Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Lets talk about bar food.


stephenc
 Share

Recommended Posts

first, all of the bars with good draft beer selection have above average food at least.

The ones I've eaten at:

Bishop's Collar, Standard Tap, Fergie's, Nodding Head, Monk's Cafe,

Sassafras Cafe, Black Sheep, Fado, Locust Rendezvous, Doobies, North 3rd,

Rembrandt's, London Grill, Tangiers, Bards, Rose Tattoo

I remember getting basic bar sandwiches and stuff at all of them and being quite happy. Exceptions:

Monk's for sausage sandwiches and mussels

Bards: Irish breakfast or shepard's pie

The ones I've eaten at and think both beer and draft selection are not as good as above:

Locust Bar, Cherry Street Tavern

The ones I've not eaten at, but yet to hear something bad about (both food and drink):

TenStone, New Wave Cafe, Dark Horse Pub

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dark Horse has EXCELLENT food. Was just there a couple of weeks ago and the food was delicious and very reasonably priced. I seriously miss Chef Ben McNamara's cooking at the New Wave. :sad:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ten Stone has very tasty bar food, although all of it is pretty salty. They have great fries. Good burgers, the couple of times I've had them. Quiche of the day was also mighty good the couple of times I've had it--I don't know why quiche isn't bar food more often.

At Tangiers, stick to wings, burgers, and grilled chicken sandwiches.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Katie, also, Black Sheep at 17th & Locust has recently done some kinda consolidation or hookup or something--they now have the same menu as Dark Horse.

Yeah - I kinda knew Ben was running both kitchens. But his Sous Chef or whomever was there cooking the night we had dinner (he was over at Black Sheep that night because I asked to say hi and they told me he wasn't in) clearly executes his menu quite well.

I just met the owners of Ten Stone at a bourbon party last week. Very nice guys and I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've tried the bar food at a number of the places herbacidal listed -- pretty decent overall. I would add Abbaye (had an interesting "cheesesteak" there that consisted of sliced Chimay-marinated steak and gruyere on a roll; also good mac & cheese) and Tavern on Green (good beer list, good burger, good fries).

Standard Tap and Monk's are the places I always find myself returning, though. The chefs at Standard Tap seem to crank up the comfort level in everything they serve -- pork sammich, lamb sammich, duck confit salad, pot pie, boar stew (!!!)... I have not had a bad meal there. Monk's seems a bit less consistent these days (and the prices of mussels have gone up), but the fries are still to die for and the steak frites salad and burgers (the "Ardennes" especially) never disappoint.

And needless to say, these places all have great beer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

McMenamin's in Mt. Airy - great beers, very good bar and more upscale food.

McNally's in Chestnut Hill doesn't get fancy with food and it's smoke free. Try the Schmitter.

My neighborhood's Inn at Penn Valley has an acceptable beer selection (not into micros,) very good food (including upscale things and great soups,) and a very well stocked bar. Nice twist - late night happy hour specials starting at 10.

Regarding the earlier posts, Monk's back bar provides a much better atmosphere than the crowded, smoky front.

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think royal is one of my new favorites. too bad only been there once.

i just like the whole vibe of the place.

i wanna try the schmitter, but have no semblance of an idea when i'll be in chestnut hill.

same for mcmenamin's and mt. airy.

and i met the owners of ten stone at that very same party. imagine that. they are pretty cool. i will find an excuse to drop in sometime.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't add much to the lists already given, except to second the Ten Stone recommendation; went there recently and was entirely impressed. Good burgers, as well as an appetizer menu with items- in particular, their quesadilla- that can easily double as a meal. Plus it's a nice, cozy setup with friendly staff (but only a so-so jukebox, alas.) Plus they have a dart board.

But for the food/beer tag team combo, you can't beat Monk's, can you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overall I'd have to say maybe--I don't understand the consistent rave reviews that Monk's fries get. They're too small, and often not crisp at all. Ten Stone's are more like how I like my fries.

Standard Tap's pork sandwich is a thing of rare beauty. Most of their menu is great stuff, which I might like better than Monk's overall. Their mussels might be my favorites in town.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bar food is my passion, second only to pizza. Here's where I have found the best bar grub:

Standard Tap, 2nd and Poplar, to me, the "standard" against which all others should be judged; very high quality and an ever-changing seasonal menu. The roast pork-provalone sandwich, squid, fried smelts (!) and the burger here set the bar high for bar food anywhere.

McMenamin's Tavern, 7170 Germantown Ave., a much larger menu of both tap beers (17) and food, including outstanding wings, hand breaded chicken tenders, Irish stew and burgers, and then chef Larry Melissen's clever daily menu that is full of surprises, like pumpkin gnocchi in sage cream and beggars purses stuffed with wild mushrooms, Cajun crabcakes and even a petite filet mignon sometimes, and nothing over $16.

There's a reason that there is an hour wait for dinner every night.

The Grey Lodge, 6235 Frankford Ave.and so far they only have 3 things ON the menu, but they are all outstanding: the Magic Mushroom Wrap, a flour tortilla stuffed with fresh mushrooms, scallions and swiss, and baked till crispy, the most perfect beer food item ever created, vesatile with every style of beer made. They also make a pepperoni-provalone version that is gooey fun. And then there is the Tomato Pie a version peculiar to NE Philly, cheese on the bottom, garlicky red sauce on top, on a nondescript pizza shell, but there is something magic about the pizza oven here, and the pizza, at $4.75 (!) is shockingly good.

Johhny Brenda's, Girard and Frankford, the second tappie from the folks that own The Standard Tap (see my post elsewhere here), with a dozen taps, and about a dozen items on the blackboard menu, from a $2 Hummus Plate, to a $3.50 Falafel sandwich, to Grilled Octopus and even Lamb Chops! All executed beautifully from a shiny, new, open kitchen at the end of the bar.

Monk's, if only for the hamburgers, sausage sandwiches (including boudin blanc!) and pots of mussels with frites. The only downside is the tight quarters and the crowds, which can make the wait for a table almost interminable.

The Abbaye, at 3rd and Fairmount, has a very clever menu, including a bunch of vegan dishes and that very clever take on the cheesesteak. Also a very good beer selection from an owner who really cares.

N.3rd, just north of The Abbaye, which very good fried chicken and ribs, as well as superb calamari, salads and fries.

McNally's in Chestnut Hill, just for the Schmitter sandwich and no smoking allowed alone. And a great ale on tap, made only for McNally's by Yards Brewery.

Dawson Street Pub, Dawson above Cresson St., Manayunk. A very good bowl of chili, hand breaded chicken tenders, and a very good, big burger to go with the carefully selected taps of beer.

Copa banana, 4th and South, if only for the hot pepper fries and cheeseburgers; they fall flat with their beer selection for me.

That's my short list. Now I've GOT to get to Ten Stone!

Edited by Rich Pawlak (log)

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and i met the owners of ten stone at that very same party.  imagine that.  they are pretty cool.  i will find an excuse to drop in sometime.

That's because you were hangin' with the happenin' chicks from the Bass! :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ten Stone has good food, and an above average beer selection. Their pulled pork sandwich and brie fondue are the best things on the menu.

I like Nodding head: I normally go there for Sunday lunch. Good burgers and French toast.

Monks is deservedly legendary, but gets sooooo crowded and smokey on Thurs-Sat. The red light mussels are great.

Roosevelts has a three dollar beer and burger special. Nothing special, but damn cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not at Monks or Fergies or Nodding Head or Standard Tap. No TVs there... well there might be one upstairs at Standard Tap, I don't remember.

Ten Stone has TVs, but they're usually on sports. Same with Tangier, same with Copa. Royal has a TV but it's not always on; when it is, it's on sports in my experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, Nodding Head does have TVs. Sports are usually on, or at least have been whenever I've been there.

Edit: There's no TV at Standard Tap, I can confirm that. They do have scrabble and trivial pursuit, though, and other board games, I think.

Edited by gabe (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

oh, duh, you're right, of course.  I was picturing around the bar area, rather than over on the wall where they are.

Out of sight, out of mind :smile:

I like to concentrate on my beer/food most of the time, unless I go to a bar specifically to watch a game, in which case places with zillions of TVs are great. Sunday afternoons in a place like Cavanaugh's (39th & Sansom) -- time well spent.

But usually the lack of TVs at a bar counts on the plus side for me -- hence my enduring S.T./Monk's/Fergie's love.

One place that hasn't been mentioned, and which has somewhat atypical "bar food" in addition to wonderful, wonderful beer is Ludwig's Garten (13th & Sansom). Delicious products of the Reinheitsgebot, a coupla wonderful sausages, onion tarts and sauerkraut. Spaetzle. And cute St. Pauli Girl waitress outfits, if you're into that.

Edit: addresses added

Edited by gabe (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

God, I love the Standard Tap! Their beet salad is delicious and beautiful, a revelation. Everything else I've had their has been great as well. One thing I don't like about the Tap though is that sometimes they play the jukebox too loud. For some reason, to me, this place has a cozy Eastern-European feel to me. It makes me want to go back to Prague.

My bf and I frequent Monk's most often. I do like their burgers and sandwiches. I don't like seafood, so that takes out about 1/4 of their menu for me (the mussels selection). Honestly, I'm not a huge beer fan, either. But, I am adventurous and will occasionally try something from their bible. Their are a few that I like. Monk's Sour Ale is my latest fave. Have you noticed they changed their frites recently? Not quite a seasoned, and cut alittle thicker. Still really good, though.

Red Light mussels is what BF gets, unless he gets a pork sandwich. He is also partial to Hoegarten mimosas at Sunday brunch. By the way, Sunday afternoon is a good time to go to Monk's if you don't want a long wait for a table.

Last night I went to The Abbaye for the 1st time. It was very good. I was impressed with mostly everything about it, except their macaroni and cheese. I was expecting something creamy, hot (temperature-wise) and al-dente, or at least not mushy. A small portion was served spread out in a big, shallow bowl, allowing it to cool quickly. It was not creamy, but gummy and mushy. Kinda like my or my mother's attempts at making mac-n-cheese (sorry, Mom!). The panko chicken fingers were great. And I love those mixed green salads. I sampled my boyfriend's crabcake sandwich, which I liked b/c it didn't taste too much like crab. As I said, I don't like seafood, so to me this is a good crabcake. Seafood afficianadoes may think otherwise. I also had a little taste of their soup du jour: cream of celery. It was an unexpected choice for a soup du jour. I think it was the 1st time I'd heard of a restaurant serving it. I tasted mostly garlic with a celery undertone. Perfectly fine! I liked it alot.

The Abbaye was sort of Belgian-ish, so it reminded me of Monk's, but it was more open, and less smokey and crowded. Also, their cigarette machine was very cool, and I don't even smoke.

I'm looking forward to trying Il Cantuccio (?) across the street from The Abbaye.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
By the way, I don't really consider the places I wrote about to be bars. To me, they are restaurants with bars. :smile:

why not? bars can have good food.

il cantuccio is pretty good. and cheap.

it's like a more modern mr. martino's.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

popped in at tenstone last night.

can't say the burger was salty, but the fries definitely were.

the burger was too big for the bun though.

at the end, i was eating an open faced burger.

regardless, good place, with good bartenders and good staff in general.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...