Frankford Hall Fills Philly Beer Garden Niche

A lot of city residents have probably never spent much time in the neighborhood of Fishtown.  Until the past few years, there never had been much reason to head up to the Girard Avenue and north area.  Now, there is.  There are some terrific bars and restaurants in the area, including restaurant/music venue Johnny Brendas, Italian BYO Modo Mio, hipster hangout Kung Fu Necktie and sandwich shop extraordinaire Paesanos.  Memphis Taproom is also not too far away in Kensington.

Frankford Hall is both the latest addition to Stephen Starr empire and his first foray into Fishtown.  It’s themed as a beer garden in the true German tradition.  That means there’s no women waitresses coming around dressed with lederhosen carrying pitchers of beers in tables.  In fact, only tourist traps like the Munich Hofbräuhaus have such features.  Instead, Frankford Hall has walk-up bars to order your beer and food, and it has table service only for food deliveries.  It’s definitely different than how people in town are used to dining and drinking in Philly.

Upon entrance, there’s an indoor area that holds close to 100 people as well as a couple of bars.  In the outdoor courtyard area, located in the middle of the bar, there are roughly 29 outdoor picnic-style benches as well as a bar and area to order food.   The bars feature nine beers on taps (such as the usual German beer suspects of Hefe-Weizen and Spaten Oktoberfest), ten bottles including Miller Lite and Yuengling Lager and three wines.  Two ping pong tables are also available for anyone to play.

As far as the food and drink, they’re pretty good.  The famed pretzel is very soft and flavorful but yet crispy on the outside.  Watch out and don’t put too much of the mustard, which includes some horseradish.  It packs quite a kick.  The knockwurst and potato pancakes also stood out among the food offerings.

There are a few negatives.  Philly is a cold weather city, so the outdoor area, which triples the size of the venue, can’t remain accessible all season.  Also, because of the setup, you can’t start up a credit card tab.

Overall, Frankford Hall definitely has less pretense than the majority of Stephen Starr’s venues.  Instead of the traditional attire to Stephen Starr restaurants, no one wearing shorts and t-shirts are out of place.   The prices are relatively fair ($4 for Miller Lite and Yuengling lager and $6-6.50 for draft pints/half liters).  As another bonus, it’s only located a block from the SEPTA Market-Frankford Line.

Check out Frankford Hall for good German food, excellent beers and, soon enough, television screens to watch sporting events.

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