“Back in the saddle again” is more than just an Aerosmith lyric. It’s what looks to become a familiar refrain as I return time and again to Boot & Saddle, the bar from Avram Hornik and Sean Agnew (Morgan’s Pier, Union Transfer) that restores the country-western joint that closed more than 15 years ago into something altogether new that feels like it hasn’t changed in decades. The western paintings remain from the old Boot & Saddle, as do the stamped-tin walls and ceilings. What is new is a bar illuminated by an I-beam lassoed in thick rope, with six Edison-style bulbs hanging down. And then there’s the 150-person-capacity live-music venue behind a soundproof door at the back of the dining area. Even the much-cooler-than-me waitress admitted needing to Google most of the bands, but the vibe is undeniable. During a British punk band’s set, the bar area’s music matched the live band’s energy; on a quiet Tuesday night, the same bar became a welcoming oasis. The beer list is well-curated, with some hard-to-find American craft brews, and while the cocktail lineup was less successful, you should probably just be drinking whiskey here anyway. Plus, George Sabatino has designed the short and vegetarian-friendly menu with all options coming in under $15. So however the night finds you, this Saddle won’t chafe.
Boot & Saddle [Foobooz]
First appeared in the December, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.