Service and Atmosphere
Kenilworth Tavern sits on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, a popular piece of bar crawl terrain, and it’s a pretty typical neighborhood dive: the food, the drinks, and the atmosphere are all about average. They don’t seem to be trying too hard to impress anyone with their outdated decor, dingy tables, and grimy lobster tank–it feels a bit like hanging out in a basement–not that there’s anything wrong with that. In a separate room attached to the restaurant, Kenilworth Tavern is also equipped with a pool table and dart boards, making it a fairly nice location to gather with friends.
Upon being seated at an old booth by the window, our server was prompt in taking our orders, and was overall polite and fairly pleasant. The back of the house, on the other hand, was certainly not having as good of a night: our food was brought to the table in three separate intervals, each at least fifteen minutes apart, making our server visibly annoyed and apologetic.
I had judged the book by its cover: I was expecting Kenilworth Tavern to be serving up domestics and had accepted that I’d be downing Bud Lights all night. However, I was taken by surprise after a glance at their beer menu which consisted of a decent selection of the usual domestics, and then a handful of good craft beers like Harpoon IPA, Great Lakes Christmas Ale and Dortmunder, and Stone IPA.
The beer prices where about average, or maybe just below, with a Christmas Ale draft and a bottle of Harpoon IPA each $4.50. If you’re looking to score a deal on drinks, Kenilworth may be a good go-to watering hole: Monday features $2.75 tall domestic drafts and $3.00 16 oz. Bloody Marys, Wednesday boasts $2.75 imports, along with other cheap specials throughout the week.
Kenilworth Tavern serves a variety of bar food favorites including wings, burgers, and wraps, which are all well under $10. They also cook up a variety of weekly specials like an 11 ounce New York strip steak dinner for $9.25 on Mondays, $1.75 tacos on Wednesdays, and a $7.25 fish fry on Fridays. If you’re looking for something cheap and casual, the Kenilworth Tavern certainly won’t break the bank, but it’s advisable to keep your expectations low.
Friday’s special, a beer battered cod dinner served with fries, cole slaw, and tartar sauce for $7.25, sounded like a winner to me. When my food was finally delivered to the table nearly 20 minutes after the other diners had been served, it lacked any evidence that it had just been prepared–everything was nearly cold and the fish was terribly dried out. The cod didn’t look or taste anything like cod, and it certainly wasn’t beer battered but was instead coated in a thick crust of dry, tasteless breadcrumbs. The cole slaw was nothing special either, and the tarter sauce was a big glob of bland mayonnaise. Though I didn’t have the highest of expectations for a seven dollar fish fry, I was certainly hoping for something a bit more appetizing.
Other menu items tried that night included a cheese quesadilla ($6.25), a dozen of jumbo hot wings ($6.00), and the pulled pork sandwich ($6.25). Neither the quesadilla or the wings received any complaints; in fact, the wings were tasty and a good deal for their six dollar price tag. The pulled pork sandwich, on the other hand, was just as disappointing as the fish fry: the meat contained more fat than it did actual pork and it was drowned in a questionable barbecue sauce, making it somewhat reminiscent of a bad sloppy joe.
Kenilworth Tavern may be a good after work or late night drink spot with its friendly servers, decent beer selection, and nightly drink specials, but the food falls short, even if it is just bar food.