Back in the day, before the beer bar explosion in Philly, there were a only few places to find beer other than the usual. Irish bars had Guinness (back then, all of them did...), German beers at the Blue Ox and Austrian Village, Bridgid's had Belgian beers (which was astonishing to me when I arrived from Connecticut in 1991 (um...I'm a native Pennsylvanian, but between 1984 and 1991 I moved all over the country thanks to grad school and a civilian job with the US Army)), there was a growing variety at Copa, Too!...and there was the Khyber.
The Khyber was really old -- Khyber or McGillin's as the oldest Philly bar? McGillin's has the better claim -- really weird -- just look at it from the street -- and really funky -- the 'other side' had some amazing bands. They also had a great selection of drafts, bottles, and spirits, and that amazing 1876 backbar, originally built for the Philadelphia Centennial that year. I drank there fairly often, it was the place I'd meet people in the city, until Old City parking got just stupid nuts expensive. They did events -- I did a booksigning there, got on TV, and "One" Guy Hagner showed up with a case of beer from his first brewery, Franconia.
Then things kind of went downhill, got pretty average, and I didn't go in for years. Then I got an e-mail a few months ago about an event at the Khyber -- meant to blog on it, but didn't. Well, I got another one today for an event coming up that beerguy Stephen Simons calls HOPSCOTCH!
It's going to be on Monday, July 27th, from 5:00PM - 9:00PM, a competition between 12 beers are in contention, and one will win. "Will it be hopped up IPAs/APAs/DIPAs or the malty deliciousness of Scotch Ales/Wee Heavies? Hop heads & Malt Maniacs delight! Some very special brews will be on hand including, Bear Republic Racer X, Founders Backwoods Bastard, Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale." That Racer X is some shit, too.
So welcome back to the Khyber! Might have to get my fat butt back on the bike and get down to Old City again. The Khyber, Brownie's, Cuba Libre, Society Hill Hotel, Race Street Cafe, Plough and the Stars, Triumph, Eulogy, City Tavern...definitely worth it.