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Bidwell Tavern Cafe - Coventry, CT
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NAVIGATION: Home > Beer Place Search > CT > Coventry > Bidwell Tavern Cafe
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Type: Beer Bar
Bidwell Tavern Cafe
Overall: Great    Score: 71.8 / 100
1260 Main Street
Coventry, CT 06238
United States
(860) 742-6978
Listed Since: September 1998
Last Updated: October 2006
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31 Reviews / 2 Photos
hours of operation
Sun 11:00AM - 12:00AM
Mon 11:00AM - 12:00AM
Tue 11:00AM - 12:00AM
Wed 11:00AM - 12:00AM
Thu 11:00AM - 12:00AM
Fri 11:00AM - 12:00AM
Sat 11:00AM - 12:00AM

bed & breakfasts
within 5 miles
1) Bird in Hand
2) Mill Brook Bed & Breakfast
3) Old Babcock Tavern
4) Old Eagleville Inn
5) Special Joys B & B
nearby hotels
w/ online reservations
1) NATHAN HALE INN CONFERENCE CTR
(historic places)
within 5 miles
1) Brigham's Tavern
2) Cady, John, House
3) Capron-Phillips House
4) Captain Nathan Hale Monument
5) Hale, Nathan, Homestead
6) Loomis--Pomeroy House
7) Parker-Hutchinson Farm
8) Sprague, Elias, House
9) Strong House
10) White's Tavern
nearby
restaurants

(within 2 miles)
1) Coventry Pizza Shop
2) Dimitri's Pizza Restaurant
3) Phoenix Chinese Restaurant
4) Reggie's Place
1) Coventry Pizza Shop
2) Dimitri's Pizza Restaurant
3) Phoenix Chinese Restaurant
4) Reggie's Place
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Overall Average User Rating
Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
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Review Page: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ ALL ]
Individual User Reviews
Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great Great Great Awesome!
Great rustic atmosphere, genuine historical spot - not mfr'd like a Ruby's, Chilis, etc. Back deck has waterfront view:) Wings are best anywhere. I don't look, but the wife says waitresses are attractive. Nice country ride to this spot, easy in/out & great before the Drive-In, or on the way back from casino.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Waldo Waldo, Vernon, CT
(12/29/2009)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Great Good Great
An attempt at an HONEST review by someone that's not bitter and spiteful based on one bad experience:

The Bidwell is great if you know what to expect. The complainers about service probably sat on the bar side on a busy night - this place gets CROWDED, and with good reason. It's a UConn and local hot-spot, if you go the same night each week you'll start seeing the same people a lot. As far as having to wait sometimes, if you're in a rush, go to Applebees and stare at the crap they put on the walls to make it seem like it has a fun atmosphere. You shouldn't go to a TAVERN expecting a perfectly choreographed & calm sitdown meal, just like you shouldn't go to Olive Garden and expect the same jovial, "hang-out and have a good time" that the Bidwell offers to those who have come to love it. Once you know the wait staff it gets even better - I go all the time, and every once and a while they get bogged down, so I'll sass 'em a bit.

As far as food, the wings are GREAT. Better than just about anywhere I've been, just keep in mind that there are a ton of flavors, and some of them are pretty unique, so there are bound to be some you won't like (I think any of the horseradish based ones and the hot garlic ones are gross). I can't recommend going to the Bidwell for other food, although a lot of it is good, the Bidwell is known for its WINGS. I particularly don't like their nachos, but the sandwiches are good.

Things you should know - - The bar side is almost always first come first serve for seating, but talking to a waitress helps too. The later you show up on popular nights the more likely you'll be waiting all night - as the night rolls on the crowd tends to turn to people that eat and then just hang out all night listening to music, watching the game, and grabbing a pint. - The restaurant side has a waiting list when it's busy, and they're usually good about noticing a new group/couple, but they might not notice you by the door on a busy night because people tend to stand all over the place. If you want a table you may have to ask. - Monday nights are the cheapest if you plan on having a couple beers. All drafts are $1. Wednesday nights the 30-wing platter comes with 6 ponies (7 oz beers) for the same price, and there's a band (but you better like it LOUD). Those are my two favorite nights.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from R R, Manchester, CT
(09/30/2009)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good Good Lousy Lousy
I have been going to the Bidwell since 1982. After tonight, I will never go there again. Our food was okay, but the poppers were overcooked and as a result, all the cheese melted and drained out, leaving us with empty deep fried pepper skins. We sent them back and our waitress returned to say that according to the "manager", since we ate almost half the order we could not get a refund. We were a party of 5, sharing these as a treat before our dinner of wings. We all took a bite, and all ended up with an empty popper. Okay, sounded dumb to make a big deal about a $6.00 appetizer, but after that the service took a nose dive. I stopped the waitress to explain we weren't upset with her -- but it did not make a difference. We got our bill and were calculating the tip, deciding on 15% since there was nothing exceptional about the service. (3 in our party are former waitresses, and no one would ever stiff a waitress for a mistake by the kitchen). As we were about to leave, my niece noticed the bill had an 18% gratuity added in!. We were about to tip 15% on top of that. When we questioned it, we were told our waitress thought we were a party of six. How could she serve 5 dinners, 2 rounds of 5 drinks, and then say she thought we were a party of 6? We asked for a manager and told there was not a manager on duty. So who was the manager who refused to make good on the bad poppers??? Never did get an answer to that one. Needless to say, she went from a fraudulent 18% plus our generous 15% to a zero tip. We will all share this story. So for the sake of a $6.00 appetizer, and a waitress who thought it was her right to rip us off, we are 5 people, who will tell 5 people, who will tell 5 people.... Beware of Eve, and count your change.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Mary Mary, Niantic, CT
(08/12/2009)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
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I have never attended this place and based on these reviews will not doing so, but it sounds a typical, bilish Connecticut establishment. The owner is right, if you do not like it, go elsewhere, although it is a longish drive to get out of Connecticut. Except for Willimantic Brewing Company, I do make the longish drive.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from MAX SPENCER MAX SPENCER, WILLIMANTIC, CT
(11/03/2008)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A Lousy Lousy
We walkied in Monday night June 30th a around 8 pm there was 9 of us in our group. Not one server really came over to us and said anything about being understaffed or that it would take a while to seat us. 2 girls came in after us and waited as well and then a party of 3 came in argued to be sat but waited 10 minutes before anyone took their drink order so they left. The 2 girls after us left, and we left as well because no one acknowledged us one girl asked how many and was like great a party of 9 in a very sarcastic tone. The back room itself had no one in there and about half the tables were filled outside, the only place really busy was the bar so why couldnt we be serviced. We have decided none of us are going back there.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Steph Steph, Bristol, CT
(07/01/2008)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
So So So So So So Lousy Lousy
Well to make a long story short my night started with slow, lousy service, and ended with a BBB complaint. Other reviews at chefmoz speak to similar storoes, so instead of ranting about it here I'll just say that it was one of the worst dining experiences I've had, and when I gave the owner a chance to rectify it he gave his waitress a fake name, wouldn't come and talk to me, and refused to answer the phone later. The funny thing is that I'm a pretty nice guy and just wanted my money back for the bad service. We need to not spend our money at places that are run by unprofessional people. The wings may be decent, but that doesn't justify the poor service and arrogant owner here. The only thing places like this understand is if people stop showing up and spending money. They won't start to provide good customer service just because... They don't get the service side of the industry, just the money side.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Newington, CT
(05/31/2008)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Lousy Lousy
I went here with my parents, our family friend (that's 4 adults) and her 2 boys (ages 5 and 7). We had a great time, paid our bill, left the waitress a$15 tip and left.

A few days later my mom noticed that we had been automatically charged a gratuity (which came out to $12) for a party of 6 or more. Now, I hardly think that 2 small children (again, 5 and 7) would make our party count of 6, but that's beside the point. We called up the manager and explained what had happened, and asked for a $12 refund (NOT the $15 we had given her). He flat out refused, saying the menu clearly states that a party of 6 or more will be charged a gratuity. He said it's up to the waitress to give us a refund, but he would not do it.

I used to be a regular at the Bidwell. Not anymore. I can't believe he chose to lose a good customer over $12.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Vernon, CT
(02/13/2008)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
So So So So So So Lousy Lousy
The beer selection was ok at best. This was simply the most rude, inefficient staff that I've ever dealt with at a restaurant. After waiting 20 minutes for a waitress to even show up on a slow night, and after being informed by our friends that they received the same service I was actually yelled at by 2 waitresses for trying to get some drinks at the bar. The wings came out luke warm and when I asked a different waiter to speak to a manager he brought back my rude waitress who made up a story about the manager not being there, gave me a fake manager's name, which we confirmed later, and tried to embarass me in front of my group of friends, including more yelling. If it was just one waitress I would say that she was having a bad day, but all of the staff that I approached would not let me speak to management, etc. To make a long story short my service was so bad I stayed 30 minutes, and filed a complaint with the BBB by the time it was all said and done. This establishment hardly deserves to be in business. J'Timothy's has better wings anyway.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Jon Jon, Newington, CT
(12/30/2007)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
So So So So So So Lousy Lousy
I had the worst customer service experience of my life at any restaurant or establishment. I approached the bar to pick up a round of drinks since our table service was not prompt and it took the waitress 20 minutes to approach us just to get food. I was just picking up a beer and 2 shots when a waitress named Allison approached me to tell me that I had to order drinks at my table, but gave no real justification other than saying if I want to order at the bar then I should sit at the bar. Since it is 2007 and they should have been able to put my drinks on my check from the bar I was just confused and waited for the bar tender. The bar tender had no issues serving me and was the only professional staff member I dealt with. At that point my table's waitress, who was not showing up at the table often, ignored me and yelled at the bar tender and then at me for not ordering the drinks at the table. She let me know that it was how she makes her living. I explained that I just wanted a couple of drinks immediately and that since we had ordered a lot of food she was going to be compensated well by the group anyway. She continued to treat me like a child at which point I let her know that she was not encouraging me to recommend the establishment to anyone or even tip her. She then responded that she didn't want to encourage me. I asked a male waitress in passing to allow me to speak to a manager. Instead he brought our blonde haired blue eyed waitress over and she started to make up a story about what she had discussed with me at the bar and try to embarrass me in front of the group. She started to say that it was a safety issues and that they needed to track the drinks, but obviously they were since 3 different people were aware of my drink ordering, and at that point I had not ordered many drinks. Also, they had no reason to refuse me service since I was not drunk, and they never made their argument on this basis. I had only been there for 50 minutes at this point. Their argument was based on the drinks being on my bill so the tip amount would be higher not safety. They told me that management was not available in any shape or form. On my way out the waitress asked me 3 times if I had paid her, which I did. I assured her that I did and she kept asking me anyway. I then asked her why she felt it was ok to speak to her customers in the way that she was and she asked me a final time if I paid her. On top of it all the wings were sub par at best, but I'll go over that on the restaurant review site. I was insulted in front of my wife and friends who were all so responsible that we all had DD's.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Newington, CT
(12/24/2007)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Great So So So So So So
Wow, After all these years not really finding anything wrong w/ this place, A bit of constructive critizism shows the true colors of the owner. On these 90 degree plus heat days, wouldnt you just love to go to your favorite place and have a cold one? Well thats what I did , and asked why the Air wasnt on;And my reply loud and clear was..You dont like it ,Go somewhere else and have a beer! Ive got Three more people that will gladly take your seat!We dont need you!. Boy, After 30 years of frequenting, I get a response like this, Mind you I'm not the only one in the recent future that has been talked to in this manner. So not a problem,OH by the way I'm the guy who's sat back and never complained about a Damn thing. Good or bad, Just enjoyed the ambience and Chatting w/ Friends. I'm sure in the future,Those three people Dying to have my seat will be long gone, and THEN I shall recieve my apology not by Words ,But by ACTIONS!!

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Ernie D Ernie D, Uconn, CT
(07/11/2007)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
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I remember the cowtown days of this place when I was a UCONN student during the mid 70's. It was a comfortable and friendly little watering hole that was among our favorite stops at the time. Back then we were porbably not able to enjoy quite such a selection, most likely 75 cent pitchers of Hulls, but a classic juke box and durable pin ball machine made for some fun visits. I visited some years after my graduation to se that it had already evolved away from those unassuming times. I wasn't impressed then, but it sounds like it might have some new virtues to explore now. Thanks for the review, I'll hope to try it again someday soon.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Watertown, CT
(03/19/2007)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Lousy Good
The wings great, beer is fresh, establishment is beautiful. However, the service sucks and the waitresses are extremely rude. Their shorts may be cute and be a good effort to get tips but as soon as they open thier mouths the tip gets smaller and smaller. All waitresses seem to always bumps into you without saying excuse me. I understand that there is only a small waiting area but come on. A little politeness goes a long way. The wings are the best around hands-down. But the service sucks....

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from amanda amanda, Ashford, CT
(02/09/2007)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Awesome! Great Good Great
For a small and VERY old tavern in a little cow town, The Bidwell has a great selection (about 22 taps) of good beer.

Usually, I opt for the Johnny Courage because where else do you see that on tap?

There are various specials throughout the week like Thursday's Wings and Swill Beer night. I won't tell you my favorite because I don't want to have to wait for a table.

The wings are my favorite of anywhere in the world- and I've had wings at lots of places. I don't find any of them hot, just flavorful. The other items on the menu have treated me equally well.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Bryan Peretto Bryan Peretto, Coventry, CT
(10/23/2006)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Awesome! So So Good Great

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Storrs, CT
(02/10/2006)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good So So Lousy So So

I am writing this review because i had come to this web site, i thought that i should go down and try some wings. I went to the resturant at about 3:00 pm I wanted to eat in the dinning room but the waitstaff that was working told me that the room was closed because they are understaffed. We were forced to go to the tavern side of the resturant {Very noisy). We finally found a seat that was away from SOME of the noise. We were then greeted by a waitress named ann. This Woman should not be a waitress ever at any resturant. She came up to the table and said to my WIFE "Hey HUN what are you drinking" First of all my wife is 52 years old she was very upset that she called her HUN very disrespectful. We then asked ann what did you have to drink. She then slammed a wooden beer list in front of us and did not say another word. While we were deciding what to have this waitress continued to scream completely across the resturant at the bartender. This bartender seemed like she was upset that this woman could do that. At this point we were almost ready to leave the Level of disrespect was unbelivable. We decided to stay since we had driven a long way to get there. It was now time to order. The waitress came over and i asked her "how is the reuben" She then told me that the meat was not very good it had a funny smell. Now just before i am ordering that is one of the last things that i want to hear. She pushed me to get a small order of chicken wings saying that they are about the same amount of food as the reuben. I ended up choosing a cheese burger and was surprised when she did not say anything about that meat. Our food came quickly and was very good. This experience would have been very pleasant if it had not been for that disrespectful waitress {and extremely LOUD}. I will never go back there if that woman is serving. To the others out there that would like to try this place the food was wonderful the service was the worst i have ever had im my life and left a very sour taste in my mouth. I have never had any other waiters/waitress there and i hope they are nothing like her. I would assume they are not because the resturant would have gone out of buisness a long time ago.

Jack R.S

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Putnam, CT
(03/19/2005)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Awesome! Awesome! Great
We love Bidwell Tavern. The wings are awesome. My only complaint is that it is just too popular and the noise level can be a bit much. Ah, who cares, when the wings are this good you will be too busy to talk.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Isabelle Esteves Isabelle Esteves, Portland, CT
(03/09/2005)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Good Great Great
Im replying to DOUGS review. First of all its funny how you know so much about this place , second of all no patron just walks into the kitchen. third of all it sure sounds like your a disgruntled employee that couldn't get your way. I've been going to this tavern since 1977 and could'nt count the great times and meals i've had ! Sounds like you need to get a new JOB!!!!

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Dewey Dewey, Downtown eagleville, CT
(01/28/2005)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Doug, please write reveiws in MS Word (or other word processing program) so you can take advantage of the spell/grammar check. Then copy and paste it before submitting. It's tough to make sense of what's here or take it seriously. Contrary to what some in the digital communication age might tell you - spelling does count for something.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Pawcatuck, CT
(12/16/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good So So Lousy Good
I ate their during the day.Your bartender has an attitude,and looks disaranged like you owe her a living,Ann R? you waitressAnn P/ is very slow and voicetruss. Your Chef the fat oneis very dirty looking always eating and never washing his hands which spoils my appite. i been their several times but i don't think i will go again, and i will tell my friends. Your bartender sitting on the cooler with her feet on the shelves. would you drink out of a glass? An would you eat someting when you see her put some kind of cream on?It seems you don't care what happens to your business.I even ate at night and seen this freek in braded hair drinking and throwing food and who is that neard person with short blond hair with glasses doing the same things. you allow people to dring on the job and throw food around? It looks like a mess in the kitchen i have looked inside of it. Your wait staff is the worst i ever seen never asking if i want dinner only apps. It was run better when the guy bob owned it,it was a pleasure to go there. I asked some of the people who also eat their they say the same about the people during the day they will only come at night because they don"t want to deal with your Bartender and the waitress.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Doug Anglies Doug Anglies, Enfield, CT
(12/15/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Great Great Good Great
This is a great historic tavern. When I want tasty wings, I go here. When I want spicy wings, I look elsewhere. There's a decent selection of beer on tap; but as a homebrewer, I only drink my beer or Guinness- nothing else can compare. The only problem with the Bidwell is that it's close to UCONN & ECSU and all the little brats come down to get drunk with their annoying classmates. BTW Dave P (I bought my house in Coventry from him) Rolling Rock is Swill!

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Bryan Bryan, Coventry, CT
(09/11/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Great Lousy So So
If you go for the $2.00 pints on Monday be sure to sit at the bar. We were ushered to the downstairs seating area where pints cost $3.75 but no one bothers to tell you until you see the bill. The owner defends it by pointing to an obscure line on the menu insert that says "$2.00 pints at the tavern". We raised a stink about the bill which ended with him saying "I don't want customers like you here". Apparently he wants the kind who like being ripped off. His arrogance was hard to believe. It's no way to treat your customers and I won't be back. It's a shame, 'cause the wings really are awesome.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Manchester, CT
(08/04/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Awesome! Great Great
During my years at the University of Connecticut this fine establishment was one of my favorite area haunts. It's always great to raise a pint in the bar area under the watchful eye of Connecticut's state hero and Coventry's favorite son, Nathan Hale. Stop in during a cold winter night, sit by the stove and order up a pile of delicious wings. This place is a great New England treat.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Kirk Struble Kirk Struble, New York, NY
(07/10/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great Awesome! Awesome! Great

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Chappy Chickenwing Chappy Chickenwing, South Glastonbury, CT
(11/06/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great Awesome! Great Good
The best wings I have ever had. $2 dollar guinness on mondays. Enuff said.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Bob Davis Bob Davis, Storrs, CT
(11/04/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good Good Good Great
The Bidwell is just the kind of place I like, an old New England tavern. The ambience is great, old beams and floor, original old woodwork and a dark but not too dark feeling inside. The wings are the best I've had, and twenty or so different types. Try the hot garlic, traditional buffalo or mustart horseradish, They are great. The beer selection is good. about tesnty taps cosisting of many American micros and as well as a few wasted taphead on the mass produced "Bud" style. They also have the standard imports, Bass, Newcastle and Guiness. A couple others as well. While I would like to see a few more eccentric imports and American micros, they beer selection will satisfy. I usually go during the weekdays when the crowds are less overwhelming. You will enjoy the atmosphere so give it a try. Don't be afraid of all the "goods" I gave Bidwell, It takes a lot for me to give anything better and most bars get a "So So". Cheers

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Cris Cris, Randolph, MA
(07/01/2000)

 
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