Alla Spina Is Now Open

Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina (meaning “from the tap”) opens tonight on Mt. Vernon Street, just off of Broad Street and next door to Stephen Starr’s Route 6. Vetri’s take on an Italian bar is very much about the fun but that’s not to say there isn’t serious food on the menu here.

The Space

  • The Alla Spina space is designed to look like a big garage.
  • Even the front windows raise like garage doors.
  • Inside the space is decorated with by graffiti artist Dave “Distort” Sol.
  • Above the U-shaped bar is Alex, a mounted pig complete with leg warmers.
  • Behind the bar is the walk-in storage, on top of which is a couple tables with a great view of the whole space.
  • Dining bar provides a peek into the bustling open kitchen.
  • Banquettes line one wall, while tables sit directly in front of the big doors.

The Bar Food at Alla Spina

  • Pork is a big deal here.
  • So is fried foods.
  • Here are some highlights:
    • Housemade pretzel with spicy beer cheese
    • Pig tails fennel agrodolce
    • Lasagna verde alla bolognese
    • Mortadella hotdog with spicy pickles and cabbage relish
    • Pig pot pie
    • Maple glazed fried chicken with fries
  • Alla Spina Dinner Menu (PDF)
  • Alla Spina Dessert Menu (PDF)

The Beer, Wine and Cocktails at Alla Spina

  • 20 beers on tap, plus two on cask.
  • Majority of the beers are local with other American, Italian, Belgian and German beers making up the tap list.
  • Victory is brewing Novello, a Belgian-style blonde brewed with Goldon Monkey yeast exclusively for Alla Spina.
  • Daily flight specials are listed on the chalkboard.
  • 50 varieties of beer are also available by bottle or can.
  • It is definitely about the beer at Alla Spina, just three wines by the glass are available.
  • Two of the wines offered are on tap.
  • A selection of cocktails are also available.
  • Alla Spina Drinks Menu (PDF)

Ode to the Publican

Buy the kitchen a sixpack for $10 and you can ring the big bell.

Video Walkthrough of Alla Spina

Alla Spina
1410 Mt. Vernon Street
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  • Steve

    “F” this place! $5 for a 12 OUNCE draft of Yard’s Brawler? $7 for a bottle of Yard’s Washington? I’ll try their food maybe and then go drink at Prohibition Tap Room or The Institute or St. Stephen’s Green or any other good beer bar with fair prices

    • Danielle


  • huh

    An Italian bar with only three wines by the glass? Come on Vetri, fix that, mamma mia !

  • barryg

    All of the Vetri places are so overpriced. The food does sound good though…

  • FattyFatMan

    Amis isn’t overpriced.

    It’s very easy to go there have a couple plates of pasta, a couple appetizers and a couple glasses of wine for less than $100.

    Similar quality food can’t be had in DC Boston or NY for a lower price point.

    Osteria is at a higher price point, but again, I think for the quality of the food and service it is reasonable.

    I really don’t get the general hostility to places marking up alcohol a couple bucks if the space and service are a notch up. If you don’t want to spend a few dollars more for the service, space, and food, you’re free not to.

    I love all of the BYOBs and neighborhood bars serving great beer and food in Philadelphia, but it’s nice to have options besides the dark hole that is Prohibition Tap Room. Philly’s restaurant and bar scene needs to be a little more diverse.

  • The Agoraphobe

    So what are the odds there will be a line out the door and zero chances of getting a table?

  • The Agoraphobe

    Oh wow they’re actually taking reservations and tables are available at non-ridiculous hours (8-9pm gone, 9.15pm open)

  • Steve

    “I really don’t get the general hostility to places marking up alcohol a couple bucks if the space and service are a notch up. If you don’t want to spend a few dollars more for the service, space, and food, you’re free not to.”

    I will gladly pay more money on food that is well prepared and served….but I refuse to pay 30-50 % more on a beer that can be enjoyed somewhere else simply because it’s a Vetri employee opening the bottle.

  • FattyFatMan

    @ Steve

    Most restaurants that offer higher-end service and a nicer space make their money off alcohol mark ups, not the food. It’s not a rip off, it’s just the business model.

    You can very easily pay more for entrees in better BYOBs than you can at a Vetri or Garces restaurant because with the latter the food is a loss leader for the alcohol. At BYOBs the space usually sucks and the service is iffy. One way or another you have to pay for what you get.

  • barryg

    I understand how the business model works, but I don’t agree that the overall experience matches up to the price at many of these places. Vetri and Garces open places as “casual” experiences and still you can barely walk out without spending $100 per couple because of the small plates menu and alcohol markups. I understand about atmosphere but these restaurants are presented as casual with the atmosphere and decor to match. I don’t like being crammed into loud, tiny spaces (Amis), forced to listen to rock music (Amis, Distrito, Alla Spina) or sit on a high top in a cafe (Garces Trading Co) while paying those prices. There are very few BYOBs with an average food check greater than Amis but you feel like you are eating in one.

  • barryg

    And add Village Whiskey to the list of expensive “casual” restaurants. Not that I blame these guys for exploiting a market but you’re paying $15+ for cheeseburger (w/o fries) and $5 for 12-oz pours of Kenzinger (that’s $6.60 a pint) for the pleasure of cramming into a booth or getting elbowed at the bar… that’s not “higher-end service and a nicer space,” @FattyFatMan

  • FattyFatMan

    @ barryg

    I disagree – the Garces and Vetri restaurants you mention feature high-end cooking in a casual setting. That’s just dining in 2012. Even if the food is high-quality, the setting is going to be casual because that’s what diners want. But at the same time there is nothing casual about the work that goes into the food – it is very well prepared.

    I love Philly’s BYOBs – Pumpkin, Kanella, Fond, Bibou, the Farm and the Fisherman, Little Fish – but for two people it’s rare to get out of those places for less than $100 as well. Plus they all have small, cramped, extremely noisy, elbow to elbow dining rooms. And usually its 2 waiters running around for the entire room.

    Amis feels positively luxurious next to any of those places. For me, it’s a neighborhood restaurant. I’ll go on a Tuesday when it’s not crowded – we’ll order two plates of pasta a couple first courses and have a few glasses of wine and usually it comes out a little bit over $100. Pretty similar in price to a dinner at Fond when include a $15 bottle of wine.

    Look, I get that spending $100 on bar food and a few drinks isn’t for everyone. Most nights it’s not for me. You can have dinner at Bibou for that. But that’s kind of the point – Philly has about a dozen amazing BYOBs and two dozen excellent, relatively inexpensive bars with great beer and bar food.

    Having a few places like Tashan or alla Spina isn’t a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean that what Philly does better than any city in the US – offer a spectacular dinner for around $50 a person – is going anywhere.

  • Food Phan

    I feel dumber after reading these comments. I thought this was Vetri’s version of an Italian Beer Hall, in fact the working name was Birreria wasnt it? That means a place to hang and drink. I dont think hanging & drinking jive with the current alcohol price point.

  • diParma

    I mostly agree with FattyFatMan. For what it offers, Alla Spina is an awesome addition to this city. You know the food will be great. I can’t wait to check this place out, high alcohol prices or not!

  • Leonard P.

    I am glad to live in a city where people like Vetri open places like this. But honestly, $8 for a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is most certainly meant to keep away all but the most well-healed. Other than the really nice selection of Italian craft beers (which, due to their limited production definitely warrant higher prices) there is nothing on this menu that excites me at all. I mean, mortadella as some sort of fine cuisine? I remember my great uncles, sitting around in the garage with their 3-days-unwashed wife-beaters on, jabbering in Italian all day, and eating this fat-blobbed bologna by the hunk. Come on.

  • Well balanced

    Why not try something unique that you can’t get anywhere else? Remember you’re eating at a Vetri restaurant so treat yourself to something special. They probably price the more common beers high so you can justify making the jump.

  • RalphBubb

    I’m new to Philly, so I don’t know neighborhoods very well yet, what do people think of this location for upscale cuisine? Is it no man’s land or an indication of good things to come? Route 6 didn’t exactly win me over, Alla Spina seems much more exciting.

  • barryg

    @Food Phan, that’s what annoys me about Vetri… Amis is not the “super-casual neighborhood trattoria” it was originally billed as and this is not an Italian tavern. These are expensive restaurants you need a reservation to get a table at. And 12 oz pours to hide the absurd beer prices, this practice needs to end.

  • brian

    Village Whiskey serves 12oz pours of Kenzinger?

  • Leonard P.

    Everyone should note that the menu at the Alla Spina site indicates “10 oz. drafts”, hence my $8 Sierra Nevada reference.

    I agree with the questions about the ‘casual, neighborhood tavern.’ You don’t need reservations for a place like that (unless it’s a large party). So, shouldn’t these places be a little bit more accessible and a doesn’t-take-reservations type of place?

  • FattyFatMan

    You can go to a good neighborhood bar/restaurant that has great beer and for two people eat some food have a few drinks and it’s going to be $70 or $80.

    Increasing the price point on beer by $1 or $2 doesn’t really increase the total that substantially and I don’t think it prices people out. I’m sure you can get out of alla Spina having a few drinks each and quite a bit to eat for $100.

    Is it worth the extra $20 or $30? That depends on the individual diner. Look I love Royal Tavern, Old Eagle Tavern, Good Dog, Pub and Kitchen, Monk’s, etc, but they’re not that much cheaper. And I’m happy to have something in the city that is a bit different in terms of genre.

    Alla Spina is not for everyone all the time (I prefer Monk’s because its a block from my apartment) but it’s a nice addition to the city, and not having gone yet seems reasonable overall for price in terms of quality given what Vetri’s usual standards are.

    With regards to Amis, I’m glad they take reservations, because otherwise it would be a shit show on weekends (which I don’t go there on).

  • barryg

    I didn’t realize the pours at Alla Spina were only 10oz. That means the only draft on the menu less than $8/pint is Yards Brawler and a pint of Pikeland Pils is $9.60. I understand about restaurant alcohol pricing but how do you not feel ripped off after spending nearly $20 on two beers and are barely buzzed?

    @Brian, yes the pours are not pints at VW… I thought they were 12oz but after seeing AS doing 10oz pours maybe they are 10oz at VW too, they seemed awfully small.

  • barryg

    @Fatty, Royal Tavern and Good Dog are not much cheaper? Give me a break. A cheeseburger and fries at VW runs you $20 vs $11 at Royal Tavern or Good Dog.

    I was drinking $6 full pints of rare Boulder Brewing Co beer at Good Dog last night. Let’s say that is comparable to Lost Abby Devotion at Alla Spina… that’s $11.20 a pint there. The cost difference adds up very quickly, it’s not just a couple of bucks when the pours are 10oz.

  • FattyFatMan

    The menu says the pours are 12 oz.

    A pint of Pikeland Pils would run you $6. The other domestic beers run about $6.50.

    Of course the more exotic Italian imports cost more.

    You could have 3 pints of beer ($20), two bar snacks ($10-12), and a pasta $15 and be at around $50 before tax and tip.

    Again, I don’t think that is that exorbitant. A few beers at Monk’s will run the same. Add a couple food items and you’re near $40.

    Good Dog same thing – get the burger and something else it comes to $20. 3 pints of beer will come to close to $20.

    The point is, the pricing really isn’t that offensive. Again, without having gone there, it seems like they’re doing something different (the food seems like it’s on a much higher level than most bars) and the price point really isn’t that much worse.

    Again, with the food, there is one thing on the menu that is more than $16.

  • Rojjah

    The FooBooz link above says 12 oz, but the AllaSpinaPhilly site says 10 oz.

    Either way, FattyFats has a point. Wife and I rarely get out of Standard Tap, Kraftwork, or Blind Pig for under $65-75 (inc. tip). Although, that usually includes about 3 pints each. While I like each of those places, I gotta believe Vetri’s food is gonna be at least a little bit better.

  • The Agoraphobe

    I think what it really comes down to is… Alla Spina was pretty meh. I much preferred the small plates offered at Stateside and even Ela. AS was by no means bad, and by no means extravagantly expensive compared to the aforementioned places, but there wasn’t a single dish that justified this much rhetoric.

    And also, the interior has a serious case of ADD – there’s a large TV playing soccer on one graffiti-covered wall which I guess is supposed to be the ‘lounge’ area but it was empty almost the entire night and really kills the atmosphere. Who would chill with a beer and the game at this place? Yuppie Brahs?