“Shady as hell on the outside, amazing talent on the inside.” – Zero
I had a funky feelin’ that tonight was gonna be alright. It was Funk night at Ortlieb’s Lounge. Kitsune (See PEX) just landed a new job so we decided to boogie down and ride the soul train train to celebrate. The bar had recently re-opened; formally known as Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus. A friend recommended we check the place out. “You’ll be happily surprised, the place is magic,” he said. Curiosity always got the best of me.
We arrived to a dimly lit building with a bright red sign glowing in a tiny window – ORTLIEBS. It made me uncomfortable like it was trying to apologize to me. Dive bars usually don’t apologize for their appearance. They’re like that fat guy on the subway who hasn’t bathed in a week. He doesn’t want to apologize or share the cheesesteak he’s eating. Where did he even get the damn thing? Too many questions, not enough time for clarity. We stepped in to the bar expecting the best.
The world transformed around us. A second ago I was worried about my kidneys, now I was inside a lair constructed solely of wood paneling. My eyes darted around the room. At least 15 people were proudly wearing flannel shirts. Now we’d done it. It was a some sort of lumberjack convention; they were probably regaling stories about skinning trees and nailing them to the walls. The conversations must have gone like this: “Did you see that tree? HA HA HA not anymore! It’s skin is our walls! Mwahahaha.” “What are you staring at?” interrupted Kitsune. “Nothing, forget it,” I squinted my eyes at them. They knew.
She dragged me to a cozy little table across from the bar. Overhead red lights and tiny candles on every table gave the bar an ambient sense of warmth. I quickly forgot about the lumberjack squad and relaxed as the band set up. The building itself was only a few feet wide but it extended the length of at two buildings. A stage separated the drinkers from the eaters; everyone needed boundaries.
Kitsune ordered up a round of Pabst. They were $2.50 each and they offered a wide range of cheap drinks. Not bad I thought. Kitsune sat back down at the table and pointed across the room. “Look who’s here,” she said. I looked over and saw a flannel wearing version of JB. “What the..Is it him?” I asked. She shrugged her shoulders. I text JB, “There’s a flannel hipster version of you here, JBipster.” just to see if he was screwing with us. The text back stated: “Jager bowling bitches yeah!!”. Obviously it meant he was out with some very nice girls sipping Jägermeister and bowling.
A few guys sat down behind instruments on stage. No singer was in sight. It quickly turned into a good old fashioned jam session. As the night went on shady patrons entered the bar with instruments strapped to their backs: keyboard, saxophone, guitar, and even a trombone. What’s going on here? Who are these people? One by one they whipped out their instruments and started to jam along. They flawlessly exchanged members moving from one jam to the next. Each musician gave the night a different vibe and feel. It was ad-libbed funky blues of aww-yeah. I remembered the magic my friend spoke of. It was a subtle hint. We had walked straight into the Hogwarts school of music. Shady as hell on the outside, talent on the inside. We were surrounded by wandering magic minstrels. After an almost 2 hour nonstop set the bar cheered the players on. It was nice to end up at a place where everyone genuinely encouraged each others talents.
The bottom line:
|Hours: 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Crowd: Casual | Hipster
|Price range: $$
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
|Dance floor: No
Outdoor area: No
Coat check: No
Ortlieb’s is pretty interesting to say the least, it’s an outlet for Temple’s music school. If you’re not afraid of a refined hipster crowd and you’re looking for something way different, say the blues, jazz, or even a little comedy, then go check it out. Every night is something different. Check their website for exact drink specials and shows that evening!
847 N. Third St, Philadlephia pa 19123