NFT Philadelphia Fishtown / Port Richmond

Fishtown / Port Richmond

Essentials
A longtime working-class, European immigrant area, Fishtown and Port Richmond are brimming with neighborhood bars and pride. This area has recently received a shot in the arm from downtown refugees seeking affordable first buys. Even though housing prices are shooting up in response, it remains a relatively affordable area.

Sundries/Entertainment
Ida Mae's is a must for any self-respecting pancake lover. Tacconelli's serves up perfect pizza. Memphis Taproom has an incredible list of brews (and vegan eats). Green Rock works well as your local but keep See more.

>Frankford Hall in your back pocket for destination beer. Caffeine up at Rocket Cat, Reanimator or Milkcrate.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Greensgrow Farmstand
Step away from the fried onion rings: the pilgrims didn't have 'em, nor did they watch cranberry sauce and cream of mushroom soup plop out of their respective cans like slick slugs of food on turkey day. Okay, I'm not actually going to tell you that you shouldn't put grandma's green-bean casserole in the oven this Thanksgiving, but I am going to tell you this: Greensgrow, the urban farm out in Fishtown, is having a special Thanksgiving farmer's market. Stop by on Tuesday and Wednesday between 2 pm and 6 pm, and you can snag fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, plus other goods like eggs, dream-worthy Amish butter, and the DiBruno Brothers' "sexy" olive pack (seriously, the word sexy is on the package). Now, this is the part of this write-up when I should conclude with some stupid comment about how easy access to locally grown food is one of the things I'm thankful for this year. But as true as that is, using that as a concluding line is just too damn cheesy.



Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

Exxon
First of all, you have to realize how incredibly ridiculous this place looks in the setting of Port Richmond north Philly sprawl, where the corners of the intersection feature a Radio Shack and some guy selling Phillies jerseys out of a tent. The square columns for the overhang of the gas pumps are painted with booming speakers set aflame. All windows of the "Grilladelphia" are tinted red. Badly painted iconic images of Tina Turner, Jim Morrison (pictured here, with an admirer), and Gene Simmons decorate the facade. Lest I forget the giant yellow peace sign abutting an image of soot-spewing smokestacks with the slogan "MUSIC IS OUR OIL." Who is responsible for this? Not an Exxon conglomerate, not the gas station's owners. It's The Roots (sort of)! The idea of the "MUSIC IS OUR OIL" World Tour is to "send America's greatest Hip-Hop and Rock artists to oil producing countries to barter music and other essential commodities for 20 million barrels of oil. The 20 million barrels of crude oil will be transferred into 125-gallon MIO gas cards, which will be distributed to 3.2 million Americans thru the Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) program." No word yet on the results.



Posted By:  Nikki Volpicelli
Photo:  Nikki Volpicelli

Pop's Skatepark
The locals may be sans teeth, but for the most part they're friendly, and they're all for rebuilding long forgotten "Pop's Playground' into a skateboard park to steer the local youth towards a productive extra curricular activity. Joan Long, native of New (and Old) Kensington, says she can't remember a time when the playground was in use. The New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), with the help of Exit Skate Shop and other volunteers, are in the trenches, working to change that. Building ramps and digging holes to root trees, moving bricks from one side of the park to the other, and working to raise money to compute the project via financial sponsors, art shows and parties. Jesse Clayton, project manager, says the project will not be complete until winter, but the park will be safe to skate long before then. To speed up the process, contact Steve Miller of Exit Skate shop for volunteer info.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Sketch
Hello, hype. I see you got to Sketch before me. All over the Philadelphia internets, people seem excited about the new burger-and-shake joint from the fine folks who brought us Canvas Coffee. Look: Sketch is really tasty, but it's not amazing. For example: beyond lettuce, tomato, and sauce, all of the extra toppings are a dollar. Even onion. $1 for onion on your burger! I think you can buy a whole onion for less than $1. Anyway. I ordered the vegan burger, which was delicious and homemade. But the reactions of my meat-eating compatriots varied widely. One of my friends said her burger was too pink to do more than nibble around the edges, but my boyfriend said his burger was one of the best he's ever eaten. I say: definitely go try Sketch for yourself. It's good. Just don't get too hyped up before you go.



Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

Circle Thrift
Perhaps you have recently rambled up Frankford, north of Girard… and perhaps you'd noticed, gasped, almost fainted when you realized "CIRCLE THRIFT IS GONE?!" Perhaps you held a silent memorial for its wares, saddened for all the dusty records and lonely-one-half-BFF-heart keychains you'd never discover. Quit your fretting. If you hadn't fainted back there you would have kept going up the road and realized, "Hey! Now this place has and even better spot two blocks up to scrounge for Urban Outfitters rejected samples!" Circle Thrift has a new home, a grey cinderblock space which is clean, much easier to navigate, and where you can actually see all the shoes. Though I don't typically find many "finds" at Circle Thrift (the vintage dress selection is not so great), it's become a staple of Fishtown/Kensington. And I'm happy to report it's thriving anew.



Posted By:  Nikki Volpicelli
Photo:  Nikki Volpicelli

Kung Fu Necktie
A dark lit room, a huge LCD screen playing "Mystery Science Theatre" (and, of course, Kung Fu hits) and a stage that looks like it used to be home to many a stripper (and now houses an innocent game of 'bumper pool'): these are the innards of the Kung Fu Necktie, the former "Penalty Box" dive and present Fishtown hit. The theme to this place to the untrained eye is Chinese underground ninja meets New York hipster (owner David Schwartz co-owns Lit Lounge in NYC), and the selection is great, price is average. If you're looking for a deal, pick up a pitcher of Kenzinger for 9 bucks, and if you like to smoke when you drink, there's a small, fenced-in courtyard complete with a picnic table and a multitude of chairs which is fair game when it comes to public drinking laws. And I saw the free Camel guy there once. It's true.



Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

Kung Fu Necktie
Did you see what Kung Fu Necktie was before it was KFN? It was a place called The Penalty Box where the bartender knew everyone's name but apparently wasn't familiar with "bourbon." "What's a bourbon?" she asked me! I couldn't believe it! The Penalty Box could throw a good Freak Show (literally--they had Red Stuart swallow swords and have money stapled to him). But now it's a thing of the past. The whole place has gone through a transformative overhaul, with a dark wooden bar, gold walls, Buddhist decor and booths you're allowed to sit in while you drink (they don't serve food... yet). It's one of those bars where the beers range from $3-5, they have Blue Moon on tap (whatever), and decent and fun neighborhoody young hipsters hang out nightly. Let's just call it KFN from now on, k?



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Kung Fu Necktie
From the ashes of a neighborhood bar that hosted sword-swallowing shows and featured a bartender who wasn't familiar with bourbon rises a pheonix: Kung Fu Necktie. It's a terrible name, yes, one that drips with such overly aware hipness that I wonder if they named the bar that as a joke. But listen to me, friend: this is a lovely spot with good liquor and beer (Brooklyn Brewery Pumpkin Ale! Kensinger! Twisted Tea! Oh, wait...). There are lots of tables too, and unlike nearly every other bar with tables in this city, Kung Fu Necktie doesn't serve food, which means that you can actually sit and talk to your friends over beers without feeling the pressure to order something from an ever-present waitress with an asymmetrical haircut (don't worry, my hair's asymmetrical too. I can say it.) Will Kung Fu Necktie be overcrowded soon? Sure. Is the existing crowd of patrons already super-hip? Yup. But despite that, for right now it's a pleasant place to be. Oh, as my friend put it, slumped on the table after I-don't-know-how-many pints, "I think I like this place too much." Indeed.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Greensgrow Farmstand
The big, unsurprising Thanksgiving news this year? It's good to buy locally grown turkey-day foods. Vegetarian Times used the fresh-food buzzword "heirloom," the New York Times went for "locovore," and everywhere in between, people are extolling the value of getting your Thanksgiving goods close to home. We all know it's a good idea--locally grown food is fresh, helps your community's economy, and gives you the ability to let people know that you're a better human than they are when you buy local and they don't. But where do you get all of these lovely local goods? After all, most of the farmers markets and farmstands are closed for the year... or are they? This year, the fantastic people at Greensgrow Farms are offering a special Thanksgiving market on November 25 and 26 from 2-6 pm. Unfortunately, it's too late to sign up for a local gobbler from them, but you can still stop by to get all sorts of delicious side dish ingredients, and maintain that smug "I'm doing something good" feeling.



Posted By:  Nikki Volpicelli
Photo:  Nikki Volpicelli

Memphis Taproom
Apparently, after Craig Laban's review of the pickles here, everyone flocks for the beer-battered kosher dills. I didn't. The waitress advised me that after a platter of ten, I would no longer have my drinking waist on. And I didn't want that. Instead, I opted for two of her favorites: the Pilsner Brines Hot Wings with Blue Cheese and the Suicide Sweet & Spicy Onion Rings with Habanero Cream. She wasn't lying. The onion "rings" were actually thinly sliced, lightly breaded and delicate enough to fall apart in the thick, creamy and quite spicy habanero dip. It was a Lonestar "bloomin' onion" fit for a queen, as opposed to a bunch of hungry ten year olds and their mini-van driving mom.



Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Ekta
The chef who originally brought you Tiffin has opened a marvelous spot on East Girard... and Ekta is hot as hell. This is not only true of food temperature and spice. The present in-house dining area can seat merely 8 people, and if you nudged the cashier to the right and had decidedly good aim, you could potentially spit into your own food--while they are cooking it. It's really freaking small and hot in there. But fret not. If you aren't satisfied with take-out or delivery, a second floor dining room is in the works. With similar menu items, Ekta could seem blase. But the price is right at about $8 an entree, and the menu features a few new things--basil and rosemary naan? Two each, please.



Posted By:  Julius DeAngelus
Photo:  Julius DeAngelus

DiPinto
Jack White plays a Dipinto. So does Dick Dale. That means you should at least see what the fuss is about by heading down to Girard Avenue. Careful, you might miss it if you're driving--two trees partially block the bright red and white sign. Dipinto guitars and basses are bold: glitter, bright colors, racing stripes... well, you get the idea. Dipinto also has an arch top series with two beautiful models, the Philadelphian and the Bacchus. Along the store walls are guitars of various models so don't let the sign out front fool you--they also sell strats, teles and pauls plus some models you've probably never heard of. What the hell is a Kalamazoo or a Decca/Teisco? Looking for an acoustic? They have them as well, some dating back to the fifties and sixties. Amps? Yep. Oh, and they also sell mandolins, keyboards and vintage arch tops. I'm a lefty and I think that compared to other stores they have a decent selection of lefties but that seems to be dwindling a bit recently. Still, I always check them out... you never know what you're going to find.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

The Little Thrift Shop
Old Attorney Pants. While it might sound like a silly nickname for a lawyer, it's also what you might be able to find at The Little Thrift Shop, a store that recently moved into the Thomas Landis Law Office on Girard. "Oh," I thought when I saw the sign. "There's a thrift shop where the law office used to be!" No, not quite. There's a thrift shop there, yes, but the window is also peppered with signs about how the lawyer is still practicing, and he has evening and weekend appointments available. The thrift shop itself is nothing all that special; it feels like your typical garage sale. There is a sign that says the money goes to charity, but if it turns out that it doesn't, don't worry--I have the number for a lawyer.



Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

Scoops
Scoops is an ice cream window and it's pretty die-hard. It's open every day, sells 5 cent candy and wiffle ball-and-bat sets, water ice, lottery tickets and pizza nuggets (and so much more). Pizza nuggets, if you're not familiar with this neighborhood delicacy, are fashioned with Philly pretzel pieces, marinara and mozzarella, and microwaved to perfection. Although not as common as Artic Iced Tea, you can see many a street urchin cupping their pizza nuggets close to their chests while patrolling the neighborhood. The most brilliant thing about Scoops is the fact that it's open year round. That means I can have birthday cake ice cream on my birthday and you better believe I'm making it a tradition. And so should you.



Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

Greensgrow Farmstand
Community Supported Agriculture. The phrase has sterility to it, but mostly it's just troubling. Do they support the agriculture with weight-bearing rods and old-fashioned pulleys? Or is the community made up of humans with very strong backs? I found out no human pyramids are involved. Just raspberries. Farm eggs. Mountains of kale. Swiss cheese. The CSA is a food program run by a really cool local market/nursery that knows local farmers and bakers and even breweries. They say, hey, these city people need some locally grown food because it sustains Philly's economy and food is healthier and tastes better, etc., and then they get it for you. So I signed up. From May through November (that's 6 months people) I'm getting a "Half Share." For a total of $420 bucks--again, over six months this is $70/mo. Every other week I get to go to Greensgrow in Fishtown/Port Richmond and pick up food. This week I get: Peas, strawberries, Napa cabbage, spring mix, a bunch of kale, homemade pierogies, kohlrabi (what is that? from SPACE?) and my choice of a dairy item. For responsible meat lovers: There's a share especially for you, too. For timid cooks: Each share comes with a newsletter complete with recipes! For all of you who want to sign up next year: It happens in the spring, so make a point to get on the list early!



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Tiny Bike!
It's no secret that the young men of Fishtown and Port Richmond love riding vehicles that are not appropriate for the city streets. Every day my neighborhood buzzes with the diesel rumble of motorized scooters, tiny motorcycles, and four wheelers. For whatever reason, these inappropriate vehicles are status symbols around here. But OMFG, this kid got the inappropriate-vehicle-as-status memo so wrong and so right because he is riding a CLOWN BIKE. SERIOUSLY. Look at that thing. The wheels can't be any more than five inches in diameter. I want him to be followed by a brass band and some elephants. And kid, if you come across this post, seriously: do not think I am making fun of you. I am in love with you for riding your tiny bike around my neighborhood. If you ever need someone to spot you when you ride your tiny bike across a tight rope, please: just let me know.



Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

El Bar
The El Bar is under the Market-Frankford El. This is not a scary place at night--despite any images you may be conjuring of under-the-train establishments. On a given night at El Bar you might find: 1) a million hipsters, 2) a million thrashers, or 3) no one at all. That last one is a rarity. But not impossible. I can attest to the fact that select Saturday evenings--pending no show scheduled in the stupidly busy calendar of loud bands--you could have a whole bar to yourself. Just your friends, a 75 cent pool table, two cats and bartender who emulates Chef from South Park. That, coupled with 5 dollar drinks in 16oz glasses with a heavy hand on the bottle equals a good time.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Father & Sons Pizza & Pasta
I love pizza. That's why I can't believe it took me two years of living in Fishtown to find a local pizza place I like. It's not as if I didn't try: I had run-ins with the mediocrity of Key Pizza and the straight-up horror of Jimmy's Old London. But after a while I got tired of eating bad pizza just for the sake of experimentation, and I resigned myself to the fact that if I wanted delivery, I was best off getting Chinese food or Tiffin. But recently I was walking by Father & Sons, and I stopped in to pick up a slice. Holy goodness! It was a fantastic combination of thin-but-not-too-thin dough, slightly sweet sauce, and delicious cheese. If you live in the Fishtown area, don't bother fooling around with anything else: Father & Sons has your pizza.



Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

Memphis Taproom
Being a complete computer idiot, I’m on the internet most of the day. Thusly, the first thing that attracted me to Memphis Tap was its sassy website. Allured by the thought of a brew pub in Port Fishington (on the border of Fishtown and Port Richmond), I visited just after it opened in early May. They have what you might expect from a bar menu—sammiches, hummus, fried onions nicknamed “Walla Walla Suicide Rings.” You might have to pay a little more than “cheap” to get them though—Memphis’ menu serves only local food, which yeah, makes your pulled pork $8 instead of $6. But they aren’t trying to hose you, I promise. My Monk’s Flemish Sour (on tap) was only $4, and the owners say they hope to keep the local beer as affordable as possible. One of the owners pointed down the crowded bar and reflected, “I keep thinking to myself: I opened a bar in Kensington/Fishtown, and I don’t even have Lager.” Affordable amazing beers? I can get behind that.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby
Few events are quite as entertaining as a good ol' kinetic sculpture derby. One part art and fashion show, one part heart-thumping race, and one part mud wrestling, I'm pretty sure that such derbies are the perfect modern American entertainment. Hey, when I went to the Kensington derby last year, a lot of the sculptures even had shiny things. Now I know what you're thinking: "Meg! That sure does sound like a lot of entertainment, but I also need to keep my jaw moving and my cash circulating, and you didn't mention anything about food or shopping." Well! The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby is also part of the Trenton Avenue Arts fest, where you can get lots of great food, beer, and wares from local artists. So mark your calendar for May 17 (at 2 pm): you have a date with some serious entertainment.




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Restaurants (18)
Nightlife (16)
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