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Standard Tap or Ludwig's Garten

so, we're going out for dinner and beer. both of us are pretty into beer. i want a place with good taps, but also with decent food. not three star here, i just mean well-executed stuff to satisfy as we while away the hours sessioning nice taps. thanks.

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  1. I'm not a big fan of either place, but given the choice, I'd have to pick the Standard Tap. The food at Ludwig's is not good. Why just those two places?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      well, heres my situ: im from NYC and headed to philly this evening. we're going to be goin out for drinks and some food. i did a little googling, etc and found pretty much MONKS, LUDWIGS, STANDARD, BLACK SHEEP etc. we're beer people btw. so, i just thought that monks being crowded all the time was a downer and then ludwigs' menu looked rockin and standard seemed to have nice taps. any other beer bar recs would be much appreciated. thanks.

    2. I love Standard Tap, both for its food and local beers. It depends on where you will be in the city though. Standard Tap is in the Northern Liberties section of the city.

      In Center City, I would recommend Eulogy for Belgian beers. Ten Stone for a wide selection of beers on tap and by the bottle.

      Or Good Dog, doesnt have the largest selection of beers on tap but a good selection of local beer nonetheless. It more than makes up for it with its Roquefort stuffed burger. And its within walking distance to Monk's!

      If you love beer, be sure to try a Sly Fox Dry Stout on tap, my favorite of our local beers

      4 Replies
      1. re: JT007

        I read Sly Fox's O'Reilly Dry Stout is starting to steal taps in Philly from Guinness. I love seeing a macro beer being replaced by a local, and far superior beer. Same style but Sly Fox's is so much fresher, roastier (is this a word?), better....Great beer!

        1. re: JT007

          Actually-I don't think Standard Tap's beer selection is that great. It's usually a choice of like 6 beers, and one or two are out.

          1. re: DanielleM

            Not that Tap needs defending (but here's nothing). I've regularly gone to Tap for 5 years and have never seen them with only 4 or 5 beers available as you suggest above. Secondly, their philosophy is to have local beers (less than 70 mile radius) available on draft and no bottles. Within that radius (as we all know) includes:

            Victory
            Dogfish Head
            Weyerbacher
            Stoudt's
            Flying Fish
            Legacy
            Yards
            Sly Fox

            I believe that 6 or 10 or even 4 taps which include beer from any of the above breweries qualifies as a "great" selection (unless of course we are talking shear quantity over quality).

            Back to th OP, strickly in terms of beer you can't really go wrong with either Tap or Ludwigs. Great taps at both and a wide selection of bottles at Ludwigs. The food is where they really part company. Ludwigs is simply poorly executed German food (i.e. really bad). The Wurst platters aren't completely awful but it's only wurst and it's like $15. Go to Tap and start with the mussels with spicy sausage and a side of fries.

            1. re: Chinon00

              And sometimes more taps (over 10) is a sign of an establishment biting off more than they can chew.....excuse the cliche. Tap lines must be kept clean on a regular basis. The more taps the less chance they are cleaning their lines which makes for a bad draft. When I hear of a place that advertizes 15, 20, 30 beers on tap, I'm immediately suspicous.

        2. Although you'll get some dissenting opinions about the Standard Tap (I don't get it.....always great in my experience), I still think the food is excellent and the beers are, as always, fresh. I'd go with the Tap over Ludwig's. Ludwig's taps feature mostly German brews (lagers, pils, hefes), and The ST is all local...that said, local styles can run the gamut from lagers to ales, from IPAs to triples, from English to Belgian. More variety......more fun.

          But if it's beer and food you are looking for there are many more to choose from: Monk's, Good Dog, North 3rd, Johnny Brenda's, Brigid's, The Grey Lodge, The South Philadelphia Taproom, Royal Tavern, Grace Tavern, Nodding Head, McMenamin's......all beer joints with good food to a varying degree of course. For food/beer combo I love the South Philly Taproom, Johnny Brenda's, Brigid's, Good Dog and McMenamin's.

          You may get recs for Eulogy....go for the beer not for the food. Great bar, not so great food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: G Goo

            Eulogy's dijon cream mussels are to die for.

          2. you philly people are active. thanks. maybe ill be there sippin a pint right next to you tonight.

            1. I think the Nodding Head's beers are just great, they know what they are doing. Good music, food is decent, love the atmosphere. For Belgians, I 2nd the Eulogy.

              1. check out n.3rd too - it's in northern liberties at 3rd & brown.

                1 Reply
                1. re: alexia

                  I'll second the plug for N. 3rd. I like the food there better than Standard Tap, and the draft selection is pretty comparable.
                  Grace and Royal Taverns also rock...

                2. I've never really understood the Standard Tap phenomenon. The place is always LOUD, especially on weekends, you can never find a seat, the service is annoyingly pretentious and you feel like you're being rushed into eating/drinking so you can get out so they can push more people in.

                  Ludwig's is fun if you want to try random beers (they have fun beer flights), but the food is awful.

                  I'd go with Good Dog (though there's nothing wrong with Eulogy, the food isn't as good) if you want to be downtown (really great burgers and food, and a decent selection of beer), or if you want to venture outside Center City, N. 3rd (food/beer are both good).

                  I hate to keep saying "good," but none of these places are going to have outstanding cuisine (Good Dog's burger notwithstanding), but they're far from bad, and you'll get your beer fix.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cussbucket

                    I was curious, what do you regularly order to eat at Good Dog, N. 3rd, or Tap?

                    Thanks!

                  2. At Good Dog I stick to the burgers, usually, though I've gotten the Good Dog salad on occasion and been quite satisfied.

                    I used to live in NoLibs, so I've been to Standard Tap and N. 3rd a LOT. Standard Tap, I've also gotten the burger a number of times. I can think of at least 3 times I've had to send it back because it was seriously undercooked. One time they brought me a portabello sandwich instead of a burger, also--they told me it would be half an hour to get my burger, so I ate the mushroom. I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms, so I can't really give you an opinion on it. I will say that their fries are good, and I've heard the mussels are great, but I'm not a fan of mussels in general. Overall, I don't think the food justifies the atmosphere or the service. If I'm at a bar with friends, I expect to be able to hear what they're saying.

                    I LOVE the calimari at N. 3rd. I love cornmeal, so this is a huge plus for me. I think the burgers are great (though I prefer Good Dog's), and the fish and chips are always good--never soggy and the fish always tastes fresh.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cussbucket

                      Ok now this makes more sense. When you kept repeating only “good” in reference to the food at all of these places I figured that you were sticking to the standard fare (no pun intended) when visiting. While I love burgers and fries and think that you can do a lot of creative things with them, IMHO it’s more difficult to say that you’ve had a “great” meal when it consists of this type of food exclusively. I can only speak fairly about Tap as I don’t frequent the other places often but if you order one of their “true” entrees (i.e. Hanger Steak, Wild Boar, Pork Chops, etc) you might come away with a different opinion (i.e. one beyond just “good”). I love the Wild Boar served in a vinegar sauce. Intense!

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        I'll have to try that if I'm in the area next time. I do, however, have a huge burger fetish, so this will be hard. But I appreciate the advice--when I go to bars, I tend to stick to "bar food" because I find that if you order a steak or pork chops at those type of places you're usually disappointed. However, that may not be the case at Standard Tap, etc.

                        And, again, even if the good is "great" I really just hate super loud places. But, that's a personal opinion--I know a lot of people think it adds to the atmosphere. I just like to be able to hear the person sitting with me.

                    2. so, we ended up going to ludwig's. they were out of many drafts which kind of perplexed me but anyway, had three nicely poured delicious 'pints.' the food for me was a plate of mussels with bacon and roquefort. these were decent enough. not great really by mussels standard. the actual muscle of the mussels were a bit too small. also, the bacon pretty much overpowered them. at the end of the pile, when i finally got to the real bottom of the broth, it was full of little balls of roquefort. that was indeed a nice little bonus BUT it was lacking in the whole prior pile of mussels.
                      then i got the smoked some-kind-of-fish salad which was good enough. the salad was neither here nor there but the actual piece of fish atop was pretty large. tasty.
                      my partner got a sausage sampler platter. he liked it, but i thought it was a little small by appearance.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ben61820

                        So in the end why did you guys go with Ludwig's over Standard?

                        1. re: ben61820

                          suprised you went. lots of people responded and everyone said not to go there.

                        2. Royal Tavern is the place to go!

                          1. I love South Philly Tap Room. Good beer selection, great food, nice people.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: zelbee

                              I agree!! South Philly Tap Room all the way!! Always good beer on tap,and the taps are everchanging!