Friday, March 7, 2008

thoughts on philadelphia weekly's bar rankings

Those insufferable hipsters at Philadelphia Weekly have just come out with their list of the city's Top 50 bars, though I can't say the choices make me too eager to raise a glass. It's an interesting roster, to say the least, and by my count I've been to 27 of the joints on offer, which is either sad or some degree of awesome, depending on one's perspective. What's obvious, however, is that much (if not all) of the PW staff has never set foot in an actual neighborhood bar: Many of their selections reflect the standard litany of trendy spots where it seems just as important to be seen sipping a PBR pounder or quaffing some micro-brew-of-the-month as it is to, say, just sort of sit there and, you know, drink, which is my own preferred method barstool-sitting, be it alone or with like-minded others. Having enjoyed, a little more than a year ago, one of the greatest evenings of my long and less-than-distinguished drinking career at a little hole called McCusker's, way down at 17th and Shunk in South Philly (don't ask), I find it remarkable the PW crew could do no better than to identify Oscar's Tavern (a fine dive in its own right, to be sure) as it's preferred smoky little spot. In all honesty, I'd like to think these self-appointed arbiters of dive-bar decorum would venture a bit farther than a couple of blocks from their offices to find something else with such character, but I should have known better. Besides, any list of the city's best bars that fails to include Cherry Street Tavern (22nd & Cherry), with its simple menu of hand-carved sandwiches, a friendly-but-never-overbearing staff, and a dark, quiet atmosphere conducive to all sorts of good conversation, especially in the wee hours, is no real list at all. Thanks, but no thanks, PW. I'm going somewhere else.

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