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New Owners Bring Deep-South Philly's Taproom on 19th Up to Date

 
Just as Cook and Shaker rose to the occasion to tend to the nourishment needs of the city’s hip-wardly mobile who’ve begun settling in Kensington, Taproom on 19th is ready to serve the faction of informed urban trailblazers who are migrating in the opposite direction to colonize the Girard Estates section of South Philly. 
 
As per usual in such cases, the neighborhood tappy has been pouring beers and frying bar grub at the corner of 19th and Ritner for as long as anyone can remember. But more recently, Michael Strauss and Pete Fry, two lifelong friends who ate and drank their way through the majority of the city’s bars and restaurants while pipe-dreaming about launching their own venture, took over. And although little more than a solid top-to-bottom cleaning and fresh coat of paint has altered the bar’s appearance, the food and drink regimen has undergone a substantial transformation. 
 
Craft and local beers now flow exclusively from Taproom on 19th’s 12 draft lines. An extensive list of bottles and cans runs the gamut from PBR and High Life to Belgians and limited edition large formats. They aim to please every category of drinker from snooty beer snobs to Joe Six-Packs. 
 
Rest assured, the bar offers a version of Philly’s obligatory citywide special. Here it’s dubbed the Dangerfield and comes in the form of a pint of Lord Chesterfield and a shot of Heaven Hill bourbon for $5. Another house special, the Bartender’s Handshake, presents guests with a shot of Fernet Branca for $6. 
 
Preliminary cocktails include 24k, Bourbon, Elderflower, Lemon; Sweet Smoke, Scotch, Honey, Ginger; New Fashioned, Bourbon, Carpano Antica, Luxardo, and bitters; and Mexican Wild Fire, tequila, honey, lime, cassis, and spice. Additional cocktails are currently in the works.
 
Gastropub ace, Jennifer Choplin, whose resume includes stints at SoWe, Resurrection Ale House and Bistrot La Minette, runs the kitchen, turning out an inspired selection of what she describes as “upscale comfort stoner food,” which ranges from nachos al pastor and caramelized pork belly bites to a La Frieda lamb burger and fish and chips. Be sure to ask about specials and semi-secret off-menu dishes. 
 
Downstairs the cozy bar seats 16, while tables and booths offer an additional 12 to 16 guests a place to sit. Two TVs over the bar ensure that no one misses a minute of Eagles' games while enjoying Sunday brunch. The second floor, which can accomodate as many as 30, will host live acoustic music on weekends. It’s also available for private parties.
 
Taproom on 19th, 2400 S 19th St (at Ritner), 267-687-7817
 
Photo: Drink Philly

 


Tags: Beer, brunch, Cocktails, Food, Music, Wine
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