New on the Philly Bar Scene

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

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But what’s the beverage program, you ask? Ten taps of mostly locals and some nationals, plus 25 bottles where “we can jam in those domestic macro-brews like Miller Lite,” Garry says. But fret not, ye of vast beer snobbery. He also does a big-bottle series with Belgians like Corsendonk and Saison DuPont, and sells cans of Sly Fox and, yes, my thirsty little hipsters, also Schlitz, Schaefer and Schmidt’s.

Philly Beer Week Highlight: Firkin Off. Flying Fish brewer Casey Hughes goes cask to cask with Nick Johnson from Troegs as they pit the new FF Exit Series 6 against a Troegs one-off oak-aged IPA. 6/10. 7-10 p.m. Pay as you go.

The Wishing Well
(767 S. 9th St., 215-238-6555,

Remember when you were younger, you and your best friend spent hours and hours talking about the cool bar you’re going to open together once you’re grown, and it’ll have hot chicks and rock stars and it’ll probably be on a beach, and you’ll learn to flip bottles like Tom Cruise in Cocktail? That’s what lifelong friends Carmen Cappello and Chris Martino did. Well, minus the beach, the rock stars and the tricks.

After kicking around fine-dining restaurants in Atlanta, Cappello joined up in Bella Vista with Martino to open a neighborhood “restaurant trapped inside a bar’s body” with 12 mostly local rotating taps, 35-40 bottles and a dedicated mixologist who’s fanatically dedicated to fresh, sustainable ingredients and house infusions. The food, as described by Iris Kampbell, the manager and mixologist, “is a few steps above gastropub. We think we’re a little bit better than that.” Their signature item is the Shame Burger, consisting of two patties, American cheese, scrapple and a fried egg. “We’re all about gluttony,” Kampbell grins.

Philly Beer Week Highlight: Breakfast for Dinner. A representative from Athens, Ga.’s Terrapin Beer Co. will meet-and-greet as barkeeps pour the one-off Wake-n-Bake oak-aged coffee imperial stout so that Cappello and Kampbell can spread that Georgia love to their new Philly friends.

Varga Bar

(941 Spruce St. 215-MA7-5200.

The theme is old-fashioned pinup girls, and wow, do they carry through with that concept. Elaborate paintings of 1940’s calendar girls cover the entire ceiling, the back wall is decorated with the bar’s very own old-fashioned calendar featuring today’s Philly hotties, and every piece of collateral depicts yet another sultry woman smiling beguilingly. And everyone knows nothing goes better with porn than a beer (or maybe a Kleenex) so satisfy your oral fixation with a pull from the cask, any of Varga’s 18 taps, or a variety of cans—all of American origin and rotated constantly.

“People come in here all the time and say, ‘I had a beer here two days ago and it’s gone.’ We tell them, ‘Well, if you liked that, try this instead,’” says manager and bartender Rich Colli.

Philly Beer Week Highlight: Varga Bar’s Pinup Block Party. The pin-up ladies are taking over 10th Street from Locust to Spruce with an outdoor fest that includes lots of easy-drinking summer beers and hot dog and wing-eating contests. 6/5. 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Pay as you go.

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