Friday, October 28, 2011

Philly's (and surrounding areas) Best Bars

I'm not generally moved one way or another by Best and Worst Of lists. Unless there's such a stupefyingly crazy inclusion or exclusion, I tend to take them with a grain or two of salt and a chuckle. They tend to be fun and sometimes open my eyes to something I've neglected over time.

Philadelphia Magazine compiled and released its 85 Best Bars earlier this week.

My western Philly suburbs fared well, I suppose, particularly given that it was Philly's best bars, but that's another matter. Teresa's Next Door, McKenzie Brew House, Flying Pig, Victory, and Pickering Creek Inn all wound up on one of the sub-category lists.

Following are some random interesting observations of mine. Of course, my observations about these "best bars" in their various categories will drift toward those with a better beer bent.

In the Best Craft Beer Bars category, of the best craft beer bars to drink at, the Tom Peters/Fergie Carey family did well, placing Monk's, Grace, and Belgian Café as three of the twelve best.

Pineville Tavern, one of the best? I had no clue, but from the looks of things, I might like to get one.

Silk City. Now there's a good tip. I've spent enough late nights and early mornings there, but none since they upped their craft beer cred. Will need to rectify that soon and see what's what.

Ah, and the St. Pauli Girl reference with regard to Brauhaus Schmitz. Fun, perhaps unnecessary, and I suppose they could have done worse.

Neighborhood Haunts: one of my favorite type of bars. Just a few doors away from Brauhaus Schmitz is Percy Street Barbecue. If I had a can of beer for everytime I've swung and missed in my attempt to finally get to Percy Street, I'd probably have as many six-packs of cans as they stock at this fun barbecue joint on South Street.

In the Best Gastropubs division, I scratched my head a bit over Flying Pig being categorized as such and lumped in with some of the city's best and Teresa's Next Door in Wayne. A fun spot and very convincing city-like corner neighborhood pub/joint. But, did they confuse The Spotted Pig in NYC (often referred to as the country's first gastropub) with our local Malvern joint? I wouldn't have thought so ;-)

And, Coco's. Oh no, really? I can remember stopping by Coco's when I worked in the Old City area 10-15 years ago. "Dive-gone-gastropub", eh? I definitley recall the dive-y part of that equation. Sounds like it might be worth peeking around the corner from Chifa next time.

In the Best Cocktail Bars category, I can't pass up the chance to point out the comment about The Farmers’ Cabinet that I've heard variations of since they've opened earlier this year from more than just a few customers and industry folk alike. "It’s one of the strangest and most amazing places to have a drink in Philly right now." Or, as I explained to an inquiring beer geek recently, "you have to go and experience it to understand it and, even then, you might have to go back again to make sure you understood what you saw the first time".

Last, but certainly not least, the Dive Bar bucket of best bars. If you've been to McGlinchey's before, you've got to love the comment. And even though I never have and still don't smoke, many of you know where I stand on this issue of smoking bans. (And, no, it still does not make me a liberatarian....nor a librarian!) "The waitstaff here is surly as hell—and sometimes that’s exactly what we want to be around. Also, it doesn’t hurt that you can smoke inside, because it makes the place feel like an actual bar rather than some fake, politically correct appletini theme park."

In other rankings-related news, Philly gets mixed reviews at Travel + Leisure.

The sun may now continue to revolve around the Earth ;-)

As soon as this debate dies down, you can be sure that Foobooz' annual Top 50 Bars will whip up its own angst-filled fervor.

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