It was a sad day for many musicians and drinkers in Philadelphia when word came out last October that South Street dive bar/music venue Tritone was to close. Tritone was either an awesome or awful place to grab a drink or see a show, depending on your tastes, the volume of the band, and who was working the door. It was never a dining destination, though drunk food they did fairly well. Sometimes.
But as of tonight (actually as of 4 p.m.), Tritone is long gone, replaced by The Cambridge from Hawthornes’ Chris and Heather Fetfatzes. And if you’re looking for the beat up stage, the disintegrating walls and carpet, and that photo hanging on the wall of a girl puking in a parking lot, you will surely be disappointed.
The Fetfatzes have dramatically transformed the spot from dirty down-and-out dive to sophisticated tavern and moderately priced neighborhood eatery. (After all, Bob & Barbara’s is just across the street for anyone looking for a quintessential Philadelphia dive bar.) There’s enough reclaimed wood to build a yacht, and the backyard is lovely and has a distinct hidden away feeling. Tritone sort of had a backyard, but because it was a noisy music venue, the neighbors complained constantly, and seating out there was frequently restricted.
Whereas Tritone had not a single draft beer, Cambridge has 24 handles, with beers priced from $4.50 to $7. Tritone was always good for a cheap burger, which I’m pretty sure was only $4.50 at one time or another, while Cambridge’s house burger is $10. But the real winner looks like the $13 Porker Burger with its brined hand-ground pork, roasted long hots, broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone, though some may prefer the $15 Cambridge Hall burger featuring dry aged beef, red wine poached pears and brie. The most expensive dish is the bone in lamb shank, topping out at $22.
As for the $3 Pabst-and-Jim Beam “Special” combo that the late former Tritone co-owner and longtime Philadelphia bartender Rick D. created and that Bob & Barbara’s serves a boatload of, that’s not available here anymore. “Bob and Barbara’s already does that really well,” says Chris, who likes to drink the Hammonton Smash, a $10 combination of Hendrick’s gin, simple syrup, lime juice, muddled cucumbers and blueberries, and a bit of mint.
And local bands hoping to get a gig should probably stick with Kung Fu Necktie. While Chris says he will probably book a couple of live music shows a month, he’s happy to be leaving the screaming guitars and irate neighbors in the past.
Cambridge facade and backyard photos by Jason Bartlett