Philadelphia Review Part 3: Why Not Start With the Best?

I had originally saved the best for last, however, I don’t have time to finish my other two posts, and frankly, this one is the tastiest anyway.  I’m sure you’ll catch up when you read the other two posts (that of course I will have to post in reverse order) but the short story is that my friend Nikki and I traveled up to Philly for a few days because we had tickets to see U2 in concert.  Alas, the concert was canceled but we went on the trip anyway.  We are both looking forward to going again next year to visit some old haunts and see those fine Irishmen in action.

Beer was another important component of our trip, and we hit a lot of different joints while we were in town.  On the first night, we stopped by the Nodding Head Brewery, and enjoyed a pint while playing thier trivia game.  I really liked their Ich Bein Ein Berlinerweisse (very sour but delicious) and Nikki enjoyed the 60 Shilling, which was also quite tasty.  The trivia was a blast and starts at 8:30 pm on Sundays, definitely a great way to chill before the work week.  Plus, the guy reading the questions has a great accent, so that just adds to the fun.  The next day we did a pub crawl that began with a flight at the Triumph Brewery, which was spectacular.  I truly enjoyed the Cream Stout, which might be the only time in my life that you’ll hear that phrase, but my favorite was the Saison, which was this wonderful, flowery wheat beer that left me wanting more, but too tipsy from the flight to have another.  Oh my gosh, it was amazing.  The flight was $10, but worth every stinking penny as the glasses were full and all the beers were spectacular!  We staggered over to City Tavern to enjoy some old fashioned beer that had been enjoyed by our founding fathers.  Nikki loved the George Washington Porter, and I enjoyed the Thomas Jefferson Tavern ale, but I wasn’t enamored with it.  It was good, but nothing like the beers I’d enjoyed at Nodding Head and Triumph.

The rest of our pub crawl wasn’t as spectacular as the aformentioned stops, but we did enjoy the heck out of the city.   Here they are in chronological order.

Nick’s Roast Beef (Olde City):  While “famous” for their roast beef, I drunkenly wolfed down their mozzarella sticks and felt like crap for much of the evening.  That might have had a lot to do with not chewing.  Nikki liked the roast beef and enjoyed her Yuengling.  I was smart enough to get some ginger ale since I needed a beer break.

Oyster House (Sansom Street): 
Buck-a-shuck was a great deal and Nikki had never had raw oysters.  These were delicious!  The atmosphere was great, the price was right, and the beer was…eh.  To keep it local we had a PBC Kenzinger, which was great for $3 Happy Hour, but in general, I didn’t enjoy it.  I still wasn’t feeling great from the Mozz sticks though.
Happy Rooster (Sansom Street):  If I hadn’t been feeling so bad, this place would have definitely morphed into the Elated Cock or other such nonsense, but instead, I forced myself to down a bottled beer (though I made Nikki drink most of it during a rousing game of “spin the quarter”).  The fact that a place in Rittenhouse square doesn’t have beer on tap made it super disappointing, but we were already seated and I wasn’t going to go all high and right because they didn’t have a keg.  The beer was gross, but I can’t remember what it was, so I can’t help you avoid it.

Ladder 15 (Sansom Street):  We really loved Sansom Street, both in the Rittenhouse Square section and the “gay district”.  Ladder 15 was right next to Nodding Head, and had a nice, open, Firehouse atmosphere (without the hot firemen).  As a shoutout to Kalamazoo, Nikki and I got Bells Oberon, which was pretty darned good.  I was finally feeling a bit better so my mood improved ten-fold at this place.  This definitely seemed like a nice place to hang after the work day for a pint or three and I hope to return.  The menu looked great but we were done eating at that point.  Great options!

Chris’ Jazz Café (Sansom Street): This was a pretty cool place.  A lady on the street basically called us in with promises of cheap beer and good music so we popped a squat on barstools and enjoyed the atmosphere.  The jazz music was great, but the stage was in the back so we weren’t really engaged with the band.  The bartender was great and while I can’t remember the first beer we got, he gave us a sample of the Ommegang Hennepin which was spectacular.  I really liked that beer, but we just had a taste after our other semi-forgettable beer and headed back out into the rain.  I would recommend this place for a date night out, and it was a great quick stop on our pub crawl, but the music is the focus (obviously) and we were in drinking mode.

El Vez (Sansom &13th):  This place was AWESOME, but extremely loud.  I will definitely be returning here on my next Philly trip and I’m pretty sure Nikki is in agreement.  The place was hopping (and don’t forget, this was a Monday night) and we had a short wait to get a table, but it was well worth it.  We ordered drinks (Nikki got a Pineapple Canella and I had a Pink Cadillac margarita) and the Cesar Chavez guacamole.  Can you say “to die for”?  The drinks were spectacular and the guacamole was…well, mouth-wateringly extraordinary.  The depth of flavor was amazing, and the basil and balsamic added a fantastic bite to the guacamole.  While it was a pretty pricey (the guac was $15!) than some of the other establishments we went to, it was well worth the price as the quality was amazing and not just because we’d been drinking.

All in all, our pub crawl was a success.  We only have about 350 days until our next one!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chantelle @ photo mommy
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 10:16:32

    Looks like you guys had fun! I saw all the pics Nikki put on FB.


  2. Nikki Miller
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 17:40:45

    Babe, you should have been a journalist! LOVE the post about the pub crawl! Hope you don’t mind, but I’m posting a link to it on my Facebook account so my friends and family can read about our adventure. I had a blast, and wouldn’t have done the trip any differently! (Well….U2 would have been the sweet, sweet icing on that Tastykake! But the trip was still amazing!) You (and Mircea!) are an AMAZING host and friend. Thanks so much for opening your hearts and home to me! 🙂 Can’t wait to see you both again!


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