McCoole’s at the Historic Red Lion Inn Marks 10th Anniversary

Owner/Manager Hench Transforms Historic Buildings
into a Lively Entertainment Complex

Quakertown has seen many changes in its dining offerings over the past 200+ years, but one constant has been the Red Lion Inn at the corner of what is now Broad and Main Streets. Opened in 1750 by Walter McCoole as McCoole’s Tavern, this historic spot now celebrates its 10th anniversary year operating as McCoole’s at the Historic Red Lion Inn under owner/manager Jan Hench.

Hench and a silent partner purchased the property in 2002 from owners who had ceased operating a restaurant years prior, although they continued to run the inn established in 1747. (Hench bought out her partner in 2012.) After almost a year of extensive renovations to the downstairs restaurant space, adding historical architectural touches of the period such as wood paneling and tin ceilings, bringing back the stone fireplace to working condition, and restoring the outside paint to original colors, the restaurant was leased to a chef who operated the facility as The Red Lion Inn. In June of 2005, the chef closed the restaurant.

Faced with much-needed local restaurant space and no tenant, Hench, not one to shrink from a challenge, decided to manage the restaurant portion of the business herself. She reopened November 25, 2005 as McCoole’s at the Historic Red Lion Inn. Specializing in good, reasonably priced food in an upscale atmosphere and featuring live entertainment on weekends, the restaurant quickly became a local favorite and has continued to flourish over the past decade.

Hench purchased the adjacent property in March, 2007. The former carriage house for the Inn, it had been operating as The Main Street Theatre until it went into bankruptcy before Hench purchased it. Quakertown had been lacking banquet facilities since the demise of Meyer’s Restaurant, so Hench saw the opportunity the building offered to meet that need in the community as well as offer some additional parking opportunities to her restaurant patrons when that facility was not in use.

Again, countless hours were devoted to renovating the space to become a banquet/catering facility on the ground floor, with the black box theatre upstairs available to rent for music and theater productions as well as business seminars. Renamed McCoole’s Arts & Events Place, it opened for business in time for theatre productions in May of 2007 as well as a myriad of special occasion parties in 2007.

Fast forward to 2015 and the corner of Broad and Main has become a lively venue. Dramatic murals done by local artist Lorenzo adorn the former carriage house openings of the Arts & Events Place. The front patio of the Arts & Events Place extends the outdoor dining space of the restaurant’s front porch in seasonal weather. State-of-the-art heaters extend the season so patrons can continue to enjoy a meal under the stars and listen to live entertainment on the weekend beyond the summer months. The restaurant porch has seen a dramatic face lift over the summer. The building’s limestone façade, covered since the 1700’s, has been exposed and pointed.

The Arts & Events Place now offers three separate rental spaces as well as the theater. Production companies stage musicals and cabaret performances at the theater several times a year, including children’s productions and summer camp. Last year, Hench teamed with employees to convert the theatre space into a Haunted House. It was open only for Halloween night, but the positive feedback they received has led them to extend the operation of the haunted house for eight days in October and to offer a Halloween Bash party on October 24, 2015. Each year hundreds of patrons come to enjoy the McCoole’s Beer Festival, now in its 7th year, featuring over 75 unique beers, crafts, live music and food.

The Red Lion Brewery, another project pioneered by Hench, is now located at the Arts & Events Place. Here an IPA and Amber Ale as well as two seasonal blends are microbrewed year-round and served at McCoole’s Restaurant. The Red Lion IPA and Amber Ale have become so popular, that they outsell all existing national brands on draft at McCoole’s. As a result, Hench has introduced Red Lion Brewery 64 oz. Growlers selling at $15 each at the bar. Patrons can fill these growlers, or others of their choice with Red Lion microbrews. IPA’s are priced at $22, ales at $20 and porters at $21.

In recognition of its 10th anniversary, Hench is also transforming the menu at the restaurant. “We want to move towards humanely raised, antibiotic- and growth hormone-free foods in cooperation with local farms for as many menu choices as possible,” states Hench. “To do that, we need to change some of our offerings to allow us to keep everything really fresh.” A new test menu was introduced in February and will be finalized in October. Some old favorites are gone, much to the dismay of some regular patrons, but new additions keep with the restaurant’s tradition of providing upscale atmosphere for the working person’s wallet. For this reason, Hench is willing to give this new menu a chance. “It’s a risk,” notes Hench. “Change is hard for a lot of people, but in the long run, I think this move is the right one for us.”

The popularity of the two venues has led to another issue, one that is faced by many businesses in small towns – namely, parking. “People in this area are used to the parking convenience offered by the big box stores out on Route 309,” remarks Hench. “They don’t want to walk. The borough was built originally to serve horses and there just isn’t room for all these cars.” Hench has arranged for overflow parking at the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce lot – a half block away. However, many patrons were hesitant to cross the very busy intersection due to a lack of designated cross walks.

The solution to this parking issue? Hench approached the owners of West End Styles and Battery Warehouse to arrange a parking arrangement for her patrons that would not interfere with their business needs. In addition, Hench has invested in a small bus seating 16 passengers and is offering complimentary door-to-door service to patrons of McCoole’s Restaurant and Arts & Events Place, either attending McCoole’s or private functions. Christened The Mane Street Shuttle, the bus features playful murals by artist Lorenzo and can be seen throughout the area transporting patrons of McCoole’s. Patrons can arrange for complimentary round trip door-to-door service. Hench also views this as a way for those attending private functions at the Arts & Events place to feel more comfortable about their alcohol intake. “Many wedding and event venues now offer shuttle service to local hotels for those attending the event,” notes Hench. “We have all the hotels out at the turnpike with whom we have developed a good relationship, and this is a win-win for all of us.”

Throughout all of this evolution, one constant remains: the inn itself. Offering 16 rooms, the inn that sits above the restaurant continues to serve those needing a room for an extended stay. Hench rents rooms by the week or month. Keeping the inn status is important to Hench, and although she may have ideas on how that space will evolve, one thing is for sure, it will continue to function as an inn, as it has for 265 years.

Bucks County Artist Lorenzo Carves One-of-a-Kind Taps for Red Lion Brewery

1799 Rebel AleRecognizing that the Red Lion microbrews were here to stay, McCoole’s owner Jan Hench sought taps to distinguish these brews from those of other beers sold on tap at McCoole’s. Traditional tap manufacturers were cost-prohibitive when the order was for one each of four, so Hench turned to local artist, sculptor and musician, Lorenzo Branca, to design and carve custom taps.

“I have found Lorenzo’s imagination and execution a great asset to the area,” states Hench. “This was certainly a fun project to work with him on, and he developed some truly imaginative taps.”

Lorenzo, known for his colorful and playful murals throughout the McCoole’s complex, worked with a wood and plastic composite material to create his carvings. Drawing upon the beer names for inspiration, he designed a rebellious colonial soldier for the 1799 Rebel Ale, named for the John Fries Rebellion organized at the Red Lion Inn, current home to McCoole’s Restaurant. For the Komo Sutra India Pale Ale, visions of India came to mind, so he carved a belly dancer with two cobra snakes wrapped around the handle and featuring a Taj Mahal shape. The taps for the two seasonal brews showcase carved lions in honor of the brewery name. As fraternal twins, they face opposite directions. They include an insert area where the current seasonal brew can be displayed.

Measuring over a foot high and weighing between one and two pounds each, these taps are certainly an impressive and ornamental addition to the bar at McCoole’s. Lorenzo made sure to finish them with water resistant lacquers and to outfit them with specially made brass fittings made by fellow artist, George Maffett, to guarantee a tight seal.

“Working with Jan Hench is always a pleasure,” noted Lorenzo. “She is very supportive of the arts and has a true sense of fun which allows me to do what I do for her.”

Red Lion Brewery Marks First Anniversary

Over 11,000 pints sold in first year at McCoole’s Restaurant

1799 Rebel Ale McCoole’s Red Lion Brewery‘s initial success was not a flash in the pan, but a real acknowledgement that the diners and bar goers at McCoole’s Restaurant are happy to swill some premium handcrafted beers brewed on-site at McCoole’s Arts & Events Place at the Historic Red Lion Inn. Since the first keg was tapped the week before Thanksgiving in 2013, the Brewery has produced over 11,000 pints of its microbrews, currently sold only on tap at McCoole’s Restaurant.

The brainchild of McCoole’s owner Jan Hench, and brewmaster Edward MacAdams, founder of Homestead Product Supply, a former Quakertown-based retail supplier of homebrew equipment and supplies, Red Lion Brewery tapped its first keg, a Wishbone Winter Ale, which sold out in four days, and there has been no looking back. According to brewmaster MacAdams, “ We are working to keep up with demand right now, which is a great place to be.”

The secret to the Red Lion Brewery’s popularity resides in the small batch development inherent in handcrafted beers and the unique recipes MacAdams brings to his brews. MacAdams works in a 13’ x 19’ dedicated space in the McCoole’s Arts and Events building where he develops his beers via a one barrel or “pilot” system, brewing 30 gallons at a time producing six kegs.

Based on this brewing schedule, Red Lion Brewery has four beers on tap at McCoole’s at all times: two standard brews sold throughout the year, Komo Sutra Imperial IPA and the 1799 Rebel Ale, and two seasonal brews sold quarterly. Right now the bar is changing over from the seasonal Equinox Oktoberfest and Jack’s Revenge Pumpkin Ale to last year’s popular seasonal Wishbone Winter Ale, a spiced brown ale, and the new Snowcap, a vanilla porter.

McCoole’s owner Hench is delighted to be part of the national movement toward handcrafted beers. “After seeing the interest in microbrews expressed at our annual Spring and Fall McCoole’s BeerFests, it was easy to take that jump into establishing our own microbrewery,” states Hench. Although the process to start the microbrewery took longer than she anticipated, the end result has more than compensated for the wait. And who knows, maybe local beer aficionados will find the Red Lion Brewery label on their local distributor’s shelf some day.

Amber Ales are $5.75 each while the higher alcohol content IPA and seasonal brews are $6.75.

Diners Remark on Positive Experience

Accidentally we stumbled upon your restaurant. We are from central Jersey and were in Quakertown on business. We had such a delightful dinner experience. The hostesses and waitresses were so friendly and helpful. Dinner was great as we sat by Reta on the piano. We have to return on Friday to finalize some business. We will definitely see you then. Thank you for an excellent evening.

Sincerely, The K Family

Must tell you that we really loved our dinners. My husband had the prime rib, and our friends had the fire-roasted salmon. Everything was cooked perfectly and freshly prepared. Thank you for good service and especially delectable cuisine.


McCoole’s Owner Jan Hench Receives Award from Lehigh Valley Area Youth And Community Theater


Jan Hench, Owner of McCoole’s at the Historic Red Lion Inn and McCoole’s Arts & Events Place received a Humanitarian award from the Lehigh Valley Area Youth and Community Theater for her support of the organization and their work with area youth. The award was one of many presented at the entertainment packed Lehigh Valley Soul Music Awards ’14 held on September 7, 2014 at McCoole’s Arts & Events Place.

In addition to Hench, many greater Lehigh Valley artists, both teens and adults, as well as area social and religious leaders were recognized. Among these was Larry Holmes, former World Heavyweight Champion, who received a Humanitarian award for his leadership in the Lehigh Valley, Entertainment was provided throughout the evening by many of the award winners as well as Dana Gaynor and her band and Charlie Brown’s Notorious Groove, old school soul and rhythm and blues band.

The Lehigh Valley Area Youth & Community Theater was established by Aaliyah and Vincent Kee to prepare the next generation of performing artists. It works to promote youth literacy via script review and study as well as performance opportunities in live shows. Ms. Hench is pictured here with fellow award winners Charlie Brown to her left and Larry Holmes to her right.

Weekly Events at McCooles

For a new experience at McCooles, stop in for one of our specialty nights in the lounge areas, including

Tuesday Trivia: Play for prizes. $2.00 Retro and Miller lite draughts.

Wednesday Wing Night:  Choose from the following sauces: Buffalo, B.B.Q. or Hot & Honey. Also your choice of Ranch or Bleu Cheese dipping sauce with celery. $6

Thursday Steamer Night: One dozen fresh steamers with drawn butter. $5

McCoole’s Launches Red Lion Brewery

McCoole’s Launches Red Lion Brewery

Handcrafted Beers Now on Tap in Quakertown


(Quakertown, PA) – Craft beers are quickly becoming a major player in the beverage industry. One can’t enter a restaurant or bar these days without seeing multiple beer and ale listings from small microbreweries. Now, restaurant goers in the Quakertown area can enjoy premium handcrafted beers brewed on-site at McCoole’s Historic Red Lion Inn. Move over Iron Hill and BrewWorks, pints from Upper Bucks own Red Lion Brewery are being served daily at McCoole’s.

The brainchild of McCoole’s owner Jan Hench, and brewmaster Edward MacAdams of Homestead Product Supply, a Quakertown-based retail supplier of homebrew equipment and supplies, Red Lion Brewery tapped its first keg for customer consumption the week before Thanksgiving, 2013.  The brew was a Wishbone Winter Ale, and the keg quickly sold out in four days. Encouraged, Hench and MacAdams started to expand their offerings, introducing two standard brews in January 2014, an Amber Ale and an IPA. On Valentine’s Day they introduced their third brew to be offered daily – a Wheat Ale. The goal is to have four Red Lion brews on tap at all times – American Amber Ale, American Centennial IPA, and American Wheat will be standard, and each month specialty brews will rotate in the mix, introducing different styles that many are not accustomed to in the U.S. These specialty brews will include everything from Scotch Ales, to Rauchbier. The brewery will introduce a true British style ESB that will be on tap by the end of March.

These handcrafted beers are very popular and have quickly moved into the top seller position at McCoole’s Restaurant and Bar. “In January, our Red Lion brews outsold each of our other beers on tap,” states Hench. “ They outsold craft brews like Brooklyn IPA and Murphy’s Stout, as well as such popular brands as Yuengling, Hoegardens, Stella Artois and Miller Lite.”

Red Lion Brewery’s American Amber Ale is Deep amber in color with crisp hop and malt profiles. Elegant citrus aroma notes let this beer speak

American Centennial IPA is bright orange in color with powerful citrus and grapefruit flavors. The aroma can be described as floral and perfume like. Bitterness, body and hop sweetness balance this beer to perfection. A golden haze emanates from this American Wheat with clove and banana notes that sharpen the flavor. This beer is very crisp and refreshing. It will also be accompanied with different fruit charters personally chosen through out the season.  This beer is very well balanced and is a real crowd pleaser.

The secret to the Red Lion Brews’ popularity resides in the small batch development inherent in handcrafted beers and the unique recipes MacAdams brings to his brews. MacAdams works in a 13’ x 19’ dedicated space in the McCoole’s Arts and Events building where he develops his beers via a one barrel system, brewing 30 gallons at a time producing 6 kegs.

“It is important to us to keep the quality high and not grow too fast,” remarks MacAdams. “What we are using is often called a pilot system by many. Essentially we are making small batches, where we have the opportunity to monitor the fermentation process and fine tune our recipes on a small scale.”

According to Hench, the microbrewery concept was a perfect extension to McCoole’s offerings as a restaurant and entertainment center. “When the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY has Brooklyn Brewery constructing a building on campus to offer beer making as part of its standard curriculum, you know handcrafted beers are here to stay,” states Hench.

Hench had come to know MacAdams through McCoole’s BrewFests and approached him in April of 2012 with the concept to establish a microbrewery at McCoole’s. Hench went about securing the appropriate license for a microbrewery, obtained on October 16, 2013, and doing the renovations necessary to set up a microbrewery within the McCoole’s complex. MacAdams installed a 30 gallon, (1 barrel system) for the first brew, and Red Lion Brewery was on its way.  Today (two 30 gallon fermenters) are processed weekly to produce the four brews on tap. There are a total of four 30 Gallon fermenters going at all times. Pints are available daily. American Amber Ale and American Wheat are $5.75 each while the higher alcohol content American Centennial IPA and specialty brews are $6.75.


Keep up to date with our current brews at  our Brew Page.

Gratitude from our Guests

Most guests post a review on Yelp or our Facebook page, however some send us a personal email or note. One such note is below:

August 28, 2015 – My daughter and I had our first and not our last visit to your establishment yesterday. The food and the service was above excellent. I had the gumbo soup and I have to say it was better than some I have had in New Orleans. My hats off to the chef, hostess and our server for a great time. We will return… Keep up the good work.

We wanted to share 2 more pleasant thank you’s we received recently. First up is a thanks for a Graduation Party we catered.

I have been intending to contact you to let you know how much we all enjoyed the food and service you provided for my son and nephew’s graduation party last month!  It seems like forever ago so please accept the lateness of my note.

The food was so delicious and everybody loved it.  The boys were especially happy because all their favorite food was included AND there was enough for family and friends!

Thanks again for bringing everything over to my brother’s house and setting it all up for us.  It was a great day and we really appreciate what you did.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Best of luck to you!

Next up are some guests of the restaurant who just had to say thanks.

 I just wanted to thank you and your staff for the lovely luncheon on Sunday.  Although I had one demanding guest, I think everyone enjoyed the food.  When traveling through the area, it is now nice to know there is a place we can stop, eat and enjoy.
Happy Summer

Many Thanks

A small collection of recent thank you messages.

First is a message from a Beer Fest vendor who works at Peaceful Paws Giant Dog Placement Services.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for having us at the beer festival this past weekend.  It was such a great event to be a part of and all our volunteers for the day said how nice you were to them and how accommodating and friendly everyone at the festival was.

To date, it was one of the most successful fundraising events our rescue has been a part of!  We are a small rescue, with some giant dogs and even larger medical bills so the opportunity to be in a spot where we could be so successful was amazing.
I just wanted to say thank you on behalf of the rescue and we would love to come back for the fall festival if you’d have us.


Next up is a patron who hosted a party in our event space.

Thank you for making our special meeting with family, whom we had not seen in a long time, a very special occasion.
The food was absolutely delicious and ranking as the best ever. From the Bisque to the Salmon to the Crab Cakes and that sauce on the Crab should win a national prize. You even went out of your way to get a special wine (Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay) Thank you again for making this evening so special. Last but not least was the service provided. Could not have been better. We will return.

McCoole’s Featured in History Book

Author and Television Personality Rick Browne was dining at a restaurant in Portland, Oregon and learned it was over 100 years old. Intrigued, he began to research if there were other restaurants throughout the country this old—he learned there were, in fact, about 250.  Rick then spent next three years of his life dedicated to traveling all over our great nation profiling 100 centenarian restaurants, inns, taverns and public houses he selected as being the most historic, most interesting and most successful.. 


In October 2013, his hard work will pay off.  Rick will introduce his new cookbook, A Century of Restaurants: Stories and Recipes from 100 of America’s Most Historic Restaurants (Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2013, $40).  The book is filled with restaurant historical profiles, interesting facts, great photography, and tidbits of information on some of our country’s longest standing restaurants. A full press release is pasted below and electronic interior pages are available immediately upon request.  In the meantime, here are just a few fun facts to whet your appetite:


  • The bar in Sydney, Nebraska where Ernest Hemmingway edited A Farewell to Arms while sitting on a stool sipping martinis.
  • “Black Sam” the native-born Jamaican who operated Gen. Washington’s favorite New York City restaurant, and then was tabbed as the first White House Chef.
  • The New Jersey inn that inspired a Rogers & Hart song covered by Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Ella Fitzgerald and many other singers in the mid-1950’s.
  • The feisty Pennsylvania innkeeper who told Gen. Washington, at the time the Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Army, “You can’t sleep here.”
  • A rustic tavern in Arkansas where a local blacksmith created an unusual knife and presented it to a pioneer who was passing through. Later the knife became as famous as the man who received it.
  • The restaurant in Denver that was visited by a tribal war party of 30 Blackfeet Indians in 1938 in full war paint and battle dress, who rode up on horseback and with great ceremony delivered a historic gift to the owner.
  • Restaurants where Billy the Kid washed dishes, Ho Chi Minh baked bread and cakes, the King of France taught ballroom dancing, Japan’s 66th Prime Minister worked while attending college, a tavern where a traitor was hanged on a hill right behind the place, and the tavern where Ben Franklin slept under 100 hams.
  • The rural publick house where all the books in the library have been cut in half.
  • The tavern where Buffalo Bill paid for drinks and grub with a $1,000 dollar bill- shocking the owner and the whole town.
  • The hotel bar where Teddy Roosevelt recruited and signed up many of his Rough Riders.