Re: Philadelphia trip

I like McGlinchey's bar, 259 S.15th Street, good beer and cheap prices ($1.45 for Yeungling Porter, other beers around $2.90). Also try Nodding Head on Sansom Street, just round the corner from McGlinchey's. Good brewpub and the food is excellent.
Regards, Lee Blower Derby UK.
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I'd also recommend a visit to McGillin's Old Ale House, the oldest continually operating tavern in the city. It is located at 1310 Drury Lane, a small street between Chestnu and Sansom Sts, off 13th St.
Just around the corner from McGillin's is Ludwig's Garten, a 27-tap German beer emporium, very some hard-to-find German beers, and some very good food (potato onion cake, wursts, wings) and true Bavarian atmosphere.
Also a trip to The Standard Tap, 2nd and Poplar Sts. is a must, serving only local beers on tap and hand pumps (and only taps, no bottles), in a restored 18th century tavern, with quirky art on the walls, and a menu of very very good food, perhaps the best burger in the city.
RP Close enough to be a Philadelphian!
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Richard Pawlak
Here's something I got from a previous post on one of the newsgroups....
Message #1:
There's PLENTY to see and do, Jimmy. I'll stay with places in the heart of the city, for ease of strolling.
McGILLIN'S OLD ALE HOUSE 1310 Drury Lane, between Chestnut and Sansom Sts, 13th and Juniper Sts. (The oldest continually operating tavern in the city (1860), a shrine to hospitality. Some good beers on tap too, especially some locals.
LUDWIG'S GARTEN, 1315 Sansom (right around the corner! Ask McGillin's to show you the secret back door to Ludwig's). Authentic Bavarian food, coupled with 17 (soon to be 27) taps of beautiful German beer. Heaven.
NODDING HEAD Brewery 1518 Sansom St. Small upstairs brewpub with good eats and some very gopod beers, especially a clever "Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weiss"
MONK'S CAFE 16th and Spruce Sts. Another great shrine to beer, especially Belgians, as well as many American beers and some rare stuff at that. Superb, inexpensive food, like Mussels and Frites, Boudin Blanc sausage sandwiches, and the city's best burger. Great cozy atmosphere too.
Message #2:
The following is garnered from ten years of drinking in Philly, writing about beer in Philly, talking to people who drink in Philly, and reading about drinking in Philly. Given all that, I've still left some places out. I moved to the Philadelphia area ten years ago and pretty much stayed out in the suburbs for the first three years. I had come from drinking beer in New England and California: Anchor in San Francisco, Sierra Nevada in Chico, Geary's in Portland, Guinness in Boston. What did Philadelphia know about beer?
Turns out they knew a lot! Philly is one of America's hotspots for traditional, cask-conditioned "real ale," drinks down Belgian imports like no other town, and even the town's mainstream beer drinkers often choose regional powerhouse Yuengling's beers over national brands. As Grey Lodge Pub owner Mike Scotese says, "Any town where a regional amber lager [like Yuengling] has Budweiser on the run is a great beer town." Philadelphia is simply the hottest town in America for beer variety.
First, Philly's brewpubs. The oldest is Dock Street, at 18th and Cherry, and the newest is the newly renamed Independence (not the old micro, it's actually a renamed newer Dock Street...don't try to understand) at 12th & Market (across from the Reading Terminal Market, which you GOTTA visit: great fresh regional food and incredible sweets), both are good places for food and drink if a bit trendy/pricey. Nodding Head (1516 Sansom St.) is serving very traditional English ales in an informal snug setting. Manayunk Brewing Co. (4120 Main St. in the Manayunk neighborhood) has some damned good beers these days (grab the Grand Cru or Monster Island IPA), but is often swarming with blonde-ale drinking yupsters. Out of town it's Valley Forge BC (610/687-8700) out in Devon with a killer Imperial Stout, and Victory in Downingtown (610/873-0881) TOP-NOTCH WORLD-CLASS beers and absolutely worth the drive -- call for directions, you'll need 'em.
On to the bars! There are five really dense pockets of good beer in Philly. The first is in Center City (what other cities call "downtown"), and I've worked up a little walking tour to hit the best places. I did this in 90 minutes, but I was on a mission!
Your first stop is Philly's oldest continually operating bar, McGillin's Old Ale House at 1310 Drury Lane. They've been serving beer here since 1860. Drury Lane can be hard to find. It's half a block
north of Sansom Street, but only in the 1300 block! You'll find mainstream beers and Guinness, local faves Yuengling and Honey Brown, and microbeers from Yards, Stoudt's, Victory, Flying Fish, and Dogfish Head. Food's great, and for greasy, irresistable barfood, you can't beat the curly-fry nachos.
Turn right out of the door, then right on 13th St., then take a left on Sansom St. to Fergie's Pub, at 1214 Sansom. This is the home of one of the top jars of Guinness in Philly. They've also got a handpump that usually has local fave Yards ESA on and six other taps with a mix of mainstream and micro. It's an Irish welcome without the hard-sweating "Bigawd, we're IRISH!" feel of too many "pubs." Food's authentic and filling.
Cross the street from Fergie's and go left to the next block for Ludwig's Garten, at 1315 Sansom. This German restaurant and bar knocks you out with its taps: 17 (soon to be 21) of them, all German but one, with a solid bank of five Paulaner taps and notables such as Optimator, Aventinus and Schneiderweisse, and Kostritzer Schwarzbier. The exception is a German-style beer brewed exclusively for Ludwig's by local brewer Victory: Mad King's Weiss. There are also tons of German bottled beers. There's an authentic German menu, lederhosen-clad servers, and the dining room looks right out of Bavaria. Quickly established itself as one of the best selections of German beer in the U.S.
Turn right out of the door, then left at 15th St. McGlinchey's is down at 259 S. 15th. McGlinchey's may not look like much -- one big room dominated by a big U-shaped bar, pretty plain, hand-lettered signs -- but you'll never feel left out here. Add to that some of the cheapest prices for good beers in town ($4.75 for a 12 oz. bottle of Chimay Red, $1.90 for a 12 oz. mug of Yuengling Porter) and you'll see why McGlinchey's is so popular. It's a good place for lunch, too: I got a thick liverwurst and onion on rye for $1.75. The woman who made it delivered it on a paper plate, and as I counted the money out bluntly let me know "You know, our tips are separate." Such honest self-interest could not go unrewarded. People are what they are here, and that's valuable.
As you leave McGlinchey's, turn left, then take your first right over to 16th Street. Cross over and turn right, and there is your final stop, nirvana at 264 S. 16th St.: Monk's Cafe. This is one of the very best beer bars in the country and the world, really, with an absolutely astonishing array of rare and wonderful draft beers and an increasingly impressive cellar of vintage beers, as well as a wide selection of bourbons and single malts. The concentration is on Belgium, and you'll find draft and bottled Belgian beers of every type. Food is tremendous; Philly's best burger (Philly Magazine, two years running) and delicious pots of steamed mussels with real Belgian frites and garlic-bourbon mayonnaise).
The second density is over in Northern Liberties, just north and west of the intersection of I-95 and I-676 (the Vine St. Expressway). You'll find a bunch of Irish pubs, if you're interested, but the big draws for beer lovers are 700 (700 N. 2nd St.) and the Standard Tap (one block north of 700 on the opposite corner). These two bars are really cool places, and have an amazing selection of beers you won't find many other places in the city. 700 has good taps, an excellent bottle (and half-decent spirits) selection; Standard has only local, draft, excellent beer and great, great food. When beer writers like Michael Jackson and Stephen Beaumont come to town, they want to go to Monk's and Standard Tap.
The third density is south of Standard Tap about eight blocks on 2nd St. As you head south on 2nd, you'll pass Christ Church, a Philly landmark at the corner of Church St. Park near there. Church St. runs west from 2nd, and that's where you'll find Sugar Mom's Church Street Lounge (225 Church., back from the street, look for the red sign), with an eclectic set of taps and bottles, great tunes, and good bar eats. Then come back out to 2nd and continue south. The next block has Brownie's Pub and the Khyber Pass, both excellent bars; the Khyber is a funky little hobbit-house stuck into the street's facade, and has a more adventurous tap selection.
The fourth density is in Fairmount Park, down by the art museum. Bridgid's (726 N. 24th St.) and Cuvee Notredame (1701 Green St.) are two very good, very different Belgian restaurants; Cuvee is just a tiny bit more pricey and sophisticated, but you get value for the bucks, Bridgid's is a lot more cozy and Bohemian. Either one is a good call, just depends on what you want. London Grill (2301 Fairmount Ave.) has a good selection and two handpumps, and is on the southwest corner of a parking lot; on the northwest corner Rembrandt's usually has a small but decent selection (both are more upscale); and on the southeast corner is Jack's Firehouse, where there are some good beers, an outstanding selection of bourbon (perhaps the best in the city), excellent food, and really cool atmosphere.
Fifth density is in Manayunk. Manayunk Brewing Co. will have at least three good beers and great food. There are fun bars all along Main Street in Manayunk, but if you're really beer-hunting, you want to go to Dawson Street Pub (all the way east on Dawson St., do yourself a favor and call for directions 215/482-5677) where they have three handpumps and an excellent array of taps and bottles. You're also not TOO far away from McMenamin's Tavern, an exceptionally good beer bar where they haven't lost their neighborhood bar feel (7170 Germantown Ave.). They've also added a really good menu and a chef who understands beer, the food has gotten very good in the past year, from bar food to full-menu stuff like seafood risotto.
What else? The Grey Lodge Pub, 6235 Frankford Avenue is not in any of these 'densities,' in fact, it's way up in Northeast Philly, but it's definitely worth the trip. Why? It's a corner bar (in the middle of the block) that's covered in Twin Peaks references, and serves outstanding local and imported beer along with Bud, Coors Light, and Old Mill 40s. Everyone gets along here, plays darts, flash bowling, and uses the amazingly beer-decorated bathrooms. A wonderful, wonderful bar. And right around the corner is Chickie's and Pete's, a Philly institution where you can get great steamed crabs, or you can walk north on Frankford to the Red Robin diner to get an omelette after a night of drinking.
Beer to look for on all those taps:
YUENGLING -- America's oldest brewery, Yuengling (say "YING-ling") had 400% growth through the 1990s and is now a regional power with over 15% of the total Philly-area beer market, mostly on sales of Traditional Lager. With a large new brewing facility coming online, national brewery reps have to be dreading the long-threatened onslaught of Yuengling Light. Even beer snobs like their Porter.
YARDS -- Yards flagship ESA was the first beer to hit it big as cask-conditioned "real ale" in Philly, and remains the leader. With locals drinking up all the specialties like Love Stout (brewed with an addition of oysters!), and their spicy Saison, Yards is a well-kept Philly secret.
FLYING FISH -- Just across the river in Cherry Hill, NJ, Flying Fish sells a lot of beer in Philadelphia. Their Porter is a dark standby, and their crisp, light Farmhouse Ale is selling fast, a great summertime beer.
VICTORY -- Highly trained and experienced brewers who refuse to compromise make Victory's beers some of the boldest, cleanest ones around; their HopDevil is the hot ticket. But they still have a deft hand with subtlety, as shown by their delicate Dark Lager and buoyant Sunrise Weiss.
STOUDT'S -- Brewing since 1987 and carrying a fistful of awards to prove it, Stoudt's is a veteran of the Philly market that is finally hitting some bigger numbers. Their American Pale Ale is a hoppy, bright favorite, I favor their traditional, soft Pils.
DOGFISH HEAD -- These Delaware brewers make bizarre, ethereal, wonderful beers, spiked with honeys, fruits, spices, sugars, and herbs. Though they have gained critical acclaim nationwide, Philadelphia has taken them to heart. Look for Chicory Stout, 60 Minute IPA, and the huge, menacing Immort Ale.
HEAVYWEIGHT -- A new player, Heavyweight is a one-man operation from New Jersey that has cracked the Philadelphia market with Perkuno's Hammer, a huge "Baltic porter," Two Druids Gruit, an herbal beer like no other you've had, and Lunacy, a big golden Belgian-style ale.
That oughta do ya...
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