Category Archives: Pubs

Red Hot and Blue

IMG_6217After a winter storm dropped 8 inches of snow, we dug ourselves out and headed to Cherry Hill New Jersey’s Red Hot and Blue Restaurant to hear some great blues and eat Memphis Barbeque — worth the trip! It is a bar & restaurant combination next to a Holiday Inn on Route 70.

When we first arrived we couldn’t figure out where to sit. To be honest, the feng shei in there is terrible because the entire bar and dining room is in the shape of a boomerang! A little too bright, a little too long, but we were there for (a) the SISTER BLUE BAND and (b) the BBQ!

As tradition dictates we chose bar stools, however it was wrong for so many reasons. The band was going to perform at the far end of the boomerang shape so we wanted to sit in the center of the room, but our seats were across from the front door–every time someone walked in an arctic blast came in and hit us!

IMG_6218Nonetheless, despite the chill we ordered tasty ribs of three different flavors: Memphis dry rub, pepper garlic, and a crazy spicy vinegar that drove our tongues a little crazy. Along with the ribs we ordered a healthy “chopped salad” which was packed with a rainbow of veggies!

Once the music started we paid our dinner tab and moved to a table in the main dining room. The color red dominated the decor. Red and brown patterned wallpaper was very Holiday-Inn-mid-century, on purpose. The wooden dining booths and tables had red veneers. Suspended over each table were pendants with big drum shades displaying the umber trapezoid shapes from the 1960s. Adjoining the dining room, a separate room was filled with a private party.

Sister Blue was in fantastic form, singing and playing blues with her full band. Their sound is engaging, fun and energizing with a playlist that ranges from classic blues to modern R&B. When they started playing Ike and Tina Turner’s Proud Mary –“Rolling on the River”– the folks in the party room came out to listen. Sister Blue shouted “Come on out sisters!” Suddenly the dining room floor was filled with beautiful black women dancing and singing with fantastic voices. The band yelled out “It’s church!” So fun! Lots of smiling faces, with Tina dance moves all over the place. We stayed until the lights came on, around midnight.

March 6, 2015


2175 Rt-70 W,
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Near the intersection of RT-70 W and Sayer Ave

(856) 665-7427

Local website: http://www.redhotanblue.com/index3.htm

Main website: http://redhotandblue.com/central/

In The News

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/red-hot-and-blue-restaurant-cherry-hill

New Jersey Monthly
http://njmonthly.com/restaurantreviews/red-hot–blue.html

Bloomberg Business
http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=10039853

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Devil’s Pocket

Devils Pocket logoI invited a friend, Eric O., to join us for the bucket list and asked him to recommend a place. He immediately named Devil’s Pocket, a new gastro pub. Curious! We headed into an old rough and tumble neighborhood in Philadelphia known as Devil’s Pocket. With help from industrious angels it is becoming a gentrified place.

Devil’s Pocket is owned and operated by Marcus Versace, Eric’s friend. The chef, Andrew Wagner, hails from a popular Philadelphia restaurant where he brought with him his recipes for delicious comfort food such as mashed potatoes. The two partners are a match made in heaven.

Maurin_QuinaThe pub is located on a corner with understated signage but I spotted the logo on the front door window. Inside, the first impression is bright and striking! The intimate space is adorned with a gallery of devil art, hung on cream embossed walls with red beadboard below the chair rail. One well-known piece is a french advertising poster featuring green devil —Maurin Quina by Leonetto Cappiello. The attractive “Pick-Pockets Wall of Shame” gallery is hilarious. After speaking to Marcus about the history of the neighborhood, the selection of art about thieves makes sense.

There was a nice crowd on a freezing Friday night. We found two spots at the bar which had place settings ready for hungry patrons and brought over a third stool. Marcus came right over to welcome us when he spotted Eric. We enjoyed their specialty jerk chicken wings, chili, chicken soup, hummus platter and a sumptuous BLT — super-think bacon, lettuce and tomato on butter-grilled artisan bread. We washed it down with craft beer and spiked hot apple cider. Yum.

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Eric’s friend, Brian, joined us and we took over the end of the bar with conversation. Marcus graciously granted us an interview and we learned about the whirlwind opening just six months earlier in October 2014. We enjoyed a devil-may-care evening and do plan to return in warmer weather when the bank of windows are opened to the outside world.

Feb 13, 2015


Devil’s Pocket
Address: 2425 Grays Ferry Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
Phone: 215-735-2202

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Devils-Pocket-Food-Spirits/1546674502243484

In The News

Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/Devils-Pocket-Food–Spirits.html

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/devils-pocket-food-and-spirits-philadelphia

FooBooz Philly Mag
http://www.phillymag.com/restaurant/devils-pocket-food-spirits/


Four Dogs Tavern

4dog-signFour Dogs Tavern was on my bucket list tonight because live music was provided by two fantastic musicians,  Johnny Never and Zep Harpo.  Favorite performers of ours, the duo plays “awesome Mississippi Delta blues, Piedmoont blues and East Texas Blues.”

The building is historic—old fieldstone covered in plaster located on winding tree-lined roads, out in the country. The building that houses the Four Dogs Tavern was originally the stables to the Marshalton Inn & Tavern, founded in 1804. The Marshalton Inn was popular to travelers due to the midway location between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

On the way to the entrance we peered through the pane and muntin windows to see the band and the packed house. Inside were meandering rooms with old, wide-plank floors and diagonally-panelled walls with a fireplace burning brightly in the corner.

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We found seats near Zep and Johnny and sat down for a Gastro pub experience with a fine dining price tag. Usually I don’t mention the price but we were a little surprised tonight. Just a little sticker shock. One glass of Jamison was $12 and one bowl of snapper soup cost $10 so the seltzer and cranberry mocktail that I enjoyed saved us a couple of bucks. We ordered jerk chicken wings and gruyere cheese & smoked salmon on sourdough bread which was deeelicious.

During the break the musicians joined us and we had some good laughs. Well-heeled patrons were friendly and photo-bombed our photos! The staff was super friendly and efficient and we stayed until the music stopped and most of the patrons went home.

Menu highlights include charcuterie boards & cheese flights, duck pate & charred octopus, and meatloaf & slow cooked pork.

History

History buffs may find this interesting: Just 27 years prior to the opening of the Marshalton Inn, the Village of Marshalton was central to the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. My ancestor was a revolutionary soldier in that battle! More History:

Feb 6, 2015


Four Dogs Tavern

Address: 1300 West Strasburg Road, West Chester, PA 19382
Phone: (610) 692-4367
Website: http://thefourdogstavern.com/

In The News

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/four-dogs-tavern-west-chester

The Brandywine.com
http://www.thebrandywine.com/dine/fourdog/four_dog_tavern.html

Zagat
https://www.zagat.com/r/the-four-dogs-tavern-west-chester


Green Rock Tavern

It was Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and I had a houseful of Thanksgiving guests to take on the bucketlist run! But first, we opted out of the retail shopping pressure and spent the afternoon at my daughter’s house in an upcoming neighborhood near Northern Liberties between Port Richmond and Kensington and Fishtown. (the future Port Richtown?)

We toured Emily and Jim’s new home, enjoying the visits with her pets (3 cats, 3 guinea pigs, two turtles and a dog) and a rousing game of Time’s Up, taking almost two hours! We all agreed it was the most difficult group of celebrity names we ever played — Admiral Horacio Lord Nelson was a long one to guess!

We worked up an appetite and headed, exhausted, for their local pub, Green Rock Tavern. It is a long and narrow local watering hole, with a bar in the front and tables in the rear. The chalkboard displayed the menu with their famous, delicious Pierogies and hummus!

There were eight of us in our party so we pushed together two tables and the friendly bartender came over to talk and see how we were doing. We ordered the local brew, Kenzinger, and burgers and pierogies and played a game of darts. The food was served quickly!

One of the patrons leaned over to tell me about a new game on her phone that she had been playing, called “Heads Up”! It is a game of charades that is quick to play so we did a round together. What a great neighborhood spot!

According to their Facebook post, renovations are just around the bend.

November 28, 2014


Green Rock Tavern
2546 E Lehigh Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
215-203-0840

FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Rock-Tavern/109299522486417

In The News

Drink Philly
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/369-Green-Rock-Tavern

Visit Phily
http://www.visitphilly.com/restaurants-dining/philadelphia/green-rock-tavern/


Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar

" "My twin sister, Diana, arrived from Cleveland to join me for the Thanksgiving holiday and was looking forward to checking out some Philly pubs. So when my son flew home from LA for the holiday too, asking for a ride into Center City to see his friends, she offered to drive us all in.

It just so happens that the night before Thanksgiving is one of the most busiest days of the year for bars. And lucky for us, on Wednesday nights in Center City the parking is free!

Where to go? We dropped him off in Mid-City. near Barbuzzo. Knowing that lunch was farm-fresh and delicious there, I knew it would be a great spot to take her. We entered the long, thin bar and lucked-out with two spots at the end. What a pretty and rustic environment! Because they are known for dishes from farm-to-table they have a beautiful barn door hanging on one wall. There are other rustic touches, including what resembles bushel basket lampshades on the lamps over the bar. We ordered two wines and with our cocktails, enjoyed their delicious caciocavallo stuffed meatballs. Too bad we did not stay for dinner as there are so many delightful things on their menu.

Nov 26, 2014


Website: http://barbuzzo.com

Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar
Address: 110 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone:(215) 546-9300

In The New

Drink Philly
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/330-Barbuzzo

Visit Philly
http://food.visitphilly.com/barbuzzo/

Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/philly/food/restaurants/20101205_Barbuzzo.html


Sassafras Bar Restaurant and Cafe

" "I heard about Sassafras Bar by my young co-worker who loves beautiful places. I met my girlfriend there for happy hour and although it was long and narrow, we found seats at a big, round wooden table with roomy wooden benches right next to the bar. The decor was very dark and rustic with original tile and woodwork dating back to pre-Y2K turn-of-the-century. The bartender came out from the bar to wait on us, who was charming and professional. When the crowd grew larger he still maintained great service— a class act. When another friend joined us, we ordered from their eclectic menu. We shared an ostrich burger, the tray of “artisanal cheeses of the world” and a deep fried pickle to go with our Cosmo straight-up and Maker’s Marks on the rocks.

The noise level from customers chatting it up was a little deafening but that is to be expected in a popular Center City establishment. However, despite being packed with patrons I was able to hear the music the whole night, swanky 1940’s jazz sounds. It fit the mood of the classic bar.

Upstairs, the ladies room visit was an unusual experience. When I knocked on the door several women replied all at once. Once the parade of women left, I entered and realized why the door was closed for so long. The toilet was sitting in the middle of an expansive room with lounge seating. They were holding court around the china throne. No wonder there was a wait! This bar is a good spot for girls’ night out, apparently.

Overall, it was a very nice evening. The website states “a fixture on Second Street for over 35 years…old-world pub with modern flavor”.

Oct. 10, 2014


Sassafras Bar Restaurant and Cafe

Web Site http://sassafrasbar.com/

Address: 48 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Phone:(215) 925-2317

In The News

Drink Philly –  http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/244-Sassafras# There’s Drinking To Be Done – http://drinkingtobedone.com/sassafras-bar/ Philly Hot List – http://phillyhotlist.cityvoter.com/sassafras-bar/biz/429349