In case you missed some of TTN’s favorite bar picks in the Bar Guide, check out this list of some of the city’s bars in terms of the draft beer options.
Philadelphians love beer – especially good beer.
This probably goes without saying, since one can pretty much throw a rock and hit a good beer bar in this town. Even hole-in-the-wall dives sometimes carry a surprising assortment of imported bottles.
Similarly, many bars keep a great deal more than just the old reliables on tap. To make a complete list of bars with good draught selections, this story would need a lot more space on this page, and a lot more time for “research.”
So it’s important to remember that this is not a ranking. It’s not a discussion of the bars that probably come to mind with the mention of a great draught selection, such as Standard Tap, Belgian Cafe, Monk’s and the South Philly Taproom. Instead, it’s a list of a few excellent bars worth going to, for those who appreciate good beer.
501 N. 13th St.
Don’t let the no-man’s land location fool you. The interior, and name, of the bar bring to mind an old time saloon – but not in a gimmicky way. This small gastropub is tasteful through and through. The staff is friendly and unpretentious, despite being knowledgeable beer snobs.
As for the draught list, they usually keep eight or nine beers on tap, which rotate frequently. At the time of this publication, the selection includes Ommegang, Dogfish Head, Lost Abbey and Free Will, but by the time you read this, it will probably be totally different. On Sundays it has BYOV (Bring Your Own Vinyl), and play awesome music all night. Win.
The Farmer’s Cabinet
1113 Walnut St.
Don’t you hate it when you want to drink Shakespeare-themed cocktails but you can’t find a fancy enough barn to drink them in? Yeah, me too. Until I discovered the Farmer’s Cabinet. And besides having probably the best cocktails ever, the beer selection is also intriguing.
“All of our beers are unique,” said the bartender, Joe. “They come from small breweries all over Europe and the United States. Sometimes we’ll have the only keg of a certain beer in the U.S.” But for those who really want to experience this beautiful bar, go on a weeknight when it’s not crowded. On the weekend, its dead Center City location guarantees there will be hoards of bros grunting loudly about stuff and mainline girls getting too drunk in too-high heels.
1148 S. 11th St.
This South Philly standard boasts around 17 draught beers, none of which include the word “lite.” Right now some of the draught beers are Maredsous, Bear Republic, Blue Point and Flying Fish. This is probably the most casual of all the bars on the list, and for those who live in the area, it could easily become a regular spot. The bar’s happy hour is worth a South Philly trip: From 5-7 p.m., all draughts are half off. I’ll have another $6 – I mean $3 – double IPA, please.
Eulogy Belgian Tavern
136 Chestnut St.
First of all, this place is the self-proclaimed “beer heaven,” which is probably true. They have a monstrous five-page bottle menu, with brews from all across the world. Unlike other bars in the same vein, Eulogy has a relaxed, homey atmosphere that actually does recall corner pubs in Belgium or France.
“We get a lot of beers that other bars don’t get,” said Chris, a server who has worked at Eulogy for more than four years. “We take beer very seriously, and we’ve been around for nine years, which is like an eternity in [Old City], where bars are opening and closing all the time.” They also have a killer food menu. The burgers and belgian frites are definitely worth a trip back for.
4333 Spruce St.
If, for whatever reason, you happen to find yourself in the wild west of the city, definitely check out Local 44. It’s owned by the same people that own the Memphis Taproom in Fishtown and Resurrection Ale House in South Philly, which are also great bars. Local 44 is just far enough west that you won’t see a ton of Penn students, but not too far west that you’ll want to give up before you get there. They have more than 15 beers on draught, including St. Bernardus, Great Divide, Fullers and Stone. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed, and the food is excellent. I’m still thinking about the vegetarian Reuben I had.
541 E. Girard Ave.
My love for this bar is as deep as my love for beer and french fries, forming a perfect trifecta of love in my deep fried, beer-stained heart. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but they do have a ton of amazing beer, and great fries. With 24 beers on tap and a food menu that pays homage to the old industrial days in Fishtown. Pretzel bite fondu and perogies, anyone? Kraftwork is a hip, but down to Earth, spot. They also have a late night happy hour, 11 p.m.- 2 a.m.
The list could go on and on, and doesn’t even mention other places with great selections like Grace Tavern, Khyber Pass, Nodding Head or Johnny Brenda’s. Philadelphia is a beer lover’s paradise, so it would be impossible to include them all. But, c’est la vie. On to bigger and better beers.
Annabelle Buck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.