About Last Night: What Do You Mean You People Have Never Seen Barfly?

bartenders-940

No, seriously. It is a great goddamn movie–probably the single drinkiest film ever, and features a young Mickey Rourke (before he became a poster child for plastic surgery gone wrong) playing Charles Bukowski, in a movie written by Charles Bukowski. And what’s more, it has a serious Philly connection: Bukowski spent three years living, working, drinking and getting his teeth punched out here before writing the screenplay, and used his time in our fair city as the basis for all the action that happens in the film. The L.A. bar in which most of the film takes place? Based on a place where Bukowski drank at 17th and Fairmount.

And what stunned me last night was that during the trivia portion of last night’s all-cocktails Open Stove battle at COOK, I asked for a show of hands from the crowd.

“How many of you here have seen Barfly?” I asked.

No hands went up.

“What about the bartenders. You guys have seen Barfly, right?”

No hands went up.  The only two people in the entire place who’d ever seen it were me and Art.

So much for the trivia…

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Ranstead Room Kicks Off Cocktail Classes

ranstead-room-cocktail-classes-400Starting on Monday, February 16th, the Ranstead Room is kicking off a series of cocktail classes. Each class focuses on a different spirit and participants will learn the fundamentals and techniques involved in making the drinks.

Classes are $44 per person and includes two drinks, snacks and tip. Classes are limited to 12 people per week, so call El Rey (215-563-3330) now to make your reservation.

The classes are taught by Ranstead Room bartenders Anna Henderer and Derek Moorer. The first week’s spirit is gin.

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Check Out the Menus for Franky Bradley’s

franky-bradleys-940Mark Bee who has already experienced success at N. 3rd and Silk City is opening Franky Bradley’s tomorrow at Juniper and Chancellor. The former Sisters Nightclub promises a retro experience, connecting to the space’s past as Frankie Bradley’s, a well known restaurant that catered to entertainers, that was opened from 1933 to 1986.

The interior definitely has a Mark Bee vibe, complete with a Foxy Brown portrait made out of dollar bills. The walls are also adorn with vintage sexy Pan Am ads and more than a few nudes.

About the food and drink »

Six Drinks To Take You Away from This Cold Weather

yachtsman-mai-tai-940There are a lot of ways to battle single degree lows. Burrow under your heaviest comforter and wait for spring. Enjoy a Hot Toddy or whiskey shots. But there’s another way to battle the cold that we’re particularly fond of, DENIAL.

Here are six drinks being poured around town that will take you back (or forward) to summer.

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Trestle Inn Has a Menu of Hot Toddys

trestle-toddys-trestle-innThis past Saturday we enjoyed more than one Hot Toddy at the local bar and made a note then to drink more Hot Toddys. And now comes word that the Trestle Inn has a whole menu of Hot Toddy’s for the season and best of all, they are named for members of the Village People.

The Toddys are designed by bartender Katie Loeb and are available Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Hot Toddy Menu »

The Gastronaut: Hey Santa …

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Dear Santa,

First things first, I have to thank you for being so good to Philadelphia since the last time I wrote you. I asked for a lot of things on behalf of the city last year — outdoor drinking and BYOs and soup and more delivery options — and you came through in spades.

This year, my requests for Philly are a little bit darker. Rather than asking for things we need, I’m asking for things to go away. This is mostly because we’ve had such a good year already, and because our neighborhoods are so full of amazing restaurants and chefs doing the best work of their careers. Hard as it might be to say, what Philly is due for is a cull. To keep the scene healthy. And Santa, sometimes hard choices need to be made.

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Two Bells for Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange

grain-exchange-interior-940Craig LaBan visits Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange in Mount Airy and finds a restaurant and bar that is elevating food and cocktails on Germantown Avenue.

For $18, a slice of sustainably raised Verlasso salmon, nicely seared over buttery barley risotto studded with diced sweet potatoes, is one of the best fish bargains I’ve tasted in a while. A handsomely roasted acorn squash, brimming with flavorful red quinoa sparked by hazelnuts and cranberries, was one of several hearty seasonal salads that anchor the menu’s starters. A hot skillet of Anson Mills grits came topped with tender shrimp, pickled cherry tomatoes, and house-made sausage, a satisfying $17 meal of Southern comfort.

Two Bells – Very Good

Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Drink: Honey Bear at Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange [Facebook]

Where We’re Eating: Lloyd

lloyd rye old fashioned

The Rye Old Fashioned is $6 during happy hour.

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Philadelphia is getting a handle on destination cocktail bars. But neighborhood spots that can shake up a tight cocktail as well as pour a local craft beer are still a bit hard to come by. Lloyd does both quite well, especially during the 5 p.m.-to-8 p.m. happy hour, when a cocktail is always on special for $6 and the drafts are $4. Lloyd’s signature cocktails and its classics will have you nodding appreciatively at the skill of the bartender and the quality and price of the spirits. But happy-hour snacking? That was a miss. The ramp butter popcorn was way out of season in September — not to mention overly oniony and stale. And the impossible-to-resist (on paper) candied kielbasa was also a complete letdown — just disks of sausage sitting sadly in a pool of maple syrup. Lucky for Lloyd, the bartenders remained attentive, and the drinks were worth sticking around for even after happy hour ended.

Lloyd [Foobooz]

Originally published in the November, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine

Warm Up with Fette Sau Happy Hour

fette-06I’ve had a flyer for Fette Sau’s happy hour on my desk for at least a month. I’ve been waiting for just the right time to post about their half-price beer,$5 Manhattans and $4 burnt end sandwiches that the Fishtown barbecue joint offers from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

And with today’s cold and rainy weather, hot barbecue and warming whiskey seems like the only reason to venture out.

Fette Sau Happy Hour Menu » 

V Street Is Now Open

Lima Mist Cocktail at V Street

Lima Mist Cocktail at V Street

V Street’s first Instagram photo announces that the vegan bar from Vedge’s Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby is now open. The bar is located at 126 S 19th Street, just off of Rittenhouse Square. The attractive spot serves a menu of small plates, influenced by street food from around the world.

UPDATE: V Street will not be open tonight, Friday, October 17th but will have its grand opening tomorrow.

V Street [Foobooz]

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