Train’s Tavern in Lebanon. Photo by Bob Keyes

LEBANON — There are many positive things to say about Train’s Tavern, a funky, spirited and energetic restaurant, bar and nightclub on Route 202 in Lebanon, tucked along the New Hampshire border. The food is solidly consistent, plentiful and fairly priced. The atmosphere is jumping, and the service is friendly and generally swift and efficient.

But the best thing about Train’s Tavern may well be its nightly specials, and in particular its consumer-friendly 10-cent wing bonanza every Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. A few weeks ago, our little family ordered 30 wings among us for $3. Cost aside, we liked these wings because they were tender and large, and you can pick your own dipping sauces and rubs. We had a combination of barbecue, teriyaki and mild buffalo wings, with blue cheese dipping sauces.

For three bucks. Beat that.

Of course, our final bill was much more. Our 10-year-old isn’t a wing fan, so he got chicken tenders ($6.99), and a basket of fries ($4.99), which we shared. And there were drinks.

The 10-cent wing special on Thursday nights is hard to beat. Here’s a basket of barbecue wings. Photo by Bob Keyes

Clearly, the wings special is a big deal. Train’s was packed. We had about a 20-minute wait for a table, and it stayed busy for the hour or so we were there. The youngster entertained himself with an arcade game while we critiqued the karaoke singers. (Pretty good, but very loud).

Once seated, we started talking loudly over the music. As the music grew louder, we had to shout. A little while after that – after the food arrived – we gave up trying to communicate altogether and concentrated on our food. The wings were messy, especially those covered in the tangy barbecue and teriyaki sauces. We went through a lot of napkins. It was a bit chaotic, and I would say the wait staff was stressed. Our server was inattentive, but I couldn’t fault her. She had too much going on at once.

Restrictions apply: You have to order wings in multiples of five per flavor, and each initial order has to consist of at least 15 wings. The 10-cent price applies only to dine-in wings. If you take them home, they’re 95 cents each.

The haddock nuggets were steamy and hot, served with cole slaw and french fries. Photo by Bob Keyes

We returned two days later, without the 10-year old. This time, we grabbed seats at the bar and took advantage of the early-bird special, from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. I ordered haddock nuggets ($9.99) and my wife ordered a cheeseburger ($8.99). It was much quieter, and the overall experience was more pleasant. We had great service and appreciated the relative quiet.

And once again, we appreciated the food. The burger was juicy and thick, and the cheddar cheese appropriately gooey. It was topped with a crisp slice of red onion. The fish smelled and tasted fresh, and it was sufficiently chunky. When I broke one nugget apart, it was steamy hot and meaty. The cole slaw was a little dry, but I ate every bite of everything and pronounced my meal excellent.

The cheeseburger with very gooey cheese made for a Saturday afternoon delight.

Noting my lack of leftovers, my ever-perceptive wife asked, “But what about the portions?” And of course, her instinct was right. I did want more. The fish dinner came with four chunks, two of which were significantly smaller than the others.

Train’s specializes in specials: Taco Tuesday features two tacos for $3, three wings for $6, and $5 margaritas; Burger Wednesday offers a variety of burgers for $5.99; pizza is $5 on Sunday. There’s also a prime rib special on Friday and Saturday.

The regular menu is quite large and offers most of what you would expect, including things like steak tips and shepherd’s pie.

We liked the roadhouse atmosphere. Train’s feels a little like a cabin, with a nice long bar made of wood, and wood walls. The bar is bedecked with several TVs, but Train’s doesn’t feel like a sports bar. It’s geared more toward music, with a small stage and dance floor. Bands play every Friday and Saturday night.

But don’t come looking for trouble. A sign on the door warns, “No weapons. No colors. No attitude.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: