Silk City Diner, Lounge & Beer Garden – Name Says It All

Silk City Diner, Lounge & Beer Garden Philadelphia

Photo Courtesy Silk City



Business Travelers:  Do you recommend Silk City for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.8/5 (2 votes cast)

 

I was looking for a place to do a bar meal review after attending a very interesting meeting for start-up entrepreneurs at Venturef0rth, an early-stage tech community incubator and yes, it is spelled correctly with the “0”.  I realized I had not spent much time in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philly and decided to head to one of my favorites: Silk City Diner, Lounge & Beer Garden on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 about 8 P.M.  Silk City is just what it’s name says,  a Diner with a Lounge and a Beer Garden.  The diner and lounge have long been staples of the neighborhood but have been terrifically updated in 2007 and are a destination location with a creative and well done New American menu.  This review focuses on the Diner counter saving the Lounge and Beer Garden bars for highly anticipated return visits.

I start with the evening special, Chicken Corn Chowder, followed by the Bacon wrapped Meatloaf with Mash Potatoes and Peas along with a glass of wine.  Both were delicious.  As I have mentioned before, order your two courses separately to avoid getting your food all at once while sitting at moany restaurant bars.

The Silk City Bar Experience:  Entering the Diner section you encounter that classic diner look and feel which has been meticulously upgraded and maintained.  The bar, really a counter with a full complement of liquor, is long and faces the wall.   The diner atmospheres makes this setup comfortable and the friendly staff is another big draw.  The counter has about  25 seats and the ones on the far end would provide the best view of the entire place.  I sat about 1/3 of the way down the long section.  The patrons were engaging with two old friends catching up to my left and Mother and young daughter enjoying a fun meal on my right.  A few trendy hipsters were sprinkled around with a couple of  button down business people about and others stopping by after work to get take out.  Lots of seats still left on a Tuesday night.  Really love this place, the atmosphere and food.  Highly recommend.

Business Travelers:  A good casual place to go to get you out of the Center City Philly scene.  Whether you are alone or with colleagues or customers, the counter is fun or grab yourself a booth.  While it is not a far walk from Center City, I recommend skipping the walk in favor of a cab for better security.  If you are already in the Northern Liberties neighborhood by all means walk to Silk City.  Only one small television so don’t go for the TV. Give yourself some time to walk around the bustling, trendy and hip Northern Liberties area.  Stop at Rita’s after and get yourself a taste of  real Philly Italian Water Ice on 2nd Street.  Good for Women Business Travelers traveling alone.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆ 

Silk City Diner, Lounge & Beer Garden
435 Spring Garden St
Philadelphia, PA 19123.
215-546-5170
Silk City Menu
Philadelphia Weekly Silk City Review

Silk City Diner on Urbanspoon

Westbury – Longtime Neighborhood Standby

Westbury Bar and Restaurant Philadelphia

Photo by DoctorWho via flickr.



Business Travelers:  Do you recommend Westbury for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 2.6/5 (2 votes cast)

 

Some friends and I were looking for a place to sit at the bar and watch the Phillies game.  Our first choice, while not crowded, had no seats available at the bar so we decided to go to the nearby Westbury, a predominately gay bar which bills itself as a sports place.  Tuesday, May 23, 2012 about 7:30 P.M we sat down and ordered drinks and I was looking forward to doing a Westbury review.   There have been some improvements to the Westbury over the past few years including many large televisions making a TV visible from every seat at the bar.  Also there are about 16 taps with plans to soon take that number to 20 making for a very nice beer selection.  Food is basic bar food.  I had the Fish & Chips and loaded fries.  Why did I ordered so many fires? Food was good.  Menu is basic sandwiches burgers and salads.  Westbury is participating in Philly Beer Week 2012.

The Westbury Bar Experience:  The Westbury has my favorite bar setup, a center bar.  There are a couple of pillars which are part of the bar which do obstruct some views but not significantly.  The two longer sides of the bar have about 12 seats each while the two shorter sides have about 6 seats.  Bartender and wait staff are very nice and attentive and service was good.  No credit cards accepted at the bar and the drinks and food are handled separately by the bartender and waiter respectively.  Credit cards are accepted for food.  Not particularly crowded on this night.  Music is handled by a jukebox and we were not particularly happy with the selection this evening didn’t go well with the game. Maybe we should have selected the music ourselves. No game sound on tonight, just the jukebox music.

Business Travelers:  As I mentioned the Westbury has a predominately loyal, male, gay clientele from the surrounding neighborhood.  It has been part of Philadelphia’s gay scene for a long time and is not particularly close to the hotels or business district.  There were a couple of business people having drinks and food at the bar. The staff and patrons would certainly make any visitors feel welcome and comfortable. We like that there is always a sporting event on the televisions, good basic bar food and nice beer selection.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★☆☆ 

Westbury Bar and Restaurant
261 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-546-5170
Westbury Menu
Westbury at Philly Beer Week 2012

Westbury Bar on Urbanspoon

Perch Pub – Location and Lamb Burger

Perch Pub Bar Philadelphia

Photo Courtesy Perch Pub



Business Travelers:  Do you recommend Perch Pub for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.3/5 (3 votes cast)

 

On Thursday, April 19, 2012 at around 8 p.m. I was in the neighborhood walking by a sign outside of Perch Pub announcing the Lamb Burger as a special and knew immediately where I would have my next Restaurant Bar Meal and do my next review. The Lamb Burger is not on the regular menu but it is often a special.  I’ve had the Lamb Burger several times before, enjoying it each time, so tonight I ordered the corn and tomato soup special along with the Lamb Burger and was not disappointed.

The meal was delicious as usual but the bar was oddly empty for 8 p.m. on a Thursday night.  I was happy with my easy seat selection, large televisions and good meal.  A nice, relaxing and quiet meal.  I would describe the menu as higher end gastropub fare.  Definitely several steps above your normal pub menu.  Perch Pub is on our Top 10 Places for the Phillies list.

The Perch Pub Bar Experience: Perch Pub is on the 2nd floor with views of South Broad Street above Varalli Restaurant (sound autoplay warning, why?). The bar is facing the wall and has two sections: a long section with about 12 seats connecting to a semi-circular section which wraps around to the wall with about 12 more seats.  Most seats face the wall and the televisions while the seats which wrap around afford a view of the entire bar and a peek at the restaurant beyond.  No seat is bad, expect fewer seats available at Happy Hour and at game time.  Lots of neighborhood residents frequent the place.  I am disappointed that my favorite, and the friendliest, bartender recently left to move to New York.  The remaining staff are friendly and pleasant and will certainly take good care of you.  Definitely recommend.

Business Travelers:  During several visits I have encountered business people dining at the bar while staying in nearby hotels.  Several  business travelers I met eat at the place regularly.  They enjoy the good food and friendly conversation. Perch Pub is absolutely appropriate for any kind of business traveler out alone or with coworkers, colleagues or customers.  Whether you are conducting business or relaxing during your business trip I recommend Perch Pub.  Perch is an good place for woman business travelers traveling alone. Very convenient to nearby hotels on South Broad Street and in the Rittenhouse Square and Midtown Village neighborhoods as well as the theaters.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★☆☆ 

Perch Pub
1345 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-546-4090
Perch Pub Menu
South Philly Review Perch Pub Review

Perch Pub on Urbanspoon

Restaurants: Manage Thy Televisions or Take Them Away

While writing for BarTaste I have seen one trend which can be a big minus for restaurant bars yet can be so easily fixed.  There is widespread lack of attention to what is playing on televisions hanging over restaurant bars.  I am not advocating more televisions nor knocking those places which have none, if you have them you need manage them!  Wisely decide what to show and when.

Restaurants are carefully created with attention to the most minute detail of food, linens, service and bars, too many to list.  Include a bar in your restaurant? Do you include televisions?  Many do not as it does not fit with the concept, the experience they are creating and the targeted customer.  Some of these television-less places are my favorites and I will go again and again.  I don’t need the TV.

You’ve selected the paint and things on your wall with great care yet you have the giant screens which are extremely prominent playing anything and everything without any planning or targeting.  It is a huge missed opportunity to gain and retain a customer, create the environment and experience you desire.  Keep the customer there and get them to spend more money.  Everything counts and the televisions are part of this.

Who is your customer or your targeted clientele?  Perhaps general news, business news, financial news, sports or a movie is best. Maybe it’s game shows on the night you have your Quizo contest.  Experiment, ask your customers what they prefer to see or better yet ask the clientele not coming to your restaurant what they would like to see on television.  You pay attention to every last detail of your business yet let the televisions manage themselves, why?

I’ve seen it done well.  Restaurants in business districts showing financial news channels alongside general news switching to sports as the evening progresses.  They have a plan to keep the customer engaged and spending.  Sports Bar Restaurants immediately changing the changing the channel from the post-game show because they’ve determined no one wants to watch it.  Another is cleverly trying to have the best of the have and have not television world.  A discretely placed television high in the corner, big but barely noticeable which I have never seen turned on.  I asked and was told that it is rarely on and only for that big, very important game or event.  Nice plan, where is your plan?

The bad is really bad.  Televisions which are turned on and the channel is left all day from the cleaning crew the night before.  The financial news channel changes to paid programming selling vacuum cleaners, really?  You want your customer buying vacuums while they eat?  A sports bar restaurant with bartenders too busy and oblivious to put the hometown baseball team game on when there are no other games on, you wonder why no one is there?  Another “sports bar” restaurant showing Wheel of Fortune on every television!?  What is going on, wagering on Vanna White’s dress?  Finally Jeopardy on a HD television tuned to the non-HD channel cutting off the answers, why bother?

This is probably the easiest part of a restaurant to manage.  Just some simple planning is all it takes.  I really begin doubting the care put into other aspects of the restaurant, especially the food, when something as simple as a television is not managed well.  Just take them down if it is too much bother.

I have a nice restaurant bar meal review coming up next.

BarTaste Rating  ★☆☆☆☆ 

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Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)

Rouge – Rittenhouse Square Classic

Photo Courtesy Rouge


Business Travelers:  Do you recommend Rouge for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 4.4/5 (4 votes cast)

Rouge has been a Rittenhouse Square Classic for many years.  Some call it a little scene-ish  but it does have what some call the best burger in the city.  I was looking forward to going back to Rouge for a meal at the bar and do a  review, already knowing what I was going to order.

I arrive Monday, April 23, 2012 around 7:45 PM sit at the bar and order a drink.  This is one of my favorite restaurant bars.  I love a bar centered in the middle of a room where you can look across from almost any seat and see most of the other people at the bar along with a good portion of the restaurant. Although I am not looking out over Rittenhouse Square, my seat is great offering a view of the other bar patrons, half the restaurant and the front door. I am really anticipating enjoying myself.  The burger here is one of  the best I’ve ever had. The people from Rouge also brought us 500° the casual burger place on Samson Street. The person to my left recommends the Grilled Octopus, Steak Tartare and Tuna Tartare. I came for the Pork Milanese and start with the Tuna Tartare.  The meal was excellent as always.

The Rouge Bar Experience: The bar is round, on the smallish side and centered in the middle of the dining room.  The entire place is not large so the bar and the dining room combine for an intimate feel making this bar one of my favorites in the city.  Any of the approximately 18 seats around the bar will make you feel part of the room.  I’ve heard Rouge and the bar described as a snobbish scene filled with pretentious patrons.  I have been here many times and have never found this to be the case.  I highly recommend coming here.  The staff were terrific, extremely friendly and attentive.  Two bartenders squeezed in the space behind the bar.  I realized one was new only after the other was explaining the food ordering system.  The new bartender had been waiting on my and was doing a great job. The other patrons were very friendly and only a few empty sets remained.  No Televisions.

Business Travelers:  A couple traveling on business from Pittsburgh came in for drinks, lucky for them they arrived the day after the Philadelphia Flyers trounced and ended the playoff hopes of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  After several people, including myself, raved about the food, the couple assured us they would be back for several meals during their trip.  The Rouge bar is absolutely appropriate for any kind of business traveler out alone or with coworkers, colleagues or customers.  Whether you are conducting business or relaxing during your trip this is one place where you will be very comfortable.  Rouge is an especially good place for woman business travelers traveling alone.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★★ 

Rouge
205 South 18th Street
Philadelphia PA 19103
215-732-6622
Rouge Menu
UrbanSpoon Rouge Reviews

Rouge on Urbanspoon

Square Peg – Revved Up Comfort Food

Square hole round peg 3D guy

Business Travelers: Do you recommend Square Peg for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.2/5 (2 votes cast)

 

Newcomer Square Peg has been on my list since it opened and I was happy to head there and enjoy a meal at the bar.  I arrived on Friday April 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm concerned that there would be few seats on a Friday but to my surprise there were several at the bar.  I parked myself at the downstairs bar in front a television showing the Phillies game.

I order the Jewish Wedding Soup and then the Breakfast Poutine which I have been wanting ever since I saw a picture.  The Poutine is fried eggs, sausage gravy and crispy bacon over fries.  Both were good.  I have since been back for dinner with friends and have had the Fried Chicken Tacos, Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup and the Cheesesteak Pot Pie.  The second meal was better than the first. Next to try is the Tacos in a Bag.

The Square Peg Bar Meal Experience: Staff is friendly.  The downstairs bar faces the wall and has about 12 seats on the long side and two on the short side with the north side a service area.  There is a bar upstairs and we will save that for our next visit.  The two end seats give a partial view of the restaurant and out the windows onto 10th Street.  Two televisions are at either end on the wall facing the bar with sports on.  This night the Phillies and Flyers were both playing.  I sat near the Phillies TV at the right end of the long side.  Check out the televisions before you sit down as some seats do not offer a view of both

Business Travelers: The restaurant’s location  is a big asset for business travelers on the east side of Broad Street and especially those staying near or attending events at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and those near the Historic District Office Area.  Walking is a good, safe and easy way to go. I suggesting walking south to Walnut Street and east on Walnut to 10th Street, it is a much more pleasant walk.  If you are visiting Jefferson University, Square Peg puts you right in the middle of everything Jefferson.  Many of Philadelphia’s Theaters are within an easy walk. Square Peg is a good place to come alone to sit at the bar and eat or to come with colleagues or customers.  Good for women business travelers traveling alone. Take a look at the menu, the food is great twist on comfort food and old standards.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★☆☆ 

Square Peg
929 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-413-3600
Square Peg Menu
Philly Loves Fun Square Peg Review

Square Peg on Urbanspoon

Misconduct Tavern – Good Food, Good Sports, Good Time

Photo Courtesy Misconduct Tavern



Business Travelers: Do you recommend Misconduct for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.3/5 (3 votes cast)

 

After so looking forward to the Phillies home opener, my friend and I found ourselves in a quickly emptying, very cold and windy Citizens Bank Park.  The Phillies offense was nonexistent (sorry Cole) so we left the park to finish watching the game and enjoy a meal at the bar at Misconduct Tavern.

We got to Misconduct about 3:45pm on Monday, April 9, 2012.  Drowning our sorrows after a sad start to the season, we did not order food immediately, instead we ordered beer. Misconduct was very empty with almost every seat available. We had prime bar seats, right in the middle with a clear view of the televisions.  It was a Monday and we had arrived during the gap between lunch and dinner.  I suspect Monday brings less people also and anyone who played hooky from work to see the opening game had long gone back. The bartender, in her Shane Victorino shirt, was extremely nice, talkative, engaging and very sports knowledgeable.  We were having a fun time even though the place was empty.

We began by ordering the Fried Calamari and the Avocado Fries. The fries were quite good, actually fried pieces of avocado with a terrific garlic aioli dipping sauce, I highly recommend.  The calamari was good as well.  Misconduct also has a rotating daily special selection of homemade hotdogs, an interesting idea but a challenge to execute while trying to present a wide range of novel ingredients.  The selection today

was Mahi, Duck and Spicy Pork.  These are not your normal hotdog prices but the size and ingredients justify a premium.  My friend and I go for one Mahi and one Duck. The hotdogs are good size and look delicious. We were disappointed in the Mahi, not really enjoying its mushy texture. The duck was better but I think we were expecting to be wowed but that did not happen.  I regret not selecting the Spicy Pork, I bet it would have been tasty, and I will be back to sample more of the dogs to get a better idea of how good they really are.

Misconduct is one place I enjoy tremendously.  It is number one on my top 10 list of places to watch the Phillies and eat at the bar.  It’s the excellent, friendly staff, nicely sized bar, engaging patrons and televisions which combine to make for a great experience.  The bar is long and faces the wall but is such a big presence within the total space that almost any seat is a good seat.  There are about 18 seats on the long side of the bar and about 5 on the short side.  Our fun waitress changed the channel from the postgame show once the Phillies game ended which was fine with us.  I asked about this and she said people have little interest in postgame show and they always change the channel.  After talking to her a little more it seems they pay close attention to what is on TV at any particular time, detail I find lacking in many bars which purport to be “Sports Bars”  You walk in and suddenly you are watching reruns of Wheel of Fortune on giant beautiful HD televisions and you can tell that the management just does not care.  Kudos to Misconduct for caring and saving me from Game Show Network reruns. I give a 4 star rating as I have been here many times and thoroughly enjoy the food and my time spent eating at the bar.

Business Travelers: Misconduct is a good place to come alone to sit at the bar and eat or to come with colleagues or customers.  Good for women business travelers traveling alone. It is a casual gastropub with food a good notch above typical bar food.  It can become too lively for some during a few peak times and significant sporting events so plan accordingly.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆ 

Misconduct Tavern
1511 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-732-5797
Misconduct Tavern Menu
TripAdvisor Misconduct Tavern Reviews

Misconduct Tavern on Urbanspoon