Once a little-known South Philly thoroughfare, Passyunk Ave. is now home to the city’s trendiest bar and restaurant scene.
While the famed cheesesteak rivals Pat’s and Geno’s have long been the marquee players of this South Philly neighborhood, in recent years, Passyunk Ave. (pronounced “pash-yunk” by the initiated) has become a hotspot for Philly’s bar and restaurant scene. It’s even been named one of the 10 Best Foodie Streets in America by Food and Wine.
With new bars and restaurants popping up every few months, Draught Lines hit the street and compiled a short list of our favorite beer-centric haunts. We’ve included the newest Passyunk establishments, as well as some tried-and-true standbys, so you can fashion your own pub crawl.
What better place to start our crawl than The Garage, which is located right where the Italian Market meets East Passyunk Ave. “We feel like we belong to two different neighborhoods and we love that,” says manager Angelica Preso. What was once an old auto body shop was transformed six years ago into a neighborhood watering hole. “It’s not a fake aesthetic. This place really was a car garage. It was probably never meant to be a bar, but we turned it into a space with one of the largest canned beer selections in the city!”
Why we like it: Killer hang spot with pool tables, skee ball and more. Possibly the largest canned beer menu in all of Philly and a food cart offers unique dishes from new chefs, week to week. You can also BYOF (bring your own food)!
The Pub on Passyunk East
The P.O.P.E. for short, was an institution on East Passyunk well before the foodie boom. This relaxed beer bar is oozing with character and offers simple, savory fare in a cozy and comfortable atmosphere. “We’ve been around forever,” says manager John Warner. “That’s because what we do, we do well. We have great beer, killer food and we’re laid back. It sounds simple, but it keeps people coming back.”
Why we like it: One of the original pubs of Passyunk, The P.O.P.E. serves some of the best wings you’ll find in Philly. And the old school atmosphere is second to none.
The Bottle Shop
Passyunk Ave. has some of the best BYOs in the city. But no trip to Izumi or Laurel would be complete without first stopping at The Bottle Shop, East Passyunk’s go-to craft beer takeout store. Founded by two Temple business school grads, The Bottle Shop has called Passyunk Ave. home for eight years. “When we were looking for a place, we knew we wanted to be on Passyunk,” explains co-owner Michele Aquino. “It was up-and-coming at the time, but we saw the potential. I grew up in South Philly. My dad had a business two blocks away, so we knew this would make a great home.” With six taps and a wide variety of craft beers available, you can stop in for a pint or create a mix-a-six for your dinner date. “We’re unlike any other bar in the area. We like to say that the vibe in here is like a coffee shop, only with beer.”
Why we like it: Your one-stop BYO shop. And for all you non-beer drinkers, The Bottle Shop offers one of the widest selections of ciders and seltzers in South Philly.
Bing Bing Dim Sum
Down the block from The Bottle Shop sits another East Passyunk establishment that’s rather hard to categorize. Bing Bing is an acclaimed dim sum restaurant that’s also a casual, hip hangout spot. The food straddles the line between authentic and wildly original. Manager Michael Mongiello says that’s exactly how they like it. “The mantra is, ‘informed by tradition, but not bound by it’. Our menu includes stuff like Mapo Tofu and Duck Wonton Noodle Soup, which is similar to what you’d eat in Hong Kong. But we also do weird stuff that we just make up. Cheesesteak Bao Buns are almost like a cheesesteak donut. And our Caterpillar Bread is something you can’t get anywhere else.”
Why we like it: Some of the best food Passyunk has to offer, in a chill and laid-back environment. Who doesn’t want a cheesesteak donut? Happy hour every day of the week.
Sure, there are a ton of hip and trendy eateries on Passyunk Ave., but thankfully there are still great neighborhood bars like Stogie Joe’s. This local haunt is there for you on those nights when you just want a pint of cold beer, good pizza and a place to watch the game. Opened by the Leuzzi family in 2008, Stogie Joe’s is Philly through and through, and hosts some of the most eclectic events in town – including Doo Wop car shows, Tuesday crab nights and live jazz & swing music.
Why we like it: Because sometimes you just need some authentic Philly pub grub. Beer bucket specials change week to week. Outdoor seating right on Passyunk Ave.
Pistolas Del Sur
Near the very end of East Passyunk is one of the neighborhood’s newest bars, owned by some familiar faces. Pistolas Del Sur carries on the Pistolas tradition by offering delicious Mexican food alongside a killer beer list. Co-owner Adam Anderson knew bringing the Pistolas brand to Passyunk would be the perfect move. “This area is just exploding, and we were excited to be part of that,” says Anderson. “It’s such a great community. When someone comes out on a Friday night, I’m not expecting them to come here and sit at the bar for eight hours. I want them to come here and have a good time – but then I want them to go up the street and see all the other things that Passyunk has to offer. It’s a special place.”
Why we like it: The draught list always offers the best beer from Philly’s local breweries. Sunday brunch features live acoustic music and food specials. The braised short rib tacos are to die for.