Stopped by London Grill (2301 Fairmount Ave.) last week to eyeball the room they're unveiling as Paris Wine Bar next Thursday, Feb. 9.
Accessible via both London's 23rd Street entrance and a dedicated door on Fairmount, the Paris space was most recently an insurance office; before this, it was London Grill Next Door, a coffeeshop owner Terry Berch McNally operated until 2009. Now, McNally and beverage manager Cristina Tessaro have brought in a state-of-the-art MicroMatic draft system (above) for their specialized, new-to-Philly concept — a bar pouring a kegged selection of wines strictly from Pennsylvania.
Last Thursday, City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown heartened herself to Philadelphia barflies, night owls and don't-wanna-go-homers by introducing The Extended Bar Hours for Education Bill, which proposes that last call at local drinkeries be pushed back one hour, from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., for the budgetary benefit of our struggling School District. The 10 percent taxation of alcohol raised approximately $42 million for schools in the 2010 fiscal year; Brown, Council's newly elected Majority Whip, estimates this idea could generate $5 million more.
The bill is in its infancy — it would still have to earn approval within the State General Assembly for City Hall to gain the authority to tweak bar operating hours, which are lorded over by the PLCB. But like anything in Philly involving the word "liquor," it's already garnered strong reactions. (Mayor Nutter, for one, is not a fan of Brown's proposal, per The Inquirer.) We touched base with Councilwoman Brown late last week to get some background on her bill and her honest take on its chances in Harrisburg.
Way back in September we noted that Mike Naessens of Eulogy (136 Chestnut St.) was taking over the nearby Old City Asian Bistro (206 Market St.) for a Chinese/German restaurant called Tsingtau Lokal. Naessens tells Meal Ticket that he's quite close with the unique project, which now boasts a new name: Bierstube Tsingtau. The publican believes the use of "bierstube" — quite simply, the German term for tavern or pub — should help folks better wrap their heads around the concept, inspired by the antebellum Teutonic occupation of Qingdao in the early 20th century.
Got a note last night about a last-minute-of-sorts Russian River event at Memphis Taproom (2331 E. Cumberland St.) for today. When Memph opens at 11:30 a.m., they'll have a total of five of the cult California brewery's beers on tap: Pliny the Elder (double IPA), Blind Pig (IPA), Damnation (golden ale), Supplication (sour cherry brown ale aged in Pinot Noir barrels) and Consecration (sour black currant dark ale aged in Cab barrels). No word on an appearance of the sought-after Pliny the Younger, the top-ranked beer known to cure chronic diseases and develop superpowers in children.
UPDATE [11:55 p.m.]: Memphis co-owner Leigh Maida checks in with word that they're planning a Pliny the Younger-based beer dinner for this April (!). More on this in the near future.
The awesomely named Iron Fist Brewing Co. makes its grand debut in the Philly market tonight via the bestial 24-beer draft system at Tapestry (700 S. Fifth St.). The San Diego-based brewery will introduce five of their Belgian-influenced beers — a dubbel, a Belgian strong, a double IPA, a Belgian IPA and an American imperial stout — and will be accompanied by choices from Californicated peers like 50/50, Ballast Point and North Coast. Peep a few highlights of the evening's lineup below.
Iron Fist Dubbel Fisted — Belgian Dubbel — 8.1%
Iron Fist Golden Age — Belgian Strong Pale Ale — 9.5%
Iron Fist Gauntlet — Double IPA — 9.5%
Iron Fist Velvet Glove — American Imperial Stout — 9.0%
Iron Fist Uprising — Belgian IPA — 12.0%
50/50 Brewing Totality (Only Keg in Philly) — Imperial Stout — 10.0%
Ballast Point Sculpin — American IPA — 7.0%
Ballast Point Navigator (Brandy Barrel Aged) — Doppelbock — 8.0%
Ballast Point Sextant (Bourbon Barrel Aged) — Oatmeal Stout — 5.2%
Ballast Point 3 Sheets (Brandy Barrel Aged) — American Barleywine — 9.0%
North Coast Old Rasputin (Nitro) — Russian Imperial Stout — 9.0%
WHERE YOU AT? Open for a year, 2nd Street Brew House occupies the unassuming corner of Second and Morris, which gets more traffic from sedans on their way to Target than pedestrians hunting for food and drink. I came across them trolling Twitter (you do it too, right?!). My friends and I made it there on a Wednesday and settled into a table in the back, next to the Ms. Pac-Man machine. When I realized that I couldn't beat anyone at that, I suggested we play darts.
WHAT’S THE SCENE? We essentially had the back part of the bar to our selves, save for a few loners who were curled up with their beers and Kindles. Curling up is easy at Brew House since they have upholstered chairs throughout the place. These, plus the low lighting, contribute to the overall warmth of the place. Bartender Logan was awesome, working with my friend for 10 minutes to help her find a beer she'd like on tap. Eventually she ordered the Southern Tier Creme Brulee, which tastes more like dessert than beer; I got a Founders Dirty Bastard, which I loved.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? The Brew House's happy-hour specials run seven days a week from 4 to 6 p.m. — half-price select drafts, half off the entire food menu (tots!), $2 domestic bottles/cans and $4 Citywides. My sole criticism of the Brew House is that they offered only five of their dozen drafts on special when I visited, but I hear that number is fluctuating as the bar finds its happy-hour stride. Altogether, the ambience, staff, food and prices are on point. If I lived anywhere in the vicinity, this bar would definitely be my go-to. For now, it's a regular fixture on my HHH circuit — I was back two days later.
Tonight marks the very first High Gravity of 2012 at The Sidecar (2201 Christian St.). The evening, which comes around once a month, sees the G-Ho beer bar populating its taps with nothing but big-ABV strong bold beefy beers. Highlights on January's lineup, which you can check out after the jump (click to enlarge), include Bell's Sparkling (sooo ill), 21st Amendment's Allies Win the War and oak-aged Pumking from Southern Tier. Good excuse to peep their new second floor (above). Chef Brian Lofink's also rolled out a tweaked winter menu, with new dishes like veggie shepherd's pie, shrimp and grits and grilled hanger steak with creamy kale.
Got our hands on a pair of tickets to this weekend's Big Ass Beer Fest, which'll bring together 50+ high-ABV beers (think imperial, think barleywines, think doubletriplequadruple IPAs) this Saturday at Starlight Ballroom (460 N. Ninth St.). You want? All you need to do: Between right now and noon tomorrow, January 17, leave a ONE-SENTENCE COMMENT on this post convincing us why we should give these tix to you. We'll select our fave response and toss the tix — $45 in advance, $55 day-of — your way. Best of luck.
UPDATE [3:45 p.m.]: Congrats to Meal Ticket commenter emilyk, who pulls the tix with this response: "Desperately chasing BrewDog Sink the Bismarck dragon, stuck in agonizing black hole of ABV-quest-fruitlessness — please send help ASAP (aka two tickets to this weekend's Big Ass Beer Fest)." You got it chief. Happy dragon-chasing!
Beverage manager Phoebe Esmon introduced a new winter cocktail menu at The Farmers' Cabinet (1113 Walnut St.) the other day, its aim "lascivious pleasing" — every drink on the list, peepable in PDF format here, is accompanied by passages from various Shakespearean works, and you do not have to murk your older brother the Duke of Clarence, stab King Duncan in his sleep or poke Claudius with a poisoned blade to enjoy them. (2012 is the year we all stop committing regicide.) The ever-scholastic Esmon doesn't mind getting her hands dirty, either; every from-scratch element in the drinks, from Champagne shrubs and red wine syrups to cinnamon drams and green pepper jelly, was made by her (right). Throw a couple back and commence nose-painting.
Photo: Phoebe Esmon
West Philly's Fiume (229 S. 45th St., second floor) is presenting an excellently boozy event this holiday season: their second annual Whiskey Week, which kicked off Dec. 30 and runs through this Sunday Jan. 11. The cozy, living-room-size bar is currently stocking 100 types of whiskey, with a heavy focus on bourbon and rye. Though you can try anything you want neat, on the rocks or in a flight (prices range between $4 and $60), Kevin James Holland, the man behind it all, will also be mixing specialty cocktails, including the Holland Tunnel, his take on a Manhattan. "[The idea] was really just an excuse to turn Fiume into my dream bar for 10 days," says Holland. Look out for bottles like 18-year Sazerac Rye, Tuthilltown Manhattan rye and baby bourbon and Hirsch Small Batch, rarities that will be specially poured for the duration.
UPDATE [3:30 p.m.]: Holland checks in with news that he's extending Whiskey Week through this coming Wednesday, Jan. 11.
- barstool scientist
- Brew Revue
- Chef Salad
- Dirty Dishes
- Don't Front
- Eat This Immediately
- Field Trip
- Food and Art
- Food and Holidays
- Food and Movies
- Food and Music
- Food and Politics
- Food and Sports
- Food and Web
- Food Blogs
- Food Books
- Food Events
- Food News
- Food TV
- Happy Hour Hopper
- In Print
- Meal Ticket
- Menu Time
- Not So Quickfire
- Notes from the Weekend
- On Wheels
- Patio Drinking
- Philly Beer Week 2010
- Private Chef POV
- Product Placement
- Snack Time
- Stiff Drank
- Ticket Stubs
- Top Chef
- Weekly Candy
- Weird Regional Foods
- We're Here to Help
- Where'd We Eat?
- Drew Lazor's Ill-Advised Rant Factory
- Ill-Advised Ranting
- The Week Without Meat
- Philly Beer Week 2009
- Real Big
- Where'd I Eat Last Night?
- Top Chef Masters
- The Good Word
- Next Iron Chef
- Arterial Terrorism
- Food and Radio