New URL!

Hey everyone,

Exciting news! Bar For The Course has acquired its own domain. All future posts will appear at bar4thecourse.com, so be sure to update your bookmarks and/or RSS feeds!

—Emily and Brynn

National Mechanics

Bar #57: National Mechanics, 3rd and Market

After Sugar Mom’s, Brynn and I took a quick walk over to National Mechanics. Now THIS is what we were talking about: lights, columns, a big sign – this is a bar that wants you to notice it. Whether that’s a good or bad thing in terms of quality is a different story, but at least we didn’t feel like idiots trying to find it. Our first thought upon walking in was, “TOO LOUD.” Which was very true. We made our way to the bar to check out their drink list and couldn’t believe what we found: a specialty drink called the Obama Bomb. Mom Bomb, Obama bomb… we were beginning to see a theme. We decided we had to get them and made our way to a table where we promptly ordered two from a waitress ($8).

Bomb night part two at National Mechanics

Bomb night part two at National Mechanics

Obama Bombs

Obama Bombs

Our waitress told us we’d love them if we liked coffee, which we do, so this was the bomb drink for us! Also, after sitting for a bit, we realized that we were really enjoying the music. Sure, it was on the loud side, but the DJ was awesome – it was like Smoke’s gone right. National Mechanics had similarly silly white people on the dance floor, but the music made up for it. We weren’t entirely sure how to rate this on the classy scale because it had a rather classy decor, but a decidedly less classy clientele, with a solid number of Old City people (for definition, see our review of Eulogy). Overall, National Mechanics is definitely not for everyone, but if you’ve had a few drinks and are interested in listening to an actually good DJ, this is a pretty good place to go.

National Mechanics' Ratings

National Mechanics' Ratings

The Bar Graph: National Mechanics

The Bar Graph: National Mechanics

We were starting to think Old City wasn’t so bad after all. Did our opinion stay that way? Keep reading to find out!


Emily

Sugar Mom’s

Bar #56: Sugar Mom’s, 3rd and Church

Emily and I kicked off another fun night of bar crawling at Sugar Mom’s in Old City. After yet ANOTHER struggle trying to find the place (this one is really not easy—it’s tucked away off a tiny side street behind a parking lot), we finally made it inside and walked down a flight of stairs to the bar, which was in the basement of the building. The place was packed with flannel-clad hipsters, presumably as a result of the $1 PBR special from 7-11pm on weekends, but even so, there was enough room to comfortably fit just about everyone. Unlike many of the bars we’ve visited so far, this one somehow managed to be busy and fun without feeling overcrowded. We checked out the drink specials and were both intrigued by the “Mom’s Bomb,” ($6) basically a Jaeger bomb but with Mountain Dew instead of Red Bull. You could also substitute Southern Comfort for the Jaeger if you wanted, and Emily decided to go with that option because she’s not a huge fan of anything licorice-flavored.

Getting ready for some Mom's Bombs

Getting ready for some Mom's Bombs

Soco and jaeger into Mountain Dew!

Bombing Soco and Jaeger into Mountain Dew!

After chugging down our drinks, we wandered around for a bit to explore the bar. There was plenty of awesomeness to be found, including but not limited to: bowls of free Dum Dum lollipops, festive lights and decorations, arts and crafts, board games, a pool table, a sweet jukebox, and a couple of really small cars that reminded us of these. Basically, Sugar Mom’s has everything you could possibly want from a bar. We did wish that they had more non-beer drink specials, and perhaps slightly less flannel, but overall we had a great time and would definitely go back.

Sugar Mom's Ratings

Sugar Mom's Ratings

The Bar Graph: Sugar Mom's

The Bar Graph: Sugar Mom's

Our drink choice at Sugar Mom’s became something of a theme for the night, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out what that means!

—Brynn

Eulogy Belgian Tavern

Bar #55: Eulogy Belgian Tavern, 2nd and Chestnut

Though Old City is great at bar quantity, Brynn and I weren’t terribly impressed with the bar quality during our last visit. However, we decided to give it another go with a stop at Eulogy Belgian Tavern, which has quite the tagline: “Beer Heaven.” When we walked in, the vibe immediately reminded us a bit of our ever-referenced standard, Good Dog, which was partially due to its almost identical layout. We headed upstairs to the quieter room with more seating and got some menus from a very friendly/informative server. We quickly decided that the tagline was definitely NOT an overstatement: they had more beers than we’d ever seen before!

SO MANY BEERS!

SO MANY BEERS!

Limiting our choices to the draught list, we started looking for our key words. I found an appropriate choice in a Premium Framboise ($6.50), a wine beer with the word “raspberry” in the description, while Brynn decided on a Blanche de Bruxelles ($6) which had a description containing the words “Belgian,” “white,” and “orange.”

Belgian beers at Eulogy

Belgian beers at Eulogy

Blanche de Bruxelles and Premium Framboise

Blanche de Bruxelles and Premium Framboise

We were pretty happy with the feel of the place. It was one of the first Old City bars that didn’t seem to be full of what I like to call “Old City people.” (Old City people: pl. noun, the college students who acted like tools because it was acceptable, but then graduated and never changed. See: anyone who frequents Mad River) I also really liked our server, who was very attentive and seemed to know a lot about the beer they offered (which is basically every beer ever). As for the drinks themselves, there’s a beer for everyone if you know what you’re looking for, and they have just about everything you could possibly be looking for, so of course we loved them! Definitely one of the better bars in Old City.

Eulogy Belgian Tavern Ratings

Eulogy Belgian Tavern Ratings

The Bar Graph: Eulogy Belgian Tavern

The Bar Graph: Eulogy Belgian Tavern

Is Eulogy the only bar in Old City worth your time? Stay tuned to find out.


Emily

The Dark Horse Pub

Bar #54: The Dark Horse Pub, 2nd and Lombard

Next on our list was the Dark Horse Pub, conveniently located right across the street from Xochitl (and also notably easier to pronounce). This place was about as empty as our previous two locations, but by this point we had pretty much given up on finding a lively bar in Society Hill on a Thursday night. As we sat down at the bar and tried to decide what to order, we were interrupted by one of the few other patrons, who suggested tequila cranberries and offered to pay for them. Always a fan of free drinks, and also intrigued by this simple but unexpected combination of liquids, we accepted. The drinks were $9 each, which seemed expensive, but was probably less indicative of the average price of a drink at the Dark Horse and more a result of the high-quality tequila our new friend insisted on.

Tequila/cranberries at the Dark Horse

Tequila cranberries at the Dark Horse

Good thing we got the same thing because Emily's drink is empty!

Good thing we got the same thing because Emily's drink is empty!

The combination of tequila and cranberry juice tasted vaguely like a margarita, and we definitely recommend it if you’re bored of your standard mixed drink choice (i.e. Jack and Cokes for us). We proceeded to chat for a bit with Paul, the aforementioned drink purchaser, who informed us that the bartender who was serving us was the grandson of one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, which is apparently a big deal (or big enough to merit their own Wikipedia page, at least). So that was pretty cool, and then things got even MORE exciting when a friend of said semi-famous bartender walked into the bar and dropped off a box of chocolate from Le Bec Fin! We kid you not:

Chocolate!

Chocolate!

Expensive tequila and fancy chocolate was decidedly NOT what we expected from an Irish pub in Society Hill, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. Again, we wished there had been more people, but we were sufficiently entertained by the random stuff that kept happening. The bar itself had plenty of space and a nice, relaxing vibe, and seemed like it would be a fun place to hang out with a large group of friends. We’d be interested to see if it’s any busier on Friday or Saturday, but unfortunately won’t be able to find out for awhile because we have so many other bars left to visit before the end of May!

The Dark Horse Pub Ratings

The Dark Horse Pub Ratings

The Bar Graph: The Dark Horse Pub

The Bar Graph: The Dark Horse Pub

That was about it for our night in Society Hill, but more bars still to come. Obviously.

—Brynn

Xochitl

Bar #53: Xochitl, 2nd and Pine

In hopes of finding some more people, Brynn and I headed down the street to Xochitl, pronounced “so-cheet” which we learned from a convenient mention under their sign out front. We’re glad they helped us out on that one because we would’ve sounded really silly otherwise. Anyways, turns out that while Thursday (and sometimes even Wednesday) is part of the weekend in college, that’s not so much the case when you leave. Fortunately, Xochitl had a few more customers than Artful Dodger, along with a stronger decor and a much more interesting drink menu. After asking our server some questions (mostly about pronunciation), I decided to go with a “La Chilindrina,” a fruity and slightly spicy mix of Sauza Blanco and blood orange, while Brynn chose a “Nublado,” which was essentially a red sangria. (Note: I don’t really know Spanish, but my friend Jose just informed me that nublado means “cloudy.” Not sure of the naming concept there…)

Yummy cocktails at Xochitl

Yummy cocktails at Xochitl

'Nublado' and 'La Chilindrina.' And orange slices!

'Nublado' and 'La Chilindrina.' And orange slices!

Xochitl definitely had a nice space, and reminded us a lot of Cuba Libre. We had some nice conversations with the bartenders and our drinks were tasty, though a bit on the pricey side. However, this wasn’t quite enough to make up for the lack of people. Don’t go out in Society Hill on Thursdays!

Xochitl Ratings

Xochitl Ratings

The Bar Graph: Xochitl

The Bar Graph: Xochitl

Things will get more lively soon. Stay tuned!


Emily

The Artful Dodger

Bar #52: The Artful Dodger, 2nd and Pine

Emily and I headed out on a Thursday night to check out a few bars in Society Hill, a quiet Philly neighborhood just south of Old City. The area is mostly residential and feels almost suburban, but the bars that do exist are conveniently all within a couple blocks of each other. Our first stop was the Artful Dodger at 2nd and Pine, a small, cozy pub with a standard bar menu. The drink list included a few seasonal beer specials, and Emily and I chose two of those: a Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Ale for me ($4) and a Philadelphia Brewing Company Walt Wit for Emily ($5). The beers were good but nothing special, though we did enjoy the “featured beer” spotlight that they had posted (literally…it was a beer on a pedestal) above the bar.

Drafts at the Artful Dodger

Drafts at the Artful Dodger

Winter Ale and Walt Wit

Winter Ale and Walt Wit

Similar to Ten Stone, The Artful Dodger seemed like more of a chill neighborhood hangout than a destination. Both our bartender and the other people at the bar were really nice, but it was definitely an older, quieter crowd and the vibe was just a little too…boring, I guess. We enjoyed ourselves, but after about 45 minutes were more than ready to move on to something more exciting.

The Artful Dodger Ratings

The Artful Dodger Ratings

The Bar Graph: The Artful Dodger

The Bar Graph: The Artful Dodger

We did indeed find more excitement in Society Hill, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out about it!

—Brynn