I know of only two types of Pub Crawls. The first being the obvious — a rambunctious group of heavy drinkers looking for a night out on the town full of intoxicated conversations, full belly laughter, and a constant competition of who will be the last one standing. I have seen these types of Pub Crawls all over the world, most of the time the target market is that of Americans, English, and Australians. I will leave you to decipher your own reasoning why that is. I have seen them in cities as far away as Rome to as nearby as Santa Monica. Some have involved grown adults swerving around town on plastic Playskool trikes or a mob of people decked out in hideous light up Christmas sweaters in the middle of July. Pub Crawl type one is the ridiculous. The one that has a time and a place in every college students life — and in my opinion should stay that way.
Pub Crawl type two is one with the anticipation of sampling and trying out several different watering hole establishments in one evening. It lacks the competition of the first, but makes up for it in the quality of the liberation choices. It can be commercially organized or arranged by an individual. It is a gathering of friends and sometimes even family in an occasion of great foods, drinks, conversation, and exercise. Exercise? Okay, not quite, but its more fun to believe the prior scenario. Type two seems to be less ridiculed by society and acceptable by most.
My most recent pub crawl (one of a type two nature) was in Philadelphia. Our nation’s birth place, has been the home to big drinkers for several centuries. Today pub crawls of both types can be enjoyed and hopeful conquered at establishments of all kinds throughout the cities plentiful neighborhoods.
Organized Pub Crawls in Philadelphia:
On Your Own Northern Liberties & Fishtown Crawl
Northern Liberties is said to be home to “America’s First Lager” and they have a plaque placed within the neighborhood limits by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to prove it. That being said what better place to begin.
1. The Abbaye
The Abbaye is a bar of all bar’s. A place that as you step through the door your instantly feel at home. They primarily curate their beer selection with a focus on Belgian beers, but typically keep 6 or so taps open for regional favorites.
2. North 3rd
A step up in expectations when entering North 3rd. The decor is random and eccentric, yet inviting and comfortable. A paper mache eagle hangs over the bar reminding the patrons of their American Pride as they choose from a small but well thought-out list of beers. A perfect place to sit outside on a summer’s night or kick back and watch a baseball game while feasting on some impeccable apps.
3. Standard Tap
A bar of all bars Standard Tap proudly only serves local craft brews — including 2 cask beers and 20 rotating taps — no bottled beer here. Standard Tap’s philosophy of all things local not only applies to the beers but also to their menu and ingredients. A hot spot for a connoisseur of beer. A hearty local menu for a foodie.
4. Johnny Brenda’s
Johnny Brenda’s is the Standard Tap for hipsters — all local craft brews, great food, with the addition of live music. The live music draws a young crowd as does the atmosphere — dark wooden tables studded with LED lights, a giant digital iPod jukebox, and a vibe that tempts you to keep put all night long.
5. Frankford Hall
A step in a completely different direction from the previous bars, Frankford Hall, located in Fishtown, is Philadelphia’s largest beer garden. A Stephen Starr, venture that is geared toward the serious and not so serious beer drinkers. Frankford Hall is designed with reclaimed metal, giant glass garage doors open to reveal a giant courtyard complete with ping-pong tables and giant communal tables.
Frankford Hall has 9 taps composed of both traditional and craft German brews. You are given the choice 12oz, .5 liter and 1 liter glasses, so you better come ready to drink your weight in beer. However what’s a German beer garden without the brats! No worries, Starr did not discount this tradition, diners can order at a walk up counter and take their seats to be served. The brats are nothing other than superb, honestly the best I have ever had (I have not yet been to Germany). The casing pops in your mouth, the mustard is not overpowering but rather a perfect complement. Oh and the sauerkraut! Wow I just never knew.
Frankford Hall is an experience. One to be enjoyed by all generations. Next time you’re in Philly grab the whole family, all your friends — clink glass and cheers to good times.
View Northern Liberties/Fishtown Pub Crawl in a larger map
If you looking to include a little Northern Liberties sightseeing in your Bar Crawl, check out National Geographic Traveler’s Streets of Philadelphia On Foot.