Philly Beer Trip #5: The Mural Mile
Believe it or not, Philadelphians love their art almost as much as their beer. Our Museum of Art, which many people know from Rocky, is among the largest in the country. Our love of art also extends to the streets thanks to the Mural Arts Program, which has painted over 600 murals on various buildings and walls throughout the city in an effort to combat graffiti. The Mural Arts Program has put together a tour and map of the 17 most famous murals, and what better way to enjoy them than with a few beers sprinkled in between? Just follow their map with a few added detours.
1. Fergie’s Pub
1214 Samson Street
A slightly unassuming bar on a street full of them, Fergie’s has an always-solid draft list as well as a more extensive bottle list. They carry a lot of standard craft beers, but often will go above and beyond to bring an extra rarity or hard-to-find beer to the taps. And if you can’t find something super-rare to have for the first time, you’ll have plenty of old favorites to fall back on. With myriad events to keep you entertained, Fergie’s is always a worthwhile stop. Be sure to swing by during Philly Beer Week as well for their “Totally Unnecessary Drink,” a raucous event during the last hours of the 10-day long festival.
Tria—so named because it specializes in a trio of fermentables (beer, wine, cheese)—is the place to stop for any couple split between and wine lover and a beer lover. It’s also the place to stop if you love great food as well. The beer list is always-changing and always comes up with something interesting. It’s broken down into four sections for your convenience—Invigorating, Friendly, Profound and Extreme—and the one-line descriptions are always helpful.
If you’re driving (which you probably shouldn’t be), Hawthorne’s will be a great stop because not only are they a café with an always-excellent draft selection, they also do growler fills and sell beers by the bottle—over 1,000 of them. If you’re not looking for takeaway bliss, though, grab some food and have a few beers from their taps. This is a place that really gets the beer scene in the city, so you won’t have a problem finding something you’ll really enjoy.
926 South Street
While the Mural Mile curves around this section of South, you’ll probably be hungry by this point if you haven’t eaten at Hawthorne’s. Even if you have, the Supper Dog is not to be missed while in the area. A 100% pork shoulder dog, wrapped in bacon and deep fried, served with kraut, barbeque onions and beer mustard on a housemade bun with buttermilk fried pickles on the side is a must for anyone on a beer pilgrimage. It’s even safe to drink here—their beer list is fledgling, but still has some local favorites. And don’t think the Supper Dog is the only thing worth ordering on the menu—Chef Mitch Prensky knows what he’s doing and he does it well.
5. Brauhaus Schmitz
718 South Street
Near the end of the Mile, there is no better place to end your night than Brauhaus, Philly’s most authentic German bier hall. While they specialize in German beer, they don’t serve it exclusively, giving them the freedom to branch out and bring some solid craft beers into the mix. If you’re still hungry, grab a pretzel—it’s among the best in a city that’s known for them. If you’re still hungry, some of the “New German” cuisine should do you well. Time your visit right and you’re sure to have a blast with the city’s die-hard soccer fans, who tend to congregate at Brauhaus for the Union games. What better way is there to end a quite day of contemplating art than with a bar full of servers in traditional German garb and rowdy soccer hooligans?
Update: As Jessica points out in the comments below, the Mural Arts Program beat me to the punch and actually has its own Ale & Arts tour, either walking ($30) or by trolley ($35). Click on the link for more information.