Bryn Mawr’s best-kept secret on Main Line

Kathleen McFadden

Just five blocks away from popular spots like Kelly’s, Maloney’s and the Grog is the newest Villanova crowd sensation. Tip O’Leary’s Restaurant and Bar, located in Bryn Mawr across from the Acme at 610 Lancaster Avenue, offers delicious food with great drink specials for students of age.

It’s surprising that Tips hasn’t exploded in popularity since its opening in early November, but perhaps this is due to students’ lack of knowledge about this hidden Main Line gem.

Family owned and operated, Tip O’Leary’s has a comfortable setting with friendly faces.

Offering everything from light lunches to dinner entrees to daily drink specials, Tips meets any craving. The menu’s desserts come from a local bakery while the bar often holds sports watch parties for the home Philly fan crowds.

“We’re hoping to get a lot of Phillies crowds this summer,” owner John O’Connor says. “We’re huge Phillies fans.”

The O’Connor family supports all Philadelphia teams. Born and raised outside of Philadelphia in nearby Haverford, the O’Connor family enjoys its proximity to a Philadelphia-area school like Villanova.

Kelli and Tricia O’Connor, who both work at Tips with John, say that there was a huge student crowd for the Villanova vs. UNC NCAA tournament game.

“The place was packed with Villanova students,” Tricia says.

They are hoping to reach a large Villanova crowd more often, but they already have large crowds for big Philadelphia sports games.

The sports crowds at Tip O’Leary’s are not surprising, considering the establishment’s interior. The floor plan is set up as two connecting rooms – one with booths lining the walls and small tables in the center and the other with a large round bar filling the center of the room.

Huge flat screen televisions hang on each wall and there are even televisions in the bathrooms so customers don’t miss a second of the big game.

Mirrors decorate the walls and create an open environment unlike some of the smaller bars that serve as most Villanova students’ go-to places.

Tips takes advantage of this open space by clearing tables to create even more room for a dance floor and DJ booth.

Music is provided by a brand new sound system and live bands that play each week.

When asked if they’re open to student deejaying and bartending, the owners of Tip O’Leary’s said they would love it. Students with experience bartending and DJing are encouraged to check out Tip O’Leary’s and bring friends to their events.

Tips also encourages students to come in by offering inexpensive drink specials and by accepting WildCard.

With its renovated space and splurge on every possible amenity for customers, it’s unexpected that Tip O’Leary’s still offers student prices.

They have inexpensive drink and food specials every night, including “Wildcat Wednesdays” just for the Villanova crowd.

In comparison to other restaurants and bars in the area, Tips offers space to move easily for all the social butterflies.

It offers dancing, a huge bar to sit and relax, large televisions to see a game from any angle, and delicious food with inexpensive prices.

Just a two-minute cab ride or five-block walk from the default senior hangouts, Tip O’Leary’s is worth the short trip.

They’ve created a unique atmosphere that captures many features that students have only wished the other bars would offer. Ladies, there are even hooks under the lighted bar counter to hold your purse.

While Tip O’Leary’s seems to have everything perfect for an entertaining social scene, they still hope to fill their space with more Villanova students. To do this, Tips has set up a free buffet for all graduating seniors.

“We want to familiarize people with us, have them come check us out, and congratulate the seniors on their accomplishments,” John says.

The senior buffet will take place on Friday, May 8 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. One hundred tickets will be given to seniors to attend the buffet.

To get a ticket, seniors are asked to send in their best college memories to The Villanovan.

The event is simply to celebrate the seniors’ memories and accomplishments and have them enjoy the newest destination on the Villanova bar scene.

In case seniors would like to check out Tip O’Leary’s before the big buffet, they can do so this Saturday.

Although Tips opened in the fall, its official grand opening party will be this Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. Everyone must be 21 to enjoy the celebratory free cocktails and appetizers.

For seniors who would like a ticket to the free buffet, email your favorite college memory of Villanova to [email protected]. The buffet will be the day before the Atlantic City senior dinner-dance, so come to Tips, bask in your senior success with classmates and discover perhaps the best bar on the Main Line.