I had the opportunity last night to check out the new Flying Fish Crafthouse and its atmosphere, the bar, and the food. Flying Fish's beer list is the cornerstone of the bar menu and the licensed namesake for the Crafthouse. Expect to see at least a dozen Flying Fish core brands in addition to three that are claimed to either be exclusive to the Brewerytown location or only available also at the brewery in Somerdale, NJ.
Five other beer taps are planned to be dedicated to other local breweries. Operations Manager, Sean Kelly, mentioned breweries such as Bar Hygge, Crime & Punishment, Evil Genius as examples of a few small brewery local options he envisions on tap. Perhaps not so coincidentally, my night concluded with a visit to Crime & Punishment (only six blocks away and, by taste, appearing to be doing quite well since my last visit during CBC, but I'll save that for another post) where owner/brewer Mike Wambold discussed his enthusiasm for more great beer in Brewerytown as well as confirmed talks to get his beer on tap at the Crafthouse.
Also, plans call for one rose, two red, and two white wines to be on tap as well as one featured cocktail. No handpumped beer as of now — however, count on special firkin and other events to develop in time — and no plans (nor licensing currently) in the foreseeable future to be brewing on site.
From the food menu samples last night, the Philly Porchetta Sandwich is a standout, appropriately complete with a attention-grabbing long hot pepper and the Smokey Brisket Sandwich impresses with tender beef, coleslaw, and a Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel au jus.
The ownership forces behind the concept (in which, by the way, Flying Fish has no ownership interest) include locals Dana Spain (of PAWS, real estate, and other ventures) and Chef Brian Duffy (of Bar Rescue fame), who has immediately stamped his trademark - "Duffified" - on everything from the menu to apparel.
The ownership group has ties to The Fairmount @ Brewerytown residential property that sits overhead. The building was converted from the former Acme distribution warehouse, which itself has vestiges in the form of re-used wall signs around the interior. The Crafthouse occupies a good portion of the first floor, has a communal seating beer garden, rollup garage-style windows and a streetside patio, and has room for live music.
The ambitious plan I referred to earlier calls for an additional four Flying Fish Crafthouse locations in the city proper in the next five years. While a second location has not been announced, the general Chinatown area is dicussed as a likely contender. Flying Fish will have exclusivity on all of them. Nice to see the sustained growth, and now increased visibility, for the nearly perennial award-wining Flying Fish brand over the last nine years.
When I used to live in Fairmount, there wasn't much worthwhile to speak of for going north of Girard Avenue. That's been changing in recent years, nowhere more rapidly than in the Brewerytown neighborhood.
(Apologies for the quick and scattered dump of notes here and the mediocre pictures which seem to be thanks to a failing phone/camera. Nonetheless, hope you enjoy.)
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