“Screw it, I’m getting a burger.” -Clutch

JB went to Hollywood on business and left Clutch and I to our own demises. I gave it some thought and turned to Clutch. “Frankford Hall mean anything to you?” I asked. “Not particularly,” he replied. “It’s down the street from The Barbary, let’s go,” I said. It was unclear what it all meant for civility and local rituals. “When in Rome…in Rome..” I mumbled. My thoughts trailed off. JB was working on something big on the west coast and the future depended on it. A shady cab ride later we arrived out front of Frankford Hall; 40 people stood out front waiting to get in. “Is that it? You’d think they were trying to get into a New York Club,” said Clutch.

We turned and started to walk away when yellow polo popped collar (YPPC) stumbled down the street with his friends. “HEYYYY LETS…FRANKFORD HALL,” he belted out. The bouncer took a deep breath and sighed. “Guys you can’t come in here with beers,” said the Bouncer. YPPC looked down at his hand shocked a beer had magically appeared. “LET ME SHOTGUN THIS MILLER LITE THEN,” yellow polo popped collar yelled. They cut to the front of the line. WHY CAN’T WE GET IN? YPPC shouted again. The bouncer crossed his arms. Just go guys, you aren’t getting in here. YPPC glared at me staring. He walked over and threw his arm around my shoulder. “YOU! YOU MAN! WHEREEVER THIS GUY IS GOING, WE’RE GOING. I’M GETTING MARRIED!!” he yelled in my ear. Clutch tried to skulk away. “OH NO BUDDY YOU CAN COME TOO,” he continued to use his outdoor concert voice.

In one of my finer moves I pointed across the street spun him around and gave him a push towards it. “Get some,” I yelled and started I walked away. “Where are we going then?” asked Clutch. I pointed at Johnny Brenda’s. “Initials are JB, it’s destiny,” I said to Clutch. He nodded. I text JB informing him of our JB destiny. His only reply, “I’m drunk and trying to ride a wild donkey.” My own curious indiscretion stopped me from asking follow up questions.

We stepped inside and were greeted by the familiar scratches, skips, and hums of a vinyl record. “Yeah, fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me,” Black Sabbath blared through the speakers above my head. Damn that sounded good. “Let’s order up one of those $7 dollar craft beers,” I said to Clutch. He pushed his way through the maze of people, pool table and bar stools. The place couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a restaurant or a bar; either way I strongly approved.

The locals separated themselves into two waring families. The top catered to the live music scene, patrons that clearly had a handle on all things music critiqued the downstairs beer buffs.

The upstairs music aficionados: “Larry. LARRY! Do you see that? The yupsters keep invading our local dive. Oh, let me go get an $8 dollar beer. Maybe I should extend my pinky while having a sip. That’s right f*ck-o, make sure you get nice and pretentious while drinking your local Philly brews. I’ll take a PBR and a burger any day and sit in the corner staring at you.”

The downstairs beer enthusiasts: “Look at them up there. Unruly swine think we can’t appreciate good music with a great beer. Oh we don’t understand the chromatic polyphony tetra-chords within the secular monophonic concerto? Yes but of course I know. Top hat monocle, yes indeed. — It’s just some god damn metal. Screw it, I’m getting a burger and sitting in the corner.”

I realized they had one thing right. The burgers were amazing. The real problem wasn’t that they hated each other. It was that no one could seem to get into Frankford Hall. He was the cool guy that was always getting laid. Johnny Brenda’s got the left overs. Hey man, enjoy the annoying friend no one wants. What did it matter anyway what Frankford Hall thought. They should just turn up some Iron Maiden and give it the finger. Yeah, that’s right you prick. Enjoy your garden, fire-pit, and full liter mugs of delicious and moderately priced beers. Actually that sounds pretty good…

The bottom line:

Hours:  11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Crowd:  Hipster
Music: Live | Background
Price range:  $$
Accepts Credit Cards:  Yes
Dance floor:  No
Outdoor area: No
Coat check: No

This place is pretty happening. It does get a lot of overflow from Frankford Hall but this place stands on it’s own two feet. It’s got a great ever changing beer selection, the food is pretty phenomenal and there’s a live music scene. They’re always playing some fantastic music on Vinyl, music snob or not if you’ve got any kind of ear for sound you’re going to love it.

Johnny Brenda’s

1201 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA

(215) 739-9684