Monday, March 29, 2010

Getting into PA Breweries 4: a second chance

As I said, I sent the completed manuscript for Pennsylvania Breweries 4 in last week. But...since then, I noticed that I'd screwed up and missed a few bars in Philly, and I've been reconsidering. Can you give me a little help? I've made my choices, and a few of the definite adds (like Beneluxx, which was simply a brainfart on my part). But these...I either haven't been to them (like Devil's Alley), haven't been to them recently (like Union Jack) or I'm on the fence (like Mad Mex). So do me a favor: take a look at this list, and pick your TOP FIVE that you can't believe I haven't put in...and I'll think about it some more. Looking for a little advice, folks; thanks!

(Remember: I've already got most of the good ones in. If you don't see a bar on this list, assume it's already in there. If some of these seem odd to you, I judge a bar on more than just how many craft beer taps it has! And this is just Philly, not the suburbs.)


Devil's Alley
O'Neals Pub
St. Stephen's Green
Old Eagle Tavern
North Star Bar
Mad Mex Philadelphia
Philadelphia Bar and Grille
Rembrandt's
Kildare's
Lyons Den
The Ugly Moose
Downey's
New Deck Tavern
Locust Bar
Dr. Watson's Pub
Dirty Frank's
Drinker's Tavern
Doobie's
Misconduct Tavern
The Irish Pol
New Wave Cafe
Devil's Den
Ten Stone
Union Jack's
TIME
Brownie's Pub
Society Hill Hotel and Bar Restaurant
Tir Na Nog

19 comments:

Dan Allen said...

Old Eagle Tavern; Devil's Den; Union Jack's; Dirty Frank's O'Neal's Pub.

Jim said...

1. Devils Den
2. Devils Den
3. Devils Den
4. Devils Den
5. Devils Den

I'd thought about voting for Union Jack's or Mad Mex, and they both have their merits, but I didn't want to detract from the incredibleness of Devils Den. If there is one from this list that makes it, it better be that one!

Lew Bryson said...

Actually, Jim, go ahead and vote: Devil's Den is almost certainly going in.

Matt Allyn said...

As an occasional Philly beer drinker, I could live without any of those bars.

That said, Devil's Den (more so) and Devil's Alley are probably worth a mention.

TC said...

Top 3, in alphabetical order:

Devil's Den - Hit or miss menu, good taps.

Doobie's - Total dive, hates Canada (for seal clubbing), great jukebox, great beer.

North Star - I like it more for a concert venue than for a straight bar, but as Johnny Brenda's Lite (or JB's West, maybe), it does nicely.

The rest of the list I haven't been to, or don't care for.

Michael Soo said...

For sure:
Devil's Den
Mad Mex

I know that Mad Mex doesn't get the hype that other beer bars get because of its association with Penn, but it's draft list is usually surprisingly good. Just for your information, this is current posted draft list:

BELL'S TWO HEARTED ALE
BOULDER MOJO RISIN' DOUBLE IPA (12 oz)
DOGFISH HEAD 60 MINUTE IPA
DOS EQUIS AMBER LAGER
GREAT LAKES CONWAY'S IRISH ALE
HOEGAARDEN WHITE ALE
ITHACA GROUND BREAK
LAGUNITAS WHISKY TANGO FOXTROT ALE
MAGIC HAT #9
MILLER LITE
SIERRA NEVADA 30TH ANNIVERSARY ALE
SIXPOINT OTIS OATMEAL STOUT
TERRAPIN THE DARK SIDE STOUT (12OZ)
TROEG'S NUGGET NECTAR
VICTORY HELIOS
VICTORY HOP DEVIL
YUENGLING LAGER

Sure they have Lager and Miller Lite, but Bell's Two Heart, DFH 60, Nugget Nectar...make for at least 5 beers with an "A" or higher rating on BeerAdvocate

JW said...

Can Med Mex just point back to a reference in the Pittsburgh chapter?

Craig said...

St. Stephen's
Devils Den
Union Jack
Devils Alley

Dan Allen said...

Okay. My bad. I should have made a stronger case when I first voted. Old Eagle needs serious consideration. I don't know what the exact criteria is -- certainly a lot of good beer, and probably good food -- but personality is surely a measure as well. Old Eagle is old Manayunk meets new Manayunk. Construction workers rubbing elbows with Web gurus. C'mon, it's old school beer culture meets hop heads. Drop in any evening after work and eaves drop on all the cross culture/class/generation conversations. And everyone is getting along. And the beer selection is huge, and accommodating, and non-judgmental. And a damn good food menu, too.

Lew Bryson said...

I don't know what the exact criteria is either, Dan! No one thing always does it, especially in Philly: there are so many bars with good beer in this town, I can't list them all. Good food is good, but not paramount. I've got bars in the book that serve nothing better than Yuengling, too, because they're great bars (not in Philly, maybe, but you get the idea).

You make a good case. Thanks.

Lew Bryson said...

JW, that might be a good way to add Mad Mex and conserve space, thanks.

Steve said...

In no specific order:

Devil's Alley
Misconduct Tavern
Devil's Den
Union Jack's
Tir Na Nog

Kelly said...

Did Brauhaus Schmitz make the list?

Sally said...

Old Eagle!!!!!
The Ugly Moose
New Wave Cafe
North Star Bar

Which Brownie's? If it's the one on South Street then yes. If not, then New Deck.

Superfecta said...

Devil's Alley is quite underrated (as is their sister restaurant/bar, Smokin' Betty's). Good beer, good comfort food.

Devil's Den is a shoe-in, but I'd leave off the New Deck Tavern - they always seem to be out of anything craft-y when I'm there, and the food's pretty bad.

Philadelphia Fairy said...

Old Eagle Tavern
Misconduct Tavern
Mad Mex....

Sara said...

Devil's Den! Yeah, I am biased because it's the closest bar to my house, but I go to a lot of bars - and their beer list is always stellar. The bartenders really know their stuff and are always quick to provide a sample. If you're a regular, they're also quick to steer you away from a beer you might not like. The only beef I hear about the Den is that they don't serve enough local drafts, but there's usually one or two locals on the line and plenty of bottles. And don't forget the ha;f price drafts at happy hour from 5-7 on weekdays.

The food is getting better, in my opinion. I think the quality has been hit or miss due to a lot of chef changes in the kitchen, but their current chef (Alex Urena) is doing some great things to amp up their gastropub fare due to his fine dining resume.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, you must include Devil's Den. I live in Center City and frequent a number of the city's great beer bars. I thought it is assumed that Devil's Den is in the TOP TIER of the city's beer bars??? For good reasons: Always incredible tap/bottle selection, creative flights, great happy hour, great food, great mix of people, good location (for many reasons), and a freakin fireplace.
Beyond those, IDoobie's

The Irish Pol (the redheaded stepchild of Philly beer bars, but actually an outstanding selection of craft beer on draft)

New Wave Cafe (A TRUE neighborhood classic, with a focus on local craft)

Misconduct Tavern (they are obviously making a big effort to get a rep as a beer bar... lots of INTERESTING local craft selections). Although you could just as easily include Ladder 15, a place where you're now more likely to find FF Exit 16 than Miller Lite.

Doobies - The PENULTIMATE neighborhood bar, again with a strong local selection. Where else will you find Philly Brewing's Shackamaximum on CASK??

Cheers!
Brian

Anonymous said...

Old eagle tavern