Drink This Now: Citywide Special at the Sidecar

Our favorite take on the Philadelphia tradition is now at 22nd and Christian.


It’s the pickleback that makes the Sidecar’s Citywide Special.

The Citywide or Special has become a Philadelphia tradition. The term is generally considered to have been coined on South Street at at Bob & Barbara’s and then the Tritone. At B&B’s, it lives on as a shot of Jim Beam and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Over the years, we’ve begun to seen riffs on the Citywide. Mexican-themed bars offer a shot of Tequila and a Tecate. When Petruce et al was around, Tim Kweeder even put the “Balling Citywide” on his menu. That luxury version of the drink was a can of barleywine and a shot of Angel’s Envy for $25.

Our favorite version of the genre right now is being served at the Sidecar Bar & Grille at 22nd and Christian. Dubbed the “Not So Shitty Citywide,” the $5 boilermaker starts with a can of Lancaster Brewing’s Kolsch, that can of beer is accompanied by a shot of Heaven Hill and a pickleback, a shot glass of pickle juice. It’s the pickle juice that makes the “Shitywide” so special. The pickle recipe was developed more than six years ago at Sidecar’s sister restaurant, Kraftwork. Chef Brian Lofink tells us that the pickle juice is a mix of cider vinegar, sugar, kirby cucumbers, salt, garlic, pickling spice and fresh dill. And the pickles are so popular, he’s even used them as currency, trading pickles for haircuts at South Philly’s Prep & Foxx.

To us, the pickle juice is just delicious. The tangy and tart chaser really deserves to be the centerpiece of the three part act that is a sip of beer, a slurp of Heaven Hill and a pep-me-up lick of pickle juice. You’ll be considering a second “Not So Shitty Citywide” in no time, and might even consider passing on the whiskey and beer.

Sidecar Bar & Grille [Foobooz]