Gastropubs on Thursday/Friday night
I'm heading into Philly for a couple of days next week and I was thinking about exploring the different gastropubs for food and beer. My one concern around dinner time, especially in Center City, is that these places are all a bit small and don't really take reservations. I was specifically wondering about Khyber Pass Pub and the Resurrection Ale House. For lunch I'm free to roam the city and plan on hitting Birra, Royal Taven and/or the Memphis Taproom. I've gone to Standard Tap, North Third and Prohibition Taproom in the past and enjoyed them all. However, my wife will be at a conference during the day and doesn't really want to stray too far from our hotel/Center City for dinner.
Will we have a long wait on a Thursday or Friday night at those two places or other Center City gastropubs? Any help is greatly appreciated.
If it's just two if you, I wouldn't worry about it. Any wait should be pretty short.
For me, South Philly Taproom is still the gastropub to beat, with Royal Tavern in second. SPTR is good for lunch but much better for dinner when you can order off the specials menu. It's outside Center City not really any harder to get to than Resurrection.
BTW SPTR often tweets their specials with photos, especially on the weekend: http://twitter.com/#!/sptaproom
Not a gastropub (their food is just ok) but Farmers Cabinet on Walnut is a unique beer experience even in a great beer town like Philly. They specialize in unique craft beer (on draft) from places like Scandinavia, Italy, Ireland, beers you'll be hard pressed to find on tap anywhere else in Philly (and maybe in the country). They offer their own house brewed beers as well which are made with the same adventurousness as the other beers. Had a mind-blowing experience there new years eve. They do 1/2 pours so you can sample many of their offerings.
If you're willing to travel out a bit (30 min drive from center city, rush hour traffic aside), I'd hit up Theresa's Next Door in Wayne. Their beer selection is nearly beyond reproach and the food is excellent. My appetizer recommendation would be the Neanderthal- roasted bone marrow with an apricots and capers.
I have been to Khyber a few times and enjoy the warm atmosphere. Much of the food is carefully-made and they have a lovingly-edited beer list and interesting specials. FYI, the menu is quite sandwich-heavy (some seem to like their sandwiches, some not). The wait here is not atrocious.
Have you been to Monk's Cafe? It's one of the better-known gastropubs with an extensive beer list, solid frites and mussels, and amazing desserts. It's always pretty crowded, though, but might not be as bad if you arrive earlier on.
If you can, try go to Khyber on Thursday, rather than Friday. Fridays have been pretty busy lately; and while you can squeeze into the bar area and wait for a table if necessary, it would just be easier on a Thursday.
I'm a huge fan of Devil's Den and South Philly Tap Room. Both are cozy and serve good food and beer.