Philadelphia’s beer scene rivals Portland’s. The market here is fed by an excellent selection of regional breweries and a network of high-end beer bars that attract rarer beers for distribution.
Philadelphia is also a city of neighborhoods, each with its own beer bar(s). Over the past couple decades, new bars have become the clubhouses of emerging neighborhoods, luring creatives and seeding gentrification. Here are ten of Philadelphia’s best beer bars.
South Philadelphia Tap Room (STPR)
South Philly is about so much more than Rocky. Grab a barrel chair and pull up to a cozy table in this popular nightspot. The pub grub and brunch menu speak to the new South Philly crowd, and the chalkboard list of regional taps and exotics will inspire you.1509 Mifflin St., http://southphiladelphiataproom.com/
The Bottle Shop
Located in artsy East Passyunk, the Bottle Shop offers a vast array of locals, imports, and the best of the east and west coasts. The shop hosts regular tastings and offers beers of the month, ciders, and wine. Stop for happy hour and take away a growler.1616 E Passyunk Ave., https://bottleshopbeer.com/
For the sophisticate, this Center City standard curates a rotating list of domestic craft beers and rare imports from Italy, Scandinavia, and other unexpected places. They also have impressive wine and cheese lists. Their well-trained staff can recommend cheese pairings with their wide range of drink options.
Multiple locations: 1137 Spruce St., 123 S 18th St., Taproom at 2005 Walnut St., https://www.triaphilly.com/
Before Pennsylvania liberalized its liquor laws, this neighborhood bodega became one of the first great bottle shops in Philadelphia, a destination for beer geeks in the 90s. They have ridden a rising tide of beer geekery and expanded to multiple locations, more stylish spaces with seating.
Multiple locations include 1710 Sansom St. and 324 S 10th St., http://www.fooderybeer.com/
Founded at the height of Belgian beer and frite craze, this Center City standard has stayed relevant by importing the best beers, sourcing a broad range of locals, and contract brewing its own sour ale in Belgium. It offers good food and multiple Belgian beers on tap, plus an encyclopedic bottle list, plus beer dinners and visiting brewer events.
264 S 16th St., http://www.monkscafe.com/
On the edge of Midtown Village, this central watering hole purveys a broad range of styles with knowledgeable staff to guide you. They also offer a Collaboration Series, partnering with the best local breweries, like Tired Hands and Yards, to make exclusive small-batch beers for their bar and restaurant.
216 S 11th St., http://www.strangelovesbeerbar.com/
Founded by the former brewer from Heavyweight, Bar Hygge is as cozy and welcoming as its name implies. This Fairmount brewpub offers excellent housemade beers, plus numerous guest taps that demonstrate the owner’s insider status and friendships at places like Victory. Look for rare Philadelphia beers here.
1720 Fairmount Ave., http://www.barhygge.com/
One of Philadelphia’s first gastropubs, Standard Tap remains highly regarded for its local food and all-local beer list. An anchor of the Northern Liberties scene (which features excellent nightlife), this is a great place to discover new and emerging Pennsylvania breweries.
2nd & Poplar Streets, http://www.standardtap.com/food.html
Further north in Fishtown, the epicenter of hipster culture, Johnny Brenda’s features a dozen taps, all local, plus two hand pumps. This is a great place to educate yourself on the local brewing scene, and you can grab dinner and catch a live show in their old school concert hall!
1201 Frankford Ave., https://www.johnnybrendas.com/
Far-flung in the Northeast, this pub offers a rich slice of life and a legendary beer menu. Aside from a prodigious tap and bottle list, the pub hosts brewer events and special keg tappings of aged and rare beers. Esquire Magazine has named Grey Lodge one of the best beer bars in America, and it is easy to see why.
6235 Frankford Ave., http://www.greylodge.com/
Enjoy Philadelphia’s beer landscape, and be sure to talk to your bartender, as there’s always something new to discover. Cheers!