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Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Black Door in Philadelphia, PA
Listen up! We now have a beer destination in the South Street area of Philly! With all due respect to Dark Horse (nee Dickens), Artful Dodger, Mako's, Quincy's, Cheers to You, O'Neals, Bridget Foy's, Manny Browns, Abilene's, and others, The Black Door provides beer lovers a single reason to head to the South Street area. Sure, South Street has had its ups and downs and changes over the past decade. It's hard sometimes to tell whether South Street will continue to carry the "vibe" that it once used to. But, for the time being, head over to 2nd and Bainbridge, sit down and enjoy the scene, the TVs, and the beer. Hopefully, they have established a bar (no pun intended ;-) by which future businesses around South Street will measure themselves.
As a bit of history, according to an article in the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, The Black Door's inspiration comes from a black door that they unearthed during renovations that they believe may be a part of the original Underground Railroad. There's also a tower, which I thought may actually be something like a hearth's chimney for cooking. It seems like an interesting history to the location that I wouldn't mind discussing with the owner next time I'm there.
When you enter the establishment from the corner you can go up to a small bar upstairs or to the two bottom levels where there's an even smaller bar. Scattered around these three floors are tables at which to sit, eat, and drink. And, there's never a flatscreen plasma TV far from any table.
You might be able to tell from these comments that my only gripe about this place is the amount of space. Basically, if you don't have a seat at a bar or a table, it's a rather awkward place to just be standing around drinking because of the limited space. But, let's assume that you've secured a seat and now read on..... I've been here twice now and the beer list has basically not changed within the month. There are 5 draft beers and a plethora :) of bottled beers from which to choose. I didn't have the energy to either memorize or try to write down all of the quality beers from the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, and Belgium.....so I took a picture.
This was the third time in the past month that I had Young's on tap, which makes me wonder if they've signed with a regional distributor and making are making a bigger marketing push in this region. In any case, their Oatmeal Stout, the Chimay, and the DeKoninck all lived up to expectations for pouring, presentation, and taste.
The staff is not extremely friendly or forward, but as long as the beer comes out in a timely fashion, tasting fresh, and presented appropriately, I won't complain. They also have a food menu specializing in reasonably-priced fare that satisfies your bar munchies.
As in past reviews, I'll mention that the restrooms are tasteful, clean, and ...... shall we say interesting? Basically, it's a unisex common sink area with individual male/female stalls. Nothing fancy, but it serves its purpose without offending. The message here is you're looking for an easy-going, quality beer drinking location south of Old City, check out The Black Door. You'll be glad you did.