobet. Heaven it was. My wife got an equally tasty glass of RR Benediction which I also enjoyed myself later. The bartenders were very friendly and came over to talk when they were not busy and the manager, Tom, also came over and chatted with us for awhile and recognized me from BA based on some of the questions I asked and recent posts I had made on this site. I thought that was pretty cool.

The tap selection was very good including the two RR beers I mentioned, Bell's Two Hearted Ale and a few from Troeg's and Victory to name a few. We sat right at the bar in front of their impressive collection of bottles on the shelf and in a cooler. Some of the newer bottles they had included DFH Fort and Panil and they have a great selection of Belgian's that were too numberous to mention or remember at this time. There was also a very stocked cooler of more domestic bottles that I didn't get a chance to look into that much but it looked very impressive.

One of the bartenders was nice enough to talk to my cousin on the phone and give him directions to get there after he got lost from his mapquest directions. Overall it was just a really cool place, with great staff and great beers on tap and bottle. I will surely make this a regular stop on the weekends. I am already planning my next trip here for some beers and to try their food.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This had to be one of my most enjoyable visits to a beer bar ever.
After my twists, turns, (and one wrong turn), my wife and I arrived at Union Jack's. It has a very impressive from the outside, and the scene was complete with an English Taxi parked in the front. We arrived shortly after noon on a Friday and we were the only patrons. We were offered any table in the place, and selected a corner booth. The waiter came with a menu and asked for our drink selections. When I asked what was on tap, he presented me with a listing that was fabulous. They also have a list of their new bottle arriveals and are in the process of printing up a full listing. I selected a Russian River Benediction for the tap list, and was not disappointed. The lunch menu selection was typical, with some nice wraps and several portabella mushroom selections available, in addition to your standard burgers, chicken dishes, and appetizers. I chose a chicken and portabella wrap, and my wife sselected the Maryland crab soup and the ceasar salad. I also ordered my second beer selection, a Bell's Two hearted Ale on tap. The food was excellent, ane the beers were fresh and delicious. I also purchased theur last bottle of Russian River Temptation. The manager, Tom, was very familiar with the beers being served and it was enjoyable talking to him. Our waiter was also very attentive, and gave us a tour of the outside when we were leaving. Definitely a first rate operation. While talking with Tom I mentioned that I found out the place from BA, and he says he frequently is on line. My wife and I also looked at the dinner menu, and it seemed to have some nice selections at reasonable prices. I hope to return in the near future.

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Photo of GnomeKing
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

What kind of place is this? When I sat at the bar on my first visit, the manager caught my attention and asked if I was GnomeKing on BA--he recognized me from my avatar.

UJ's really makes the effort not just to stock beer from great breweries (which they do), but also to pick the top notch beers from each. For instance, they had World Wide Stout on tap on my visit, which is a rare site. DFH has plenty of wonderful beers, and WWS is perhaps tops among them, although it's rarely on tap anywhere. The effort to have WWS on draft shows the commitment UJ's has to quality. There are lots of beers--so many that you might not see them all unless you make the effort to scan thoroughly behind the bar for every cooler or cabinet. A few examples: Alphaklaus, Southampton (Cuvee), Sly Fox Rare Vos, Stone Double Bastard/Oaked Bastard/Ruination, Oaked Yeti, Storm King...the list went on and on.

The bartenders know their beer and are happy to give honest, informed opinions. They're really friendly--naturally so, not the fake "yes, sir" kind of formality you get in some places, but an unaffected way of treating you like a friend and a geniune appreciation for your business.

Lots of their beers are in big bottles, so bring a friend or your whole crew to share. You can take out single bottles also.

It was after dinner, so I only sampled a little food. The crab soup was as good as what I've had in Maryland, and my toasted ravioli dish was creative and tasty.

This place has little competition out in Blair Witch country, so they could easily just have macros. It's not like a place in the city that has to step up its selection to compete. UJ's dishes out the beer kung fu just because it wants to.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I finally was able to pop into another UJs after practically growing up in UJs Glenside. This place is stunning. A beer lover's dream! It's a little tricky to find this joint but well worth finding. Appearing like a hunting lodge or a bed & breakfast type building out of the blue as you turn the corner, it's a beautiful spacious building. Inside, the bar, booths and band are to the left and a second restaurant type room is to the right where you'll find the little boy's room replete with antique style. Lots of dark wood enhance the beauty of this beer geek heaven. There is also an outdoor deck that is open for beers when it is warmer, and a babbling brook to boot. Free entrance with a reggae band that was really good.

I was most impressed with the knowledge of the bar staff. I ordered a couple esoteric beergeek bottles of Luciérnaga, The Firefly and Middle Ages for $22. They actually asked if I wanted them cold or not. How cool! Also take out was further enhanced by AlphaKlaus, Panil Barque, and the taps are to die for. As good as anywhere with Urthel Hop-it, Vic'ry Storm King and Hop Wallop, Sly Fox, Russian River Pliny the Elder and more! About 20 taps overall. Awesome! UJs pays attention to good local beer and good beer in general. Mad props.

Last call: Could you take your Mother here? Absolutely. An inviting ambiance. Top notch beer and top notch people. Even Stevie Wonder can see that UJs cares about beer. A little off the beaten track, but only by about an hour from other great places like Sly Fox and Vic'ry.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Heeere's Johnny!

Well Now, here is a really nice surprise.

Stop #2 during a quiet Sunday drive round PA with BA Erica. First off it’s listed as in Boyertown, but it is not actually in Boyertown. You need to take Rte. 73 *from* Boyertown & head West for about 5 miles until you get to Pheasantland (no really it is called that), once through there you turn left onto Tollhouse Road, be careful not to miss it, we did, look for the sign that says Pheasantland Roller Rink and Reppert’s Candy. Once in the back lanes take a left at the stop sign onto Manatawny Road and it’s on your right hand side set down the hill after about a mile.

Remember the driving sequence up the hills to the Overlook Hotel (Oregon’s Timberline Lodge) in The Shining??…..oh I digress, but needless to say we seemed to be in the back of beyond by the time we got here. After a lonely drive we ended up outside a large wooden lodge affair….ooh spooky. My attention was immediately drawn to an Old London Black Cab (Hackney Carriage) sitting to the left of the driveway that leads down to the largish parking lot.

A small deck area fronts Union Jack’s, it was dark when we arrived, it felt like 9pm but it was barely 6pm when we got there, the clocks had just gone back that day so it seemed much later than it really was. Quiet as a Church Mouse inside, we were outnumbered by the staff & the focus of much giggling attention it seemed. Surely we must be lost tourists!?

Nevertheless, once inside the bar, which is a large L-shape affair, lots of wood & the cabin feel are accentuated by the darkened interior. The bar area sits towards & in front of you and dog-legs to your left as you enter, whilst the nicely appointed restaurant area is to the right which is visible through a glass pane from the bar area.

Even though there was no sound on the TV, it wasn’t hard to work out that the Eagles were getting their proverbial arses pasted by the Broncos when we arrived. 30 minutes later an Eagles fan turned up for the “Football Night”, he was alone; needless to say he fought hard to get the volume on the TV raised.

None of this mattered to me, for I was fixated on the great draft beer range. Divine providence had me sit at the bar right in front of Russian River Pliny the Elder…naahhh….YEP! Sure enough, I started with a PtE. Erica chose a Victory Moonglow, which was too sweet & way too Bananery for my liking, and I suspect hers too, yet even though she bravely soldiered through it. Some 15 plus taps with a seriously impressive range of draft brews, lots of choice, style and source and no crap on tap. My second draft brew was a Rogue Saison from the John’s Locker range, weird to say the least but the chance to try it out here at the Outlook Hotel was awesome. Beyond the drafts the coolers behind the bar contains some real serious eye candy. Well over 300 brews to choose from in total, far too many to mention but suffice to say that it ranged from Coast to Coast and North to South as well as overseas. An immensely impressive range of brews that bowled me over, well except for the bottle of Flying Fish crap that I tried, did I really order that (slaps forehead). Nevertheless, I did manage to snaffle a DFH Olde School and Raison D’Extra to take out though.

Service was superb, a little quiet at first but once the beers were ordered the guy behind the bar was incredibly helpful, was his name Jack Torrance? Later on one of the waitresses, Shelly Duvall I think, joined us in the conversation with a few locals. Warm and friendly the attitude was great and very welcome.

The toilets were clean and well appointed, I just followed the directions from the two young twin girls stood next to each other in the hallway saying “Hello Darren, Come and play with us. Come and play with us, Darren" but I hated having to wade through all that gushing blood as the toilet doors opened.

I couldn’t resist food here, not usually a good idea in a quiet bar, but I was hungry by the time we got here. Fear not, I opted for a spicy El Paso Burger whilst Erica opted for a Non-Carnivorous Veggie version called a “Hey Vinnie” whatever that meant. A basket of home-made Fries completed the sides as did the Ketchup and Malt Vinegar. Both the Burgers were superb and demolished in no time, I thoroughly enjoyed mine and Erica was quiet so I am sure she enjoyed hers. The food menu was varied and seemed to offer a lot of home made options. I would eat here again no worries.

The décor is heavy with Englishness and Beer related items which lends a nice atmosphere throughout. I imagine that in the Summer this place is a really cool place to hang out, but in the Winter, the snow covered maze will probably be the only reason to venture outside.

They say that…..
...All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…..Redrum…..

So what did happen in Room 237?

The Union Jack Torrance-Nicholson’s Inn at the Outlook Hotel is highly recommended.
Well worth the drive up the Colorado Rockies. ;-)

Last Visit: Sunday 30th October, 2005

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Photo of erica
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Wow, what a super place in the absolute middle of nowhere!! I drove out here over the weekend with TheLongBeachBum, my confidence in directions shattered after going to Ortino's first (I sort of had wrong directions, but it wasn't that out of the way). Finally we found it via a sign on a main road to turn down a smaller road into really the middle of nowhere. Great looking place, all wood exterior, with an old London cab out in the 'front yard'. Inside the bar area is straight ahead, very dim, and the more restaurant area is to the right. We sat at the bar, and were the only ones in there. VERY quiet for a football season Sunday late afternoon. Anyway, the bar was actually almost too dim, and they had an eclectic music mix going, most of it pretty good, and a few muted TVs with football. A band started playing a half hour or so after we got there, and we thought the place would get crowded then, but, sadly for the band, it did not. They played in the restaurant part, so we could hear them but not see them. I wonder if they get bands there often..

So then, when we sat down at the bar, we sat in front of one of the 4 or so sets of taps (about 15 taps total I think) and right in front of our faces is Pliny The Elder. Wow!! English bar in PA with Russian River on tap. Nice. However, I ordered a Moonglow. Which I started to regret towards the end of the glass, watching LBB drinking that hop juice while I was sipping at a sweet weizenbock. Still good though. Service was excellent. The bartender, whose name I never got, really seemed to know his beer, and casually mentioned Beer Advocate while talking to some other customers a bit later on. Interesting. He was also very nice and joked a lot, which made the place more interesting, since it was mostly empty. I asked for a beer list, which just had the taps (almost all micros or imports) and the new bottles. Pretty many new bottles. TONS more bottles in the fridges. Honestly I can't think of another bar who has such a huge and varied selection! Bad news for someone like me who can't make a quick decision. I trusted Mr. Bartender's suggestion for my 2nd beer on a Humbolt... I think it was Golden Nectar? It was a good choice. Thanks!!

We ordered food, too, which was excellent. Not an extreme amount of veggie food on the menu, but you could substitute a veggie burger or portabella for a cow on any of their burgers for $1 more. I got a Hey Vinnie burger, which was an Italian, cheesy-saucy-basily thing on a veggie burger, which seemed to be homemade. Yum! Split a basket of fresh-cut fries with malt vinegar with Mr. Bum, who had the spicy El Paso burger on a 'real' burger 'for real people.' Ha. Ha.

Everything at that place was awesome, except for the location. The Bartender, the few other people who came into the bar, were all great people. So nice and friendly and helpful. The prices weren't out of control either, considering what you get there. I highly recommend venturing out into the woods or wherever, and paying a visit to this fine establishment. You will not be disappointed!!!

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Photo of NolanGTI
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I have been waiting a long time to review this gem. I have been to Union Jack's about 5 times now and eaten there twice. I can honestly say that this has to be the most in the middle of nowhere great beer bar that even local BA's have never heard of. Hopefully that will change.

Inside is a typcial pub setting. Some booths and tables, with plenty of space at the S shaped bar. Outside there is a a great deck and patio that overlook the Manatawny. Truly one of the best places to grab a beer outside. They also have a separate bar outside with a pretty solid bottle selection.

The tap lines here are a great start, I think there are about 16 with many standards (Corsendonk comes to mind, will update with the rest when they come to mind). They rotate about 5 taps and always have great finds here. Recently I have had Ruination and 90 Minute to name a few.

What moves the selection up to a 5.0 is the bottle selection which is the best in the area (and I am talking about a pretty large area). I actually can't remember a bar that had as many great bottles. When stocking my cellar over the past year I have left Union Jack's with a new 6 pack each time. Just some great stuff. The bottle selection has also been different every time I have been there...recently I have gotten Three Philosophers, Saison DuPont, Nostradamus, etc... just killer.

I have eaten there twice now and the bar food is really top notch stuff. I have also had one dinner there which was very good. This place does not exude the most confidence when you walk in or see it from the road, but you will be quickly put at ease.

For the most part the bartenders haven been great and knowledgeable. The owners son (I believe) runs the place and is up on his beer and has gone out of his way to be especially gracious to me every time I have been there.

Biggest shortcoming - only jakester and I have ever been there!!! Get out there people while the weather is still good.

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Photo of jakester
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This place has been here for three years, and I only found it in February, when the nurse at the vet, who is a waitress here, heard us talking beer. There are two other Union Jack's, both in the Philly area. I haven't visited either place, but I assume they are similar.

There are 17 taps, only one crap. They always have some hoppy drafts, and a few Belgians on draft as well. The real beer story, IMHO, is the bottled selection. There are @ 200-250 bottles to chose from, and Tom, the manager, knows his beer. I was introduced to Hercules DIPA, Stone Ruination, and Gumballhead, just to name a few. They are usually very fresh, a hard thing to do, especially in Berks County.

The food is good, and so is the service. The prices are reasonable. I've been there many times, and have taken my whole family on occasion. My only complaint would be the bar area can be smoky from time to time, but nothing outrageous or anything.

Also, during the summer, there is live music outside along the banks of the Manatawny Creek. This place needs to be seen to be appreciated. For Berks County, it doesn't get any better than this.

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Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny in Boyertown, PA
4.56 out of 5 based on 51 ratings.
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