Spirit Cruises Summer 2019 Leaderboard

Drink American at Stateside on East Passyunk

At Stateside in South Philly, a stool at the bar is undoubtedly the best seat in the house. Just opened last month at the corner of East Passyunk and Greenwich, this 40-seat new American sports an unorthodox design – instead of being tucked in the back corner or along an entryway wall, the bar takes center stage. Patrons along the concrete-topped spread can gaze past their bartender and people-watch or daydream, thanks to huge windows on both sides of the corner property.

What guests may enjoy even more is the exclusively domestic selection of beverages. All spirits, beer and wine served at the small are made in the U.S.A. Ten taps offer a rotating selection of brews from around the country, abetted by another 10 in bottles and a trio of large-format gets. Though the current wine list is small (about a dozen in total), it has recently been updated and is a continuing work in progress, general manager Anthony Gualtieri tells us.

It’s the cocktail program from bar manager Jenn Conley that has us most excited, though. While there are some limitations presented by the restrictions on foreign liquor (for example, Stateside does not carry any tequila, which by definition is made in Mexico), the whiskey selection is impressive and the specialty drinks well-crafted. Cocktails are also eminently affordable, hovering around $8 each.

For example, the classic (and Philadelphia-originating) Clover Club is an exquisitely delicate but punch-packing combination of Bluecoat Gin, house-made grenadine (none of that sickly-sweet, red-dyed syrup), fresh lemon juice and a frothed up egg white. The Avenue takes ginger-infused Jim Beam Rye and tweaks it further with housemade vermouth (as most store brands hail from France), served over ice and topped with matchstick-cut fresh ginger. A new creation is the winter-appropriate Hot Buttered Rye, with hot cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and spice warming up Wild Turkey 101, topped with fresh whipped cream.

In the kitchen is chef George Sabatino, formerly at Marcie Turney’s Midtown Village hotspot Barbuzzo, and his food is the inspiration for the quality, care and craftsmanship of the beverages. Most of the menu is small plates, prime for sharing, with only a few large entrees in the mix. Pickles go for $4 per order, and are housemade from creative options like beets, fennel with butternut squash or cucumbers and celery root. Pair them with a $4 order of local artisan cheese, or supplement them with a composed dish like housemade duck sausage, beer-braised beef cheeks, or rabbit rillettes ($8–$13).

As the weather warms, bar seats will be even more fun, with the windows thrown wide, and seating in general will double, thanks to sidewalk tables. Owned by the same crew as brunch stop Green Eggs Cafe, Stateside does not serve lunch, but is open daily 5 PM–2 AM.

1536 East Passyunk Ave.; 215-551-2500
 

Photos by Danya Henninger

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