Sometimes in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to throw an elaborate pirate-themed dinner party in a 19th-century brewery’s basement. At Bube’s Brewery and Catacombs in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, that necessity arises at least once a month. These lavish occasions are hosted in the brewery’s underground Catacombs Restaurant, a beer-aging cellar that doubles as a fine-dining establishment and, occasionally, a pirate’s ship, with actors in period costumes rubbing elbows with guests dining on multiple courses and, of course, the restaurant’s own microbrews.
It’s an occasion as colorful as the history of this inn and pub, which has been quenching visitors’ thirsts since 1876. The brewery was established by one Alois Bube, a German immigrant who capitalized on the 19th-century popularity of lagers in the United States to launch his own enterprise. He was in luck to have ended up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: At the time, it was known as the “Munich of the New World” due to its thriving German beer scene. Over the years, Bube built his establishment into a beer behemoth, with a labyrinthine premises including a bar, the “catacombs,” and an inn that featured the town’s first flushing toilet. The brewery, like other such establishments, was shut down during Prohibition, but by that time the family had become so wealthy that Bube’s descendants were able to keep the building, which remained untouched until 1968, when they remodeled and reopened.
Today, Bube’s Brewery looks like a cross between a Renaissance fair (which it becomes during monthly medieval feasts) and a Victorian haunted house (which it becomes during regular ghost tours). The inn has retained the spirit of its original construction—including its shared bathrooms—with the exception of a top-floor penthouse and lavish themed decorations.
The current brewery, meanwhile, is housed in the original ice house. The establishment’s star attraction remains the Catacombs Restaurant. Descend 43 feet underground to the stone-lined basement, complete with enormous wooden barrels, and you will surely feel you have traveled back in time, especially when you encounter a tableful of fellow diners clad in medieval costumes.