New on the Philly Bar Scene

By Tara Nurin
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Jun. 1, 2010

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My mother is quite fond of the phrase, “When one door closes, another one opens.” It’s an apt expression for Philly bars because since Philly Beer Week last year, we’ve witnessed the demise of some quality beer bars, most notably ZoT, Tiedhouse, Get Happy Pub & Restaurant and the Blue Ox Bistro.

But despite the economy, the door has opened on a far greater number of bars, many of which exist primarily to pour the world’s best beers into our collective mouths.

BAR
(1309 Sansom St., no phone)

Don’t try to Google it. Just go. (It doesn’t have a website but you can find it by spotting the neon sign over the door next to Time.)

Opened in January by Time owners Jason and Delphine Evenchik, this purposely understated dive serves 60 beers in cans and nine on tap. Partner Terence Leach describes his tap selection as “four locals, one out-of-towner and four douchebag beers,” and proudly announces that his can list is full of “old-man beers” like Schmidt’s and Genesee Cream Ale. His “kitchen” cooks just five dishes, all of which you’d find at a gas station, and he lists them on a menu printed on torn notebook paper. Ambiance is vintage 1979 VFW Hall and is completed by koozies, pool tables, foozball and a jukebox.

Philly Beer Week Highlight: Michelob—yep, Michelob—three barrels of their new stuff. 6/8. 7-9pm. Pay as you go.

Brauhaus Schmitz
(718 South St., 267-909-8814, brauhausschmitz.com)

The best place in the city to catch a Philadelphia Union game may be in this German bier hall that, as one of about two dozen Union pub partners, broadcasts every match, gives away tickets and schedules field trips to Chester. It may be the only spot that opens early for German soccer matches, too.

But there’s much more here than European football. If there’s a beer from the homeland that’s legal in Pa., owners Doug Hager and Kelly Schmitz will carry it in bottles or in one of 20 taps. If there’s a traditionally prepared schnitzel or wurst you’re craving, here’s the place to scarf it. And if you’re hoping for eye candy in the form of a cute waitress in a busty dirndl, well, Hager and Schmitz have provided that, too.

Hager says he opened the sleek, two-story space when they returned from their two-year German honeymoon and thought: “With the amount of German history and history in Philly it was almost embarrassing there weren’t more German places.”

Philly Beer Week Highlight: German Bierfest at the German Society of Pennsylvania with special guest Marnie Old. Family friendly, all-day outdoor festival with German beer, food and entertainment. 6/5. 12pm-6pm. Pay as you go ($30 to meet Marnie). 611 Spring Garden St.

City Tap House
(3925 Walnut St. (215) 662-0105, citytaphouse.com)

Co-owner Gary Cardi does think he may have more taps at his University City bar than any other watering hole in the region. How many would that be, you ask? Sixty, plus 12 more in the private tasting room upstairs.

The partnership that brought you Public House, Field House and Mission Grill opened the eco-friendly, rustic/modern palace to all things beer on May 10 and has been sourcing its crowd from the great halls of Philadelphia academia, plus drawing any beer addict in the city who endeavors to schlep to West Philly to see all those taps.

City Tap House prides itself on its vast outdoor seating area that can be appreciated year-round, thanks to five fire pits. One other bragging point is its event space, where hosts can have 12 beers of their choosing stocked on tap.

“We’re open to doing whatever our guests want,” Cardi says. “If a beer’s available in Pennsylvania, we’ll do our best to get it.”

Philly Beer Week Highlight: S’mores and O’Reilly—Huddle around a fire pit with gooey s’mores and Sly Fox’s O’Reilly’s Irish Dry Stout. 6/12. 8-10 p.m. Pay as you go.

The HeadHouse
(122 Lombard St. 215-625-0122. headhousephilly.com)

Bruce Nichols is the man. More than two decades ago, he was one of the first locals to embrace craft beer, bringing the famed late beer writer Michael Jackson to town. Nichols also put together beer dinners at the Penn Museum, where he ran catering operations until this summer, and more recently, co-founding Philly Beer Week.

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