As the city’s tourism has increased, so has the interest in moving to Philly. Over the last decade, real estate developers have taken advantage of this, spurring rapid change and gentrification.
Several of the neighborhoods now experiencing rapid development, like Fishtown, Kensington and parts of South Philadelphia, had the same general demographics during the 20th century: working-class families.
Now, these neighborhoods are attracting out-of-towners. Tourists often flock to bars near Girard and Frankford avenues in Fishtown on the weekends.
According to a May 2016 report from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the percentage of residents in professional occupations in Fishtown increased from 30 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2014. The share of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree also more than tripled in one section of Fishtown and more than doubled in the other.
The juxtaposition of the old and the new in neighborhoods like this one can be shocking at times. While reporting on Les and Doreen’s Happy Tap, a narrow, red-brick corner bar where the architecture has remained generally the same for the last 50 years or so, I noticed a looming church that has been converted into a modern home and a photography studio only a few doors away.
In some ways, it’s up to local businesses in gentrifying neighborhoods to maintain a space for longtime residents. Places like Les and Doreen’s Happy Tap do just that by keeping prices affordable, but also bringing in popular craft beer.
In this year’s Bar Guide, we take a look at changing neighborhoods and how local bars blend the old with the new while remaining mainstays in their communities.