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Good Grub & Brews in Old City?

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Visiting Philly next weekend and looking for a pub/bar in Old City to meet with friends Friday night for dinner and drinks. Must have wide variety of beers on tap with good pub fare. Looking for less touristy and more hidden gem. Does such a place exist?

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  1. I don't think you'l find exactly what you are looking for in Old CIty anymore (when it was first being reinvented you would have). Try to head north - only about a mile or so - thru Northern Liberties and "Port Fishington". As I am old enough to remember holes in the wall in Old City, I will let someone else suggest No Libs or port Richmond/Kensington/Fishtown haunts, although I do want to get to Kraftworks soon even if I am the oldest person there!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bigley9

      While I definitely agree with Bigley that better places are to be had north (or south), you can find good beer and food in the Old City and down to South Street area.

      Sugar Mom's (on church street) and Eulogy (2nd and Chestnut) are two that come to mind. If you go to south street you can add in Chick's Cafe and Wine Bar. Moderate good beer and food selection can be found at the Dark Horse on Headhouse Square.

    2. The Irish Pol on third st. has a good variety of beers, their wall of taps has close to 40 most of the time. They are almost all craft beers or imports other than maybe yuengling/pbr. They do have food but its limited. Not many tables downstairs., but i think there is an upstairs, though i've never been. This is probably one of the only tolerable places in old city.

      1. Take a 5 min cab ride to Northern Liberties and head to the Standard Tap and N3rd

        1. Follow-up question. Someone suggested McGillin's to me - which I know is not in Old City but it is near our hotel so that could be another option. Would this be a better choice than Eulogy, et al suggested here?

          3 Replies
          1. re: thebumbles

            Old City, Wide variety of beers, good pub fare = Eulogy.

            1. re: thebumbles

              No. McGillan's can be fun and has a few good beers on tap, but food is nothing special and I don't think it is the vibe you are looking for. I haven't been loving Eulogy the past few times I've been; it gets really crowded and the food is not too great. I'd second Irish Pol in Old City for beer, and maybe give Benelux a try for beer and food. They changed the menu recently and the food was pretty good when I tried it. Excellent wine and beer selection. Also in Old City, National Mechanics has some decent food and a lot of good beer.

              If you're going to stray west from Old City it sounds like you would like Tria or Varga Bar, or maybe Time or Fergie's. I'd probably hit any of these before anything in Old City, at least on the weekend.

              1. re: barryg

                i'd agree eulogy's menu needs an overhaul but in old city it's still probably my favorite.

                hope i'm not too late! if you're staying close to mcgillins, i'd suggest the prohibition taproom which isn't too terribly far, and about a thousand times better. currently it is my favorite bar in the city! i'm taking guests there tonight. it's at 13th and buttonwood just south of spring garden. it's been pretty crowded lately, but nowhere near as bad as the old city places. the beer selection is amazing as is the food, and the staff is so friendly.

            2. Just wanted to come back and say that we ended up selecting Eulogy and had a fantastic time. Funky environment, games on the TV, awesome service, good food and great beer selection. Thanks for the recommendation everyone!

              Some other spots we hit throughout the weekend:
              -Plough & the Stars in Old City had terrible service and the food received mixed reviews from us for lunch.
              -Brauhaus Schmitz on South Street was too modern/blah - we were expecting more old school I think. The beer selection was pretty good and that whole neighborhood was a lot of fun to walk around.
              -Triumph Brewery had good beer but they had a ridiculous cover charge for crappy DJ music.
              -Il Bar at the Penns View Inn on Front & Market is the place to go for wine selections.
              -Reading Market couldn't be beat to please our group for lunch.
              -Monk's Cafe in Center City was a cool spot with a huge beer list and the food looked awesome though we didn't have time to try any there.
              -We stumbled across Nodding Head Brewery late night and loved it for drinks and darts.
              -The Continental in Old City was a lot of fun for a super tasty brunch.

              Believe it or not we did a lot more than eat and drink for our long weekend visit, but it helped to have so many great options along the way!

              1 Reply
              1. re: thebumbles

                wow, you really made it around town!! thanks for reporting back. :)