Feature Friday: The Continental Tavern

Owner Frank Lyons stands in front of a black and white photo of the Continental Tavern back in 1910. Photo by Sam Foxwell.

The Continental Tavern may be one of Bucks County’s most popular restaurants today, but it also dates back to the very beginning of this country in the 1600s, and has quite the notorious past.

The doorway from the Continental Tavern’s bar into its main dining area. Photo by Sam Foxwell.

“The Continental is one of the most historical buildings in Bucks County,” said Continental
Tavern owner Frank Lyons.

The very foundation has existed since well before the American Revolution, and even operated as a way station for the Underground Railroad in the 18th and 19th centuries. It mainly operated as a hotel, and was finally converted into a tavern in the 20th century.

Lyons and his family purchased the Continental in 2011 after they had noticed it was suffering from benign neglect and under-exploitation.

“I am a history geek,” explained Lyons. “We buy this place, and it’s full of history.”

Lyons shows off a volume of old bottles dating back to the prohibition. Photo by Sam Foxwell.

To find out more about the Continental’s rich history, Lyons began an archaeological dig in the basement. The search found tens of thousands of whiskey bottles dating back to Prohibition. It was there that they discovered tunnels underground leading to what used to be the Underground Railroad.

Eight years later, and they’re still finding centuries old artifacts. A lot of these pieces can actually be seen hanging up inside the tavern.

“Our mantra is old fashioned American tavern fare with a curiously modern accent,” Frank said.

The spot is famous for their burgers, ribs, and ironically enough, fish and chips. They serve up all types of beers and spirits.

The Continental Tavern also welcome guests to participate in their radio show called Yardley Philosophical and Lager Appreciation Society. It tapes the last Tuesday of every month, and airs the following Wednesday at 5 p.m. on WBCB 1490 AM.

Want to know more about the Continental Tavern? Check out their website, and take a look at a trailer for a film about their history!

For more photos of the Continental’s rich history, check WBCB News on Instagram.

WBCB’s Sam Foxwell contributed to this post.