National Mechanics (PA)

“It’s like partying at an airport; you’ve got to wait in line.” -Clutch

Dissonance, resonance, now clear your throat! It was an upset; the losing side of a winning team. Clutch refused to speak. He stared at the ground, dismal, dragging down the road. Keep calm man, we’ll figure out what’s wrong. “I need clarity you degenerate thug!” I yelled at Clutch. He stuffed his hands in his pockets as he moped down the street towards National Mechanics. I looked around for a tin can for him to kick. As we arrived out front of the Roman triumph of a bar Clutch finally spoke up. “Iceman got washed down the drain,” sighed Clutch. I patted him on the back and reassured him there would be other silver dollar sized spiders willing to hangout in the corner of his bathtub. (see Mac’s Tavern)

Drunks stumbled down the stairs passed us, hollering and jumping about. Debauchery! Behold the ancient greatness before you! Stone columns rose from the ground like hands holding up the sky. Stained glass windows and tall wooden doors offset the white blur before us. It was a picturesque moment of drinking standards. A guy gripped his friend’s shoulder tight as they slowly descended the stairs. He stopped and stared blankly. Finally someone was in awe of the architecture. He raised his hand about to speak, then spewed all over the ground. It was the new American Dream in action. We climbed the stairs and went inside.

Droves of eager boozers filled the small building, bobbing back and forth. I waded through the crowd preparing my finest maneuvering skills. Push, shove, kick, block! A grueling match ensued. Triumph came as I reached the bar; money extended, smile on my face. Two bartenders hustled back and forth flipping and stacking cups. I was passed by 4 times. Others who just joined the mad dash for a drink were served first. Two girls approached me. “If they stop let’s just order together,” she said smiling. I agreed action needed to be taken. Waving and yelling like an idiot was working for the other 20 people around me; I kept some dignity. After a clear 10 minute wait two $3 16 Oz. PBR Pounders were placed in front of me. It was a clear win for National Mechanics; longest time to serve the only calm, smiling, and patient customer with money in hand.

Clutch and I made our way to the back of the room to get a fix on the rest of the situation. The DJ raged, blasting mixes from Skrillex to House of Pain. He flawlessly mixed one song into the next. Deranged girls swung their arms in the air, wooing and shouting. Fists hit the sky, while guys thrashed and grinded on anything that moved. I feared for the stools, tables and any waitress that passed too close.

I realized years ago mad scientists gathered at this very location. “We need a place to both drink and perform experiments.” Indeed! Seconded good sir! “Then it’s settled! We shall line the walls with unique contraptions, abstract light bulbs, and odd artifacts such as dead bugs, mirrors and bottles that will line the walls. Huzzah! But surely Doctor Dubwubski you cannot forget space for your music machine! One day a man shall play booming sounds that quake the very foundation! This bar was special. It was as if Tesla bitch slapped Edison and mad science was in fashion.

Lines for the bathroom stretched along the walls, 12 people deep. Two doors were marked unisex out of welded bolts. Tempers raged and smells oozed from under the doors. People made quick friends over the common enemy. A beautiful girl in line next to me introduced herself. I was ready to shine. “This is my first time here, it’s pretty amazing,” I said to her. She smiled. “The bathrooms are serious business. This one time a girl threw a glass at someones head. It wasn’t me or anything,” she said with a devilish grin. Swoon.

I returned to where Clutch was, a well dressed man in a bow tie attempted to make friends with Clutch. The man feverishly threw his arm in the air, waving them in all directions, bleating and bellowing. Clutch stared amused. “This guy just told me he’s a Nigerian Prince,” said Clutch. “Did he ask you for money?” I asked. Clutch shook his head. “Watch this,” Clutch replied. “You should give me a loan, man. Then we can all drink lots of PBR,” said Clutch to the guy. The guy had a strange panic stricken look on his face as if Clutch just said he was going to dissect him. He slowly backed away and quietly fist pump in the corner. As with many other nights, we took this as a sign to leave.

The bottom line:

Hours:  5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Crowd:  Casual | College
Music: DJs | Background
Price range:  $$
Accepts Credit Cards:  Yes
Dance floor:  Yes
Outdoor area: No
Coat check: No

A very unique club style bar for Olde City (at least on the weekends). Savage women fill the tiny bar, though weekdays are entirely more relaxed. They have around 30 selections of beer on draft and bottles. Weekend service tends to be slow, but the servers hustle back and forth with great ferocity to make up for the bartenders. If you’re looking for some good old fashion college bar scene goodness, then check it out! If nothing else, it’s one of the most unique looking bars in the city.

National Mechanics
(215) 701-4883
22 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA