Food & Drink
DRINK: The Best Beer Snob Bars in Philly
by Lea Faminiano
The following is a guest post. Danny Barron is a writer living in Philadelphia. He is one of the founders of The Scrapple, a Philly-based blog focused on food and alternative culture. This post is part of a series of guest posts written by Danny that are centered around food + drink in Philadelphia.
For the past couple of years, Philly has gained the reputation, or at least has been noticed, for being one of the leading cities for beer in the country. The city is home to several different craft and microbreweries, including stalwarts like Yards and Philadelphia Brewing Company, and if you want to stretch the boundaries a little, the surrounding area of Southeastern Pennsylvania is populated by breweries like Victory, Riverhorse and Triumph.
For a beer snob, Philly is the place to be. In many bars, the standard house beer is going to be one from a brewery that’s essentially just down the street. The selection is wonderful and you can get an inexpensive draft without resorting to some watered-down big name beer.
Although it can be a tight squeeze getting into Monk’s and finding a seat near the bar, it’s worth the visit to try the massive selection of beers. This is probably the leading bar for Belgian-style ales, beers and everything imaginable. They’ve got a solid draft list that ranges from imports to local Belgian reproductions like Allagash White or Philadelphia Brewing Company’s Walt Wit. Upon that, Monk’s multi-paged beer list, in bottles, has the potential to drive even the most decisive person nuts with the range of choices.
The staff here knows their beer and seem to be more than delighted to share their knowledge should you find yourself stuck deciding on your drink, or providing some hints when you can’t quite figure out the translation of something. The lights are fairly dim inside the bar, but the atmosphere is warm, friendly and inviting.
Monk’s Café can be found at 16th and Spruce in Center City, open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. everyday.
This West Philly bar fits more into the neighborhood-bar style than, thankfully, the nearby college scene. It’s the kind of bar where it’s easy to hop onto a barstool and enjoy the conversation surrounding you, and maybe enjoy a baseball game with your beer. The drafts rotated steadily, to the point where you can be almost guaranteed to try something new with each visit. Following the spirit of it’s name, Local 44 is one of the best bars where you can get a decent sampling of what the local breweries have to offer alongside a good amount of other domestic craft beers. Their happy hour features a $3 special on all local drafts. Highly accomodating, the bar also offers a special gluten-free beer, bottled, on request, and accepts suggestions for the best one you know.
One of the highlights of Local 44 is their recently-opened bottle shop next door on Spruce St., where you can pick-up a six-pack, a tall bottle, or mix-and-match from a huge variety of individual bottles. A good stop to get that one for the road, or the little stumble home.
Local 44 is located at 44th and Spruce in West Philadelphia, open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
This Fishtown bar is a wide-open space, with an industrial, rustic aesthetic of iron and hardwood all over. Kraftwork is another that features a fantastic rotation on its draft list, a wonderful selection of craft beers from all over. The bar features a late-night happy hour, from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., showcasing its “Dirty Dozen,” a curated selection of 12 drafts, all half-off. The fantastic thing about Kraftwork is its size selection, providing choices from eight-ounces to pints, and $10 flights that let you sample four different beers. The bar also provides growlers for a take-home drink with pals, or maybe just yourself if you’re feeling particularly lush.
Kraftwork is at Girard and Montgomery in Fishtown, open from noon to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
To read more by Danny, check out his post on Five Places To Get Stereotypical Philly Food That’s Not Cheesesteak and don’t forget to head over to The Scrapple!