Is their a clear winner among these pubs?
Single diner staying at Penn's Landing for one night:
Internet research found these candidates:
3) Khyber Pass
Excellent food and two draft beers for under $40
Not to nuts crowd-wise.
Comfortable eat-at bar.
Triumph is a brew pub and a bit of a meat market. Beer ok food overpriced. I prefer the New Hope or Princeton outlets of this chain.
Eulogy is a Monks wantabee. Uneven belgian food, and a very good beer selection.
Sassafras have not eaten there. Ok beer list. Old time feel. My one complaint is they call Verenike Mongolian when in fact the word is Russian and the dumpling is a standard part of Russian cuisine. If they are making a Mongolian dumpling and using a Russian word I don't understand why.. if they are making Russian dumplings, call them Russian.
Khyber Pass - Food is Cajun inspired, has a great set of vegan vegetarian offerings too, Very good selection of craft beers. Ambience is a bit wanting but the food is hands down better than Eulogy and Triumph. If just for the food, I would go to Khyber hands down.
Khyber Pass is one of the city's two best gastropubs, go there. I've never eaten at Sassafras though, only had beers.
Khyber may be the best out of the 4, but in my eyes is extremely overrated. While it does have a stellar rotating tap list, the food is mostly all fried and not too tasteful, at least for my palate. Down the road is the Race Street Cafe which has a pretty chill vibe and a good tap list.
I will go a little bit afield of your list, but I think that Pizzeria Stella may be a good fit for your criteria. It's still relatively close to Penn's Landing, and you should be able to get out of there for $40 easy. Decent draft list, not going to blow your mind, but it won't be the same taps you'll find at Applebee's. I am recommending somewhere I've never been, which is always risky, but I have gotten good reviews from several close friends with good taste that I trust. Maybe others on the board could weigh in. Unfortunately I don't do a ton of dining in that part of town. But I figured it's always good to throw a counter-point into the mix.
For your needs, I would put Sassafras at the top. I had an excellent burger there and the beer list is short but solid. Relaxed vibe too. It's the only place I would probably go to by myself.
I would list Triumph as a decent second. Eulogy is amazing for Belgian beer, but the food has fallen way off, and Khyber is just too loud. It used to be the best rock n roll bar, and I think it still wants to be that. It's just not a comfortable place.
We tend to go to beer-centric places too but recently went to Amada, a mere few steps from the above places. Excellent food, service, comfortable eat-at bar. There will be a handful of decent beers but we ended up with pitchers of very good sangrias. I would think you could have a couple beers and food for $40.
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and suggestions. No surprise that there is no consensus. I think I'll give Sassafras a try. Will let you know what I thought.