New to Town: Perch Pub

The new gastropub atop Varalli shows its gay-friendly side

Courtesy of Perch Pub

Varalli restaurant on Broad and Locust recently introduced a new addition to his longtime eatery. Perch Pub takes the place of the restaurant’s formal dining space with spectacular views of the avenue, and with a comfortable approach to the gastropub scene.

Joe Varalli, the owner, is still serving up his signature Italian seafood on the ground floor, but the upstairs was remodeled into a new pub that opened last month. And while, sure, we knew all about the location from Club Libations next door, a late-night haven for African-American and Latina lesbians, not to mention it’s bordering the Gayborhood all these years, but when Perch – a pub that promises altitude, not attitude – started pulling beers, G Philly checked it out.

The big question: Is Perch gay-friendly? Absolutely.

The view of the Avenue of the Arts and Locust St. is a treat from both the casual dining room and bar (we’re looking forward to when the pub starts serving brunch come spring with dazzling daylight vistas). After striking up a few conversations with the very friendly staff – who are decked out in hipster-approved plaid shirts – we quickly discovered that Perch is very gay-friendly.

This new second-story escape – perfect for lunch (coming soon), happy hour and late-night dining  – is a pleasant departure from our usual haunts. Two full walls of windows are especially appealing, as is the exposed brick and rich wood bar, whether you’re looking to grab a bite or sip some of your favorite beers. The bar stocks everything from Belgian ales to the elixirs you’re likely to find – and love – at the Foodery, like Ommegang, Chimay and Hitachino. We really enjoyed the long list of craft and microbrewed beer, as well as the pub-friendly menu with no shortage of traditional eats with modern twists.

We also surveyed the crowd, both on a weekend afternoon and during a busy happy hour mid-week. While weekends definitely attract theatre goers thanks to its proximity to Broad Street’s many concert halls (that usually means kids, too) the happy hour and late-night crowd is diverse. You’re as likely to see a businessman noshing a burger after work as you are LGBT folks kicking back with a signature cocktail – or three. At Perch, silly drinks have silly bird names, like the Cardinal – a pepper, garlic and basil-infused Bloody Mary – and the Peacock, a blackberry and raspberry vodkatini.

We suspect the burgers and other sandwiches will become Perch’s bread and butter, but we also enjoyed the selection of light and easy pub grub (perfect to precede or end a night on the town), like deviled eggs with Sriracha, Philly soft pretzels served with cheddar ale fondue and chocolate stout mustard and crispy malanga sticks.

Perch Pub is a great spot to meet up with friends for bites and drinks before (or after) hitting the gay clubs. The back room – which continues the exposed brick-and-dark-wood style – also features a pool table.

G Philly‘s review: Perch is definitely a great new spot to roost.

Perch Pub, 1345 Locust St., 215-546-4090.