Your “Local” (Mill Hill Saloon)
Mill Hill Saloon 300 S Broad St, Trenton (609) 394-7222
In England, where pubs play an extraordinary role in one’s everyday life, the concept of your “local” is time-honored and revered.
Your “local” is the pub you frequent most. It’s got to be close to your house (though not necessarily the closest). It functions not only as a place you go to get a drink, but also as an extension of your living room. You typically won’t invite your friends to your home…you’ll meet them at your local, where you can drink, banter with the other regulars, and catch up on what’s happening in the neighborhood.
It’s rare in the US to find a bar that delivers this combination of casual comfort and community connectedness. But the Mill Hill Saloon is one of the rare exceptions. Especially if you live in Mill Hill or Trenton Ferry, or work on South Broad, you can enter almost any night of the week and recognize a friend or neighbor. They’ll introduce you to their drinking buddies, and pretty soon there’s a bunch of you jabbering away about the news, the neighborhood, or whatever.
Denny, who’s been running the place for more than a decade (he bought it from Joe, and old-timers still refer to it as “Joe’s” or “Joe’s Mill Hill”) is there most evenings, and manages the place with a light but steady hand. The Mill Hill Saloon has a nice selection of beers on tap…8 to 10 if memory serves. The specifics rotate with the season and Denny’s whim, but they’re usually at least a few good ‘uns.
Recently a woman who just moved into the neighborhood locked herself out of her new house, and had to hang out for three hours until her mother arrived with the spare key. The woman’s wallet was locked in the house with everything else, but Denny (who’d never met her before) bought her a drink, and fed her and her toddler daughter until Mom arrived. It’s that kind of place.
The food is pretty good and reasonably priced. It’s not so good you’d travel cross town just for the eating, but if you’re there, and you’re hungry, it’s good enough. The salads are decent, and there’s usually a good selection of specials including one or two vegetarian entrees, and several sea-food selections, so we’ve rated it “Veggie Friendly”.
On weekends, the basement pub opens up and there’s live music, which will be the subject of a future review. There’s also sometimes music upstairs, generally blues or rock, with an occasional jazz or fusion band thrown in. That brings in a younger, later crowd but by then the regulars have mostly gone home.