Johnny Brenda’s Tavern

Johnny Brenda's

Johnny Brenda’s

(photos courtesy of Google images)

The Bucket List Beginnings

The first Friday night of the winter! Instead of getting depressed about the end of the summer boating season we came up with a plan to survive the winter — to check out bars in Philly on Friday nights. We  met up with our good friend Ted on his sailboat, a 33-foot Morgan named Victoria. He had traveled north from the Chesapeake Bay and was living on his boat at Pier 5 in Philadelphia. It felt like the appropriate segue to end our sailing season, but walking on a dock in Center City in the middle of winter was the strangest feeling. We are accustomed to warm weather docks in the spring, summer and fall. These docks were covered in three inches of fresh snow and the water surface was covered with thick ice.

Johnny Brenda's street sign

Johnny Brenda’s street sign

Take one: Craft beer and music

While having a beer and catching up on each others’ news, I told them about my plans to check out a place that my friend told me about, Johnny Brenda’s in Northern Liberties. We hopped into the van and the streets were packed with snow.

After finding a parking place in a snow drift we were psyched to head into Johnny Brenda’s to warm up. It was very dark room so the flashing disco ball emitting colorful lights from the corner of the bar was mezmerizing, not to mention incongruent. The bar stools were full of patrons so after a stop with the bartender to get our beers we found the stairs and headed up. The space was very casual with good DJ music and craft beer. Ted and I could not resist dancing the winter blues away and the snowy street scene out of the open window made it even more fun.

Johnny Brenda’s chalkboard

Take two: Gastro pub

We did not partake in the menu that night so we returned another weekend to try out the gastro pub experience with good friends Ross and Vicki.  The menu had a good variety, locally grown delicious food and all of us were pleased with our plates. That night Johnny Brenda’s was sporting a Star Trek theme and all the staff were skirting about in official Federation of Planets uniforms. Eric bought the shirt off the waiter’s back for 20 bucks!

January 2011

1201 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 739-9684

Kitchen open until 1:00a.m.
Owners: William Reed and Paul Kimport, Principal: Johnny Brenda

From Their Website:

“Johnny Brenda’s is a bar, restaurant and music venue located in the Fishtown section of Phiiladelphia. Featuring a world-class sound system and a balconoy (a rarity for a room its size), it is unlike any performance space in Philadephia. It maintains the feel of an elegant, iconic historical social hall with design elements reminiscent of a turn of the century burlesque club or theater.
Built on a philosophy of supporting the local community, Johnny Brenda’s serves all-draft high quality beer from local brewers as well as an eclectic menu using fresh ingredients supplied from area farmers.”

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