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Rankings of Gatropubs/Pubs in Philly Region

If this has already been done, I apologize. First of all, I think that Philadelphia and the region is a great place for bars with excellent and interesting food. I was wondering about people's thoughts on their favorite gastropubs/pubs in the Philly region. Based on my limited experience here is my list:

1. Standard Tap: great menu, love the oysters, and excellent local beer selection

2. N. Third: Love the wings, good variety of beer including draft and in bottles, had Ommegang Saison and a bottle of St Bernardus 12%. Mac and cheese is also good.

3. Tria: (only been to 18th Street location): Small but good beer selection, great wine selection, interesting and delicious food choices, small venue.

4. South Philly Tap Room: Good beer selection, excellent Fried Chicken, Roast Pork Sandwich, and Wild Boar Tacos.

4. Monk's Cafe: Amazing beer selection, food can be excellent, but sometimes appears to be hit or miss. Love mussels (haven't had them for a long time, though). Always seem to be so crowded.

5. McGillian's Olde Ale House: Decent Beer Selection, Decent Food, Great Prices, Free Soup. Great place to warm up on a cold day or night.

6. Stephanie's, Doylestown: Great beer selection, knowledgeable and friendly bartenders, very good grub.

7. Four Dogs: West Chester area: Decent beer choices, very good food, little expensive. Neat venue.

Other bars I have been to in Philly that didn't make the list:

Eulogy: great bar but every time I went it was so crowded I could barely breath. I also went to a sister place but forget the name. It is not far from Eulogy. Seemed pretty cool.
Grey Lodge Pub: Great beer selection, so so food, drove quite a distance out of the way to go here and I was a little disappointed.
McGlinchey's: good cheap dive bar
Khyber: Only been once for a couple of drinks in the afternoon, but I would love to return, good bartender and beer selection.
There is also a bar below South Street on maybe fourth that has a nice selection. About 2 or 3 blocks below South Street, forget the name.

These are the places that come to mind right now. Let me know what you think. On a side note, I did not include Victory because it is a brewery, but their beer is amazing and the food is decent.

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  1. Based only in Philly (and I think you're explanations cover them) and in no particular order:

    1. Standard Tap
    2. Resurrection Ale House -- oh good Lordy their food is awesome. And their beer list. And their bartenders.
    3. South Philly Tap Room
    4. Eulogy
    5. Monk's
    6. Good Dog Bar
    7. Kraftwork -- awesome fries. and flatbread. and sandwiches.
    8. Prohibition-- ok, so I've only sampled a little of the food, but it sounds good AND work on the street it the menu is getting mixed up v. soon

    Tap Room
    10 Palmer Sq E, Princeton, NJ 08542

    1. TJ's in Paoli usually has around 2 dozen beers on tap and the food is decent

      1. I'm not sure I can rank them, but I'd say the best IMO are:

        Royal Tavern
        Pub & Kitchen
        South Philly Tap Room
        Good Dog
        Varga Bar
        Johnny Brenda's
        Standard Tap

        Nostalgically, I'd put Doobie's and Monk's on the list, but it's been a while since I've been to either. I also really want to put Wishing Well on that list, but I'm not sure it's there yet.

        1. sidecar should be on this list- very enjoyable bar food

          1. Good beer selection is a given at any Phila "gastropub" and bars targeting the under 40 crowd in general. Devil's Den stands out as having an above average tap and bottle list combined with great prices, especially at Happy Hour (all drafts half price). Resurrection also has great prices for great beer.

            Overall, South Philly Taproom is #1 for me. Location plays a role but I've had insanely good food there--grilled duck hearts, fried chicken, boar tacos and a pampano filet are among very memorable dishes that could go toe to toe with the best restaurants in the city, at a fraction of the price. Last winter their roasted brussel sprouts blew away any other preparation I had in the city, can't wait to try them again this year.

            After SPTR #2 is probably Royal Tavern for consistently good food. Below #2 it starts to blur, but the good places have been named on this thread. I have had some fantastic meals at Standard Tap in the past (like a mixed grill of game meat) but I've eaten there I think 3 times over the past 12-18 months and have been very underwhelmed. Can any ST lovers reassure me it's worth a visit next time I'm up there?

            Haven't eaten at Monks in a while due to the crowds, service, and a few tepid food experiences--mussels and wings I used to love just didn't have it anymore. I think I remember hearing they got a new chef in there a few months backs; would love to hear a recent report on the food.

            7 Replies
            1. re: barryg

              You had better get down there right now, as they are running a roasted wild striped bass special with a warm potato watercress salad, tossed with olives, oil and lemon juice. Another incredible effort by SPTR, and they have the brussel sprouts.

              1. re: der

                Went on Friday night (that restaurant.com gift cert makes the place a total steal too, when they're 80% off, I think I spent $2 for a $25 gift cert), had snails to start, uh, awesome. buttery, herby, served with toast. Then had the Turkey Mole for dinner (with rice/refried beans and tortillas). Fantastic! Even the rice and beans were good. The rice must have been simmered in chicken stock, so flavorful.

                  1. re: barryg

                    Oh wow, yeah actually:


                    I use coupon code GIVE to get 70% off, does anyone have the code for 80% off?

                    1. re: AgentRed

                      They are 70% off now, if you wait a few days, they'll go to 80% off. It goes in pretty quick cycles. Sign up to get on their email list and they'll let you know. I can post when I get an 80% code. You get a $25 gift certificate, but you have to spend $35 in food to use it. That can be harder to do if you're just getting a couple of burgers, but two entrees and an app will get you there pretty easily (as a couple, it's even easier if you've got a third person).

                      1. re: urbanfabric

                        restaurant.com gift certs are 80% off until Monday, using code PRESENT at Checkout. both SPTR and Good Dog (and Swift Half) are on the site now.

                        1. re: urbanfabric

                          Just printed out my certificate. Thanks!

            2. I compiled addresses and phone numbers for all the places mentioned in the post. Hope it helps you be merry. Tis the season!

              Northern Liberties

              Standard Tap
              901 North 2nd Street
              At Poplar Street
              (215) 238-0630

              North Third
              801 N. 3rd Street
              At Brown Street
              (215) 413-3666


              Johnny Brenda’s
              1201 N. Frankford Ave.
              At Girard Avenue

              541 East Girard Avenue
              At Montgomery Avenue
              (215) 739-1700

              South Philly

              South Philly Tap Room
              1509 Mifflin Street
              West of 15th Street
              (215) 271-7787

              Royal Tavern
              937 East Passyunk Avenue
              Between 6th and 7th Streets
              (215) 389-6694

              Center City

              Monk’s Café
              264 S 16th St.
              Near Spruce St.
              (215) 545-7005

              Tria Café
              123 S. 18th Street
              At Sansom Street
              (215) 972-8742
              Center City Continued

              Tria Cafe
              1137 Spruce Street
              At 12th Street
              (215) 629-9200

              McGillian’s Olde Ale House
              1310 Drury Street
              Just off 13th St. btw Walnut/Chestnut
              (215) 735-5562

              259 S 15th St

              Good Dog Bar
              224 South 15th Street
              (215) 985-9600

              Varga Bar
              941 Spruce Street
              At 10th Street
              (215) 627-5200

              Pub and Kitchen
              1946 Lombard Street
              At 20th Street
              (215) 545-0350

              Prohibition Tap Room
              501 N 13th Street
              Below Spring Garden St.
              (215) 238-1818

              Northeast Philly

              Grey Lodge Pub
              6235 Frankford Avenue
              Near Harbison
              (215) 856-3591

              University City Area

              Resurrection Ale House
              2425 Grays Ferry Avenue
              Past 24th and Catharine
              (215) 735-2202

              Old City

              The Khyber
              56 S. 2nd Street
              Btw. Market and Chestnut

              136 Chestnut Street
              At 2nd Street
              (215) 413-1918

              Surrounding Areas

              Four Dogs Tavern
              1300 W. Strasburg Road
              (In Marshallton)
              West Chester
              (610) 692-4367

              29 South Main Street
              (215) 489-1644

              TJ’s Restaurant and Drinkery
              35 Paoli Plaza
              Just above Lancaster Ave.
              Near Amtrak Station
              (610) 725-0100

              1. the new Khyber Pass Pub is at the top of my list now! the beer selection is killer!

                1. Grey Lodge Pub seems to come up a lot so I made a point of driving up there for lunch. I agree with dfishhead, the food was subpar. I ordered a burger medium; it came well done and it was under seasoned. Beer was good, so wasn't a complete wash but won't go out of my way again.

                  1. No love for Memphis Taproom? I come from just north of the city so it's my go-to place. Easy to get to, easy to park. They always have some interesting deep cuts on tap, tasty food, and the addition of the beer garden in the alley next door is awesome. A selection of microbrews in cans and gourmet hot dogs from a truck.

                    My favorite dishes there are the fried kosher dills, chicken fried chicken, fish and chips, roast pork sandwich, roasted mushroom grinder. The burger is good and so is the Port Richmond platter -- kielbasa, peirogi, potato pancakes.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: sadiefox

                      I hadn't been there when I wrote my list, but I'd definitely put it on there now! I've really had some great meals there, cleaned-my-plate-good. The roast pork sandwich is ridiculously good.

                      1. re: urbanfabric

                        Just went to Memphis Tap Room this past weekend and thought it was amazing, right up there with SPTR. Had the suicide onion rings and the porter braised brisket. Wife had the Heirloom Apple Salad and the smoke coconut club. Excellent beer list, terrific service, and it is always a huge plus when the owner is working his butt off and talking to everyone that enters the establishment. This place is now way up on my list. Any other new places to add to the list?

                        1. re: dfishhead

                          Not new, but not particularly mentioned above... I have enjoyed Kraftwork lately. Had delicious truffled deviled eggs and I really like their burger (choose your own toppings) with onion relish, bacon and a fried egg. Killer beer list.

                          Johnny Brenda's also continues to deliver really great food. Had one of the best bowls of mussels EVER with chorizo. It was a huge portion for about $12 and absolutely delicious.

                    2. It's a tough question because so much of a pub or "gastropub" is personal...do you want a nicer place with a relaxed vibe (Resurrection Ale House, Pub & Kitchen) or are you looking for a dive sort of place with great beer and food (Royal Tavern, Grace Tavern)?

                      Because of my neighborhood, I typically end up at either Varga Bar or Khyber...both are great. Irish Pol is also very underrated. Zero vibe whatsoever but always a great American craft beer lineup. I think they have 18 taps.

                      Also recently began going to Tapestry at 5th and Bainbridge. The selling point of this place for me is that they have a ridiculous beer list (24 taps) but also have a very strong cocktail and wine list for the girlfriend. If you haven't been, I'd highly recommend...a little off the beaten path, but worth it nonetheless.

                      1. A couple I think underrated places we've been to recently:

                        Sidecar- Went for Sunday brunch, beer and bloody Marys. Very good food and great selection of beer. Nice neighborhood bar vibe. I wished I lived near there.

                        Flying Pigs in Malvern- Very good bar food and great selection of beer. A number of Belgians and a separate list of bottle conditioned beers. Neighborhood bar vibe but family friendly too, good service.

                        We have a habit of going to Victory when out in that direction and sometimes Station Taproom. On the Mainline, Teresa's is our favorite. Not so keen on TJ's, Drafting Room or Ron's. Beer selection good at these but food and vibe don't measure up compared to others.

                        1. Wondering why "For Pete's Sake" doesnt get mentioned more often.....they have excellent potato soup, three hummus's daily, specials nightly, often a good roast pork or beef, wonderful burgers and of course their beers. Perhaps the neighborhood regulars don't want to publicize a good thing and get crowded out? Corner of Christian and Front Street....