Philadelphia  Area 

tom@americantom.com

 

The crown. The mark of royalty. This symbol denotes a tavern with an overall excellence that exceeds the norm.

 The foamy mug marks a specific  feature that is noteworthy.

Normally when a bar goes out of business the location will never again house a tavern. Often the liquor license is sold to a distant entity.  The phoenix marks pubs that have defied the odds and reopened after having been silenced.

Not every pub that says its Irish is Irish but the ones that are and the ones that have great St Patrick's Day events will be identified with this brand.

The screw. The sign of gross injustice or disservice.  AmericanTom believes that people go to their local watering hole to escape their day to day grind and troubles.  In a way, servers and barkeeps are like actors - orchestrating a great play whose cast are their customers. Some of the things that can generate a screw are: great disparity between how regulars and visitors are treated, rudeness or utter incompetence.

Most businesses have a neutral attitude toward motorcyclists.   The HD logo marks taverns that openly welcome those who arrive on scooters.

Inflation sucks. It sucks away your buying power.  If you can still buy a beer for one dollar - you will see this sign.

Seafood is a class of food all by itself.  Clams have little competition - few foods are better when done well and few foods can cause more problems when improperly served. See the clam next to a bar's name and it shows where tasty clams have been enjoyed!

I like Reading, PA. In spite of being Pennsylvania's most dangerous city there are a lot of cool things to do here. One of the best is that "our" beer is back. You can have your big, national (and often foreign-owned) brands.        I  am happy that Old Gus has come home!  Taverns serving this delicious brew will have this icon.

Have a cold one on the deck!

COYLE'S CAFE
6080 Ridge Ave   Philadelphia  PA   19128   215-487-9914

 

FINNEGANS WAKE
3rd & Spring Streets   Philadelphia   PA   19123   215-574-9317
www.finnigans.com

<3-2005> I really have to be impressed with a tavern's write-up to include it here. Mainly because this is MY page and I like seeing my witty remarks in print but also because any pub owner with half a brain isn't going to tell the truth if his place sucks. But, Finnigan's info was so neat that I had to list it all here. I can't wait to get down to Philly and check this place out.

"Finnigan's Wake became so popular so fast that it is hard to remember a time when it did not grace the City of Brotherly Love. We hear tell that Benjamin Franklin himself originated the idea of an authentic Irish pub in the environs of Northern Liberties, where immigrants from the Emerald Island settled once those pesky Brits were dealt with. Leave it up to Old Ben to roll out the welcome mat, but what would you expect from a man who said "Beer is living proof that God loves us", who discovered electricity, etc. etc. The third floor catering hall is named after Benjamin Franklin, which is graced with a beautiful view of the bridge that bears his name.

The Second floor of Finnigan's Wake is our Civil War floor dedicated to both the Irish 69th Brigade and Abraham Lincoln, and is home to the famed "Lincoln Doors." After the President was assassinated, his body was transported to Philadelphia to lie in state at Independence Hall. That night his body was kept in a Northern Liberties funeral parlor, and the doors from that establishment has been made a part of our second floor, the "Lincoln Level." There are several portraits of the N.Y. 69th Brigade, the "Irish Brigade" which suffered tremendous casualties during the Civil War.

All Irish bands in Greater Philadelphia want to play in the Quiet Man's Pub, which is chock full of mementoes from that great movie. Even the great Maureen O'Hara herself loves the pub and can reminisce for hours about the movie and her co-star, John Wayne. The Pub also contains invaluable antiques from the"Dicken's Village" which was a major attraction at Strawbridges during the Christmas Season.

Some claim that Finnigan's is haunted and that items, particularly keys, disappear routinely. It may be Old Abe, it may be the late Mr. Finnigan himself, or any one of the thousands buried in Standard Caskets! Come and ghost hunt for yourself.

The famous and infamous, the old and young, the legends and want-to-be's, musical standard bearers and the up-and-coming bands of the future, all flock to Finnigan's Wake. You name it: The Wolfetones, Cranberries, Thin Lizzy, Clancy Brothers, The Irish Tenors, Lords of the Dance, Violent Femmes, the Nerds, Smokin' Joe Frazier, members of the Flyers and Sixers all have been spotted in Finnigans. The closing party of the Republican National Convention of 2000 was at Finnigans!"

<6-2007> I finally got th e chance to stop at Finnegans Wake after Jimmy Buffett's appearance in Camden. I really like the fake outside as well as the old oiled wood floors and exposed tin and wood ceilings. I can definitely see the potential this place has when they have a lively Irish band rocking the house.

After $7 "Landshark Lagers" I took the bait and drank the $2 Miller Lite bottle special.

Both barkeeps were stocky males as were all but one of the customers (male, didn't assess the stockiness of the clientele).

I would love to return during an event.

 

JOHNNY BRENDA'S
1201 North Franklin Ave  Philadelphia, PA.  19125  215-739-9684
http://johnnybrendas.com

KELLIAN'S TAVERN
4333 Spruce Street,  Philadelphia, PA.  19104  215-222-4188
18S  0482045   4422534

 

  

<2-19-04> Nice corner bar not far from PCOM.  Definitely a pub-feel in this narrow building.  Apparently its been around for a long time and has gone through several forms of bar.  Ordered a steak sandwich which was pretty good.  Being in a hurry to get home, we didn't stay long.  Would return to enjoy one of the numerous Irish imports they had (or maybe just a Y-Lager).

 

KILDARE'S MANAYUNK
4417 Main Street   Manayunk  PA  19127  215-482-7242

   

McGILLIN's OLD ALE HOUSE
1310 Drury Street   Philadelphia   PA   19107         215-735-5562

   

 

<2-2006>  Founded in 1831, McGillin's is the oldest pub in Philly. That makes me wonder what happened to all the others ones that existed for the decades before that.  Civilization has grown up all around this pub and parking is a major burden. The only viable option is to park in a garage and pay whatever rate those pirates are asking.

 

PADDY'S OLDE CITY PUB
228 Race Street(Olde City)   Philadelphia   PA   19106    215-627-3532

     

ABOVE:    1: Wooden sign hanging from the ceiling - decal says "Strip Search The Queen"          2: There is a caribou under there somewhere      3: Barmaid Meghan looking pretty Irish in spite of her claim that she isn't       4: It's not every day you see a girl getting spanked by a Dutch Attorney!

<3-2005>  Being from a small town of 750 people,  my default assumption about center city pubs is that they are all places where people suck down Martini's while wearing expensive clothing.  I have traveled enough to know this is not true but its still stuck in my head.

After leaving the Ted Nugent concert at the nearby Trocadero we stopped in at Paddy's.  The facade was simple but inviting (although one uppity online tavern page described it as "run down").

Paddy's is small but busy. The huge ceiling-mounted Irish flag sign dominates the interior - no British flags to be seen here.

In spite of denying even a single drop of Irish blood, barmaid Meghan looked the part. She was funny and involved and one of  the increasingly rare creatures known by the scientific name "great bartender".

Only a few customers were sitting by their beers but they were as friendly as could be. Hello to Erica who I would classify as a hippie and to the couple from Holland who were concluding their holiday to the America's.

Plenty of good redneck music filled the jukebox and somehow a couple of rounds of girls spanking girls got underway.  An interesting way to spend a Tuesday evening!

I will return to Paddy's. It is worth the drive.

STANDARD TAP
2nd & Poplar Streets   Philadelphia   PA   19123   215-238-0630
http://www.standardtap.com