The City of Brewery Love
Welcome to Philadelphia, America’s Best Beer-Drinking City. In Fishtown and Fairmount, South Philly and Center City, this town’s neighborhoods are dotted with classic watering holes just waiting to pour you some of the finest beer you’ve ever tasted.
And, there’s no better way to discover and enjoy this city, for beer – like nothing else – defines Philadelphia. The city has been crafting it for more than 300 years, since the days of William Penn. It brewed America’s first lager. It practically invented American porter. It was already famous for beer when Milwaukee was a cow pasture. The nation’s forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence in colonial taverns of Philadelphia. In more recent years, Philly created America’s first citywide beer week celebration. Philadelphia’s location on the east coast gives it easy access to the best German lagers and properly conditioned casks of English ale; it drinks more Belgian craft ale than Brussels. Those imports greatly influenced area breweries, which now produce top pilsners, cask-conditioned ale and unusual Belgian varieties. Meanwhile, every American microbrewery either sends its kegs to Philadelphia, or wishes it could – its reputation as a beer savvy town is second to none. The city’s best asset, however, may be its huge inventory of craft beer-oriented bars and restaurants. There are hundreds, not just in business district, but in every neighborhood. They’re not mass-produced, pre-packaged, chain-store vanilla. They’re diverse, they have character and history. They are real. Whether you’re a tourist or a reg’lar, savoring a beer in a Philadelphia tavern is the single best way to share the spirit and the flavor, the texture and the people of the City of Brotherly Love.
Philly Beer Week
Established in 2008, it’s the largest beer celebration of its kind in America, featuring hundreds of festivals, dinners, tours, pub crawls, tastings and meet-the-brewer nights to area bars, restaurants and other locations throughout Greater Philadelphia. Since its founding, nearly 100 other cities worldwide have copied Philadelphia’s success to launch their own beer weeks. Philly Beer Week highlights the region’s diverse beer scene – its world-class breweries, neighborhood taverns, trend-setting restaurants and rich beer culture and history. Philly Beer Week draws thirsty beer fans from throughout the region and beyond, making it one of Philadelphia’s key annual tourism events. Philly Beer Week is organized and operated by Philly Beer Week Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization overseen by a board comprised of brewery owners, distributors, restaurant owners and others, to promote Philadelphia’s beer and hospitality industries.
- Opening Tap – Opening festival at the 23rd Street Armory. May 30, 2014.
- Philly Beer Week Garden – The Headhouse Shambles, June 2-June 6, 2014.
When visiting, you’ve gotta…
- Wander through Old City, the city’s historic district featuring Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, the National Constitution Center and City Tavern.
- Explore local food and crafts at the Reading Terminal Market.
- Slop down a South Philly cheesesteak without ruining your shirt. Everyone has a favorite – just ask a local for directions.
- Rent a bike for an outdoorsy trek along the Schuylkill’s Kelly Drive and Boathouse Row.
- Gawk at the legendary collection of impressionist art at the Barnes’ Foundation.
- Root for the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers or 76ers at the South Philly sports complex.
Bars & Restaurants
There are more than 400 great beer bars and restaurants in Philadelphia – many in neighborhoods that may not be easily accessible for beer tourists. Here’s the cream of the crop within walking distance of Center City hotels or public transportation.
Rittenhouse Square & West of Broad
- Cambridge, 1508 South St. 267-455-0647. Two dozen very good taps, comfort food menu, backyard seating.
- Good Dog, 224 S. 15th St., 215-985-9600. Sit and talk in booths or shoot pool upstairs.
- Jose Pistola’s, 263 S. 15th St., 215-545-4101. Well-tended beers and very good bar food.
- Monk’s Café, 264 S. 16th St., 215-545-7005 . The city’s most famous specialty beer bar is often crowded but worth the wait for unusual Belgian drafts.
- Tria Café, 123 S. 18th St., 215-972-8742 . Eclectic beer list and very good wines, small plates and cheese.
- Tria Taproom, 2005 Walnut St., 215-557-8277. Draft beer/wine only, with wood-grilled flatbreads. Ipad menus show how long till your keg is kicked.
MidtownVillage & East of Broad
- Bar-ly, 101 N. 11th St., 215-922-2688. Mega tap selection in the midst of Chinatown.
- BRÜ Craft & Wurst, 1318 Chestnut St., 215-800-1079. An indoor German-style biergarten, with 39 American and German crafts. Ask for a “haus key” to serve yourself.
- Farmers’ Cabinet, 1113 Walnut St., 215-923-1113. Styled like an early 20th-century saloon, it’s largely lit with gaslight. Classic cocktails, interesting menu complement 26 very trendy taps.
- Field House Sports & Beer Hall, 1150 Filbert St., 215-629-1520. CenterCity’s largest bar can be difficult to find, located on Filbert Street below the old Reading Terminal headhouse. Often filled with noisy conventioneers, its 40 taps nonetheless offer an ideal chance to explore local crafts.
- McGillin’s Old Ale House, 1310 Drury St., 215-735-5562. The city’s oldest bar (1860) focuses on local crafts, with its own house beers. Look for the 19th-century liquor licenses displayed on the wall above the bar.
- Strangelove’s, 216 S. 11th St., 215-873-0404. Very slick, two-story craft beer Mecca with a mix of classic American crafts and unusual imports.
- Tria Café, 1137 Spruce St., 215-629-9200. Eclectic beer list and very good wines, small plates and cheese.
- Varga Bar, 941 Spruce St., 215-627-5200. Casual atmosphere (pin-ups!) with good comfort food and 20 taps.
- Westbury Bar & Restaurant, 261 S. 13th St., 215-546-5170. Largely gay bar that welcomes everybody to share its 16 taps.
Old City Historic Area
- City Tavern, 138 S. 2nd St., 215-413-1443. So what if it’s touristy? This authentic re-creation gives you the feel (and the flavor) of a colonial tavern.
- Eulogy Belgian Tavern, 136 Chestnut St., 215-413-191 . Strong Belgian taps with hard-to-find bottles. House beer from La Binchoise.
- Fork Restaurant and Bar, 306 Market St., 215-625-9435. Top restaurant with the wonderful Eli Kulp in the kitchen. Wine-centric menu, but a good beer lineup, too. Visit High Street Market next door.
- Irish Pol, 45 S. 3rd St., 267-761-9532. Casual dive-like atmosphere with 40 taps and cheap prices.
- Khyber Pass Pub, 56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888. The city’s oldest craft beer bar pairs an A+ tap list with Louisiana cuisine.
- Race Street Café, 208 Race St., 215-627-6181. Off the beaten track near Old City galleries.
South Street District
- Bainbridge Street Barrel House, 625 Bainbridge St., 267-324-3553. Two dozen taps pouring some very unusual drafts. Order the Porkenstein.
- Brauhaus Schmitz, 718 South St., 267-909-8814. Best German draft selection and Bavarian cuisine in the city, house-made wurst; order the soft pretzel.
- Percy Street Barbecue, 900 South St., 215-625-8510. Texas-style BBQ with a large list of craft cans.
- Redwood, 340 South St., 215-238-1512. Wine-oriented, but with a solid list of drafts. Charcuterie selection is a good pairing with beer.
East Passyunk & South Philly
- Birra, 1700 E. Passyunk Ave., 267-324-3127. Pizza, pasta.
- Devil’s Den, 1148 S. 11th St., 215-339-0855. Killer tap list, with very rare bottles. Half-price drafts happy hour, 5-7 p.m. M-F.
- Kennett Restaurant, 848 S. 2nd St., 267-687-1426. Renovated neighborhood tavern specializing in wood-fired pizza and locally sourced food.
- Le Virtu, 1927 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-271-5626. Fresh-made pasta and more on this superb Abruzzo-style menu. Order the Prosciutto di Philly.
- Pub on Passyunk East, 1501 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-755-5125. Call it “the POPE” to blend in with the S. Philly hipster crowd.
- Royal Tavern, 937 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-389-6694. Lively Passyunk Avenue mainstay with good vegan menu. See also the nearby Dive Bar at 947 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-465-5505.
- South Philadelphia Tap Room, 1509 Mifflin St., 215-271-7787. Chef Scott Schroeder kills it this neighborhood anchor one block off S. Broad Street near the Snyder Avenue subway stop.
- The Industry, 1401 E. Moyamensing Ave., 215-271-9500. American crafts with bistro-style fare. Try the house-made sausage and brunch time Stomachectomy.
Fairmount/Spring Garden & North of Vine
- Alla Spina, 1410 Mt.Vernon, 215-600-0017. Italian-themed gastropub with phenomenal tap list. Tapas plates and unusual Italian beers on revitalized N. Broad Street.
- Bishop’s Collar, 2349 Fairmount Ave., 215-765-1616. Fun, loud Irish-themed neighborhood joint.
- Bridgid’s, 726 N. 24th St., 215-232-3232. Small, comfy but it’s lost its Belgo theme with a new Italian-centric menu.
- Kite & Key, 1836 Callowhill St., 215-568-1818. Open-window atmosphere in warm weather, one block from BarnesMuseum.
- London Grill Bar & Restaurant, 2301 Fairmount Ave., 215-978-4545. Craft beer mainstay in the shadow of historic Eastern State Penitentiary.
- McCrossen’s Tavern, 529 N. 20th St., 215-854-0923. Classic neighborhood tavern with A+ menu from Chef Townsend Wentz. Close to BarnesMuseum.
- Prohibition Taproom, 501 N. 13th St., 215-238-1818. Dark, retro feel with late kitchen in old warehouse neighborhood.
- Abbaye, 637 N. 3rd St., 215-627-6711. Fine, old N. Libs haunt with great burgers and well-maintained Belgo-centric tap list.
- Barcade, 1114 Frankford Ave., 215-634-4400. Fun 1970s video games (Ms. Pac-Man!), outdoor seating, 24 taps.
- Fette Sau, 1208 Frankford Ave., 215-391-4888. Smoked meat and BBQ in a industrial setting, served cafeteria style.
- Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave., 215-634-3338. Indoor/outdoor beer garden in a slick, rehabbed location. Ideal for big groups. Authentic German cuisine and beer.
- Gunners Run, 1001 N. 2nd St., 215-923-4600. Fine beer outpost at Piazza at Schmidt’s, the re-created space where Schmidt’s of Philadelphia brewery once stood. Look for these other beer spots in the plaza: PTY, Crabby Café, King’s Oak.
- Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684. Live music destination with mostly local taps and fine bar food.
- Kraftwork, 541 E. Girard Ave., 215-739-1700. Fun industrial workshop design with eclectic, affordable menu.
- Standard Tap, 901 N. 2nd St., 215-238-0630. The city’s original gastropub.
- Bridgewater’s Pub, 2951 Market St., 215-387-4787. Possibly the best beer selection in any American train station. Hard-to-find Germans, very good U.S. crafts.
- City Tap House, 3925 Walnut St., 215-662-0105. Biggest tap selection (60) in the city, but busy enough to ensure freshness.
Manayunk and Northwest Philly
- Kildare’s Pub, 4417 Main St., 215-482-7242. Surprisingly very good tap lineup for an Irish pub. Frequent firkin-tapping.
- Lucky’s Last Chance, 4421 Main St., 215-509-6005. A quiet beer-oriented relief from Main Street madness. Good burgers.
You’ll find tap handles from about 50 local breweries throughout the city. The breweries and brewpubs below are located inside the city limits. Most offer tours and takeout growlers or bottles and cans.
- Dock Street, 50th & Baltimore, West Philly, 215-726-2337. Good pizza, even better Trio Fries. Don’t miss: Man Full of Trouble Porter.
- Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Ave., Mt. Airy, 215-242-6666. Unusual range of house-made beers complemented by local crafts. Very good pizza/flatbread. Don’t miss: Terra Fúme.
- Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, 8400 Germantown Ave., Chestnut Hill, 215-948-5600. Fresh ales atop the hill on well-trimmed Germantown Avenue. Don’t miss: Belgian seasonal.
- Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant, 4120 Main St. Manayunk, 215-482-8220, Brewpub meets singles pickup scene. Good beer, old guys on the prowl, girls pounding Schuylkill Punch. Don’t miss: Dreamin’ IPA.
- Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant, 1516 Sansom St., 2nd Fl., Center City, 215-569-9525. Small but quality draft list. Don’t miss: Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse.
- Philadelphia Brewing, 2440 Frankford Ave, Kensington, 215-427-2739. Weekend tours. Don’t miss: Joe Porter.
- Saint Benjamin, 1710 N. 5th St., N. Philly. Three-barrel nanobrewery opening soon.
- Yards Brewery, 901 N. Delaware Ave., Northern Liberties, 215-634-2600, The city’s oldest and largest production brewery focuses on Brit styles. Fun weekend tours, food truck service supports excellent tasting room. Don’t miss: ESA on cask.
Most grocery stores do not carry beer, and distributors sell beer only by the full case. These delis and boutiques carry specialty beers. Most of these locations sell draft beer to go. Call ahead for growler-filling policy. Remember: Philadelphia carries more out-of-town brands than any city in America, especially hard-to-find Belgian and West Coast favorites.
- Beer Heaven, 1100 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. (South Philly) 215-271-5248.
- Bottle Shop, 1837 E. Passyunk Ave. (South Philly), 215-551-5551.
- Bottles, Packs and Growlers, 701 E. Cathedral Road (Roxborough), 215-482-4338.
- Brew, 1900 S. 15th St. (South Philly), 215-339-5177.
- Craft Beer Outlet, 9910 Frankford Ave. (Northeast Philly), 215-632-2722.
- Hawthornes, 738 S. 11th St. (South Philly), 215-627-3012,.
- Food & Friends, 1933 Spruce St., (Center City west), 215-545-1722.
- The Foodery, locations:
- 324 S. 10th St., (Center City east), 215-928-1111.
- 837 N. 2nd St.,(Northern Liberties), 215-238-6077.
- 6148 Ridge Ave. (Roxborough), 215-482-4500.
- 1710 Sansom St., (Center City west), 215-567-1500.
- Latimer Restaurant & Deli, 255 S. 15th St. (Center City west), 215-545-9244.
- RyBrew, 2816 W. Girard Ave. (Fairmount), 215-763-1984.
- Trolley Car Diner and Deli, 7619 Germantown Ave. (Mt. Airy) 215-753-1500.
The craft beer renaissance began (and continues) with the creativity of homebrewing. Homebrew shops aren’t just a handy place for supplies, they’re great sources of gossip and up-to-date info about the local beer scene.
- Home Sweet Homebrew, 2008 Sansom St., Center City. 215-569-9469.
- Malt House Ltd., 7101 Emlen St., Mount Airy, 215-242-1700
- Philly Homebrew Outlet, 1447 N American St., Kensington. 215-755-4556
- Artisan Homebrew, 128 E Lancaster Ave., Downingtown (Chester County). 610-873-4677.
- Brew Your Own Beer, 2026 Darby Road, Havertown (Delaware County). 610-449-5496
- Brew Your Own Bottle, 162 Haddon Ave., Westmont, N.J. 856-858-6000.
- Keystone Homebrew Supply, 435 Doylestown Road, Montgomeryville (Montgomery County). 215-855-0100.
- Wine, Barley & Hops Homebrew Supply, 248 Bustleton Pike, Trevose (Bucks County). 215-322-4780.