Category: History

These bars are historic


Called “the most genteel tavern in America” by no less than John Adams, the City Tavern is a Philadelphia treasure.

No, it’s not the original – that burned in 1834. The building now standing at 2nd and Walnut streets is a re-creation, based on National Park Service research. It was completed in 1975.

Whether for a bite or a … Read the rest

Philly’s tavern scene was the real birthplace of America

STUCK IN OLD City without a ticket for this weekend’s grand opening of the National Constitution Center?

Grab a cold one at the nearest taproom, instead. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but – bonus! – you can raise a fitting toast to our forefathers.

After all, the U.S. Constitution was as much a product of Philadelphia’s 18th-century taverns … Read the rest

What Was It Like in the Bad Old Dry Days?

WHAT WAS Philadelphia like during Prohibition?

Though the 18th Amendment banned the sale and consumption of alcohol nationwide in 1919, the city was notoriously described as “wet as the Atlantic Ocean.”

* Estimated number of illegal taverns citywide: 8,000. (About 1,300 operate today.)

* Between 8th Street and the Delaware, north of Chestnut Street, hundreds of saloons and speakeasies, known … Read the rest

We owe our freedom to the Spirits of ’76

It’s winters like this that puts bar-hopping to the test.

Slick sidewalks, bone-chilling winds, 150 channels on the satellite, plus pay-per-view – the temptation is to hunker down and wait till the city melts. You know, that whole cocooning thing.

A new book I’ve been reading, though, has reaffirmed my belief that every citizen – fierce weather be damned – … Read the rest

Save the Schmidt’s sign: It’s one beautiful reminder of Philadelphia’s industrial greatness

The thing about watching old Philadelphia die is you don’t know how to mourn the victim properly. The 140-year-old Schmidt’s brewery in Northern Liberties, for example.

The blighted facility was purchased last week; the new owner says he’ll level it.

That’s how we usually do things around here. Bury ’em and forget ’em.

Before Schmidt’s is gone forever, someone should … Read the rest

A heady historic feat for Philadelphia: America’s first lager

In Philadelphia, there are scores of historical markers commemorating churches and politicians and inventors and factories.

But none for beer.

As the voice of the beer-drinking public, I’d file an immediate complaint with the proper authorities if I weren’t too lazy to slide off this barstool. So Joe Sixpack will simply lift a pint to toast Rich Wagner, the city’s … Read the rest

Brewery buff has a thing for the past

You walk the streets of the old neighborhoods and sooner or later you start to hear the sounds of a city’s forgotten past. Buried like 300-year-old cobblestones ‘neath layers of asphalt, the ghosts are still alive . . . if you know how to listen.

In Fairmount, you hear the creaking of a wooden wagon wheel coming down Poplar Street. … Read the rest