Craft beer is big business these days, particularly in Philadelphia, a serious beer town gaining accolades for its suds scene. So what makes the Philadelphia region’s beer scene so great? The bottle shops, for starters. These shops offer hundreds if not thousands of specialty beers to try individually and in “mix-a-six” format. What’s more, many of these shops fill growlers of draft beer to go and offer food to accompany the bountiful beer offerings.
Here’s a look at some of Philadelphia’s can’t-be-beat bottle shops:
The Corner Foodery – The king of the local bottle shop chain known as The Foodery, Rittenhouse Square’s The Corner Foodery features wood paneling, booth seating and gourmet hot sandwiches. More importantly, this popular spot stocks 650 bottles and numerous drafts available to drink on site or to take home. This location offers online ordering, while the original, more basic locations have as much, if not more, beer, deli-style food and a casual feel.
1710 Sansom Street, (215) 567-1500; 324 S. 10th Street, (215) 928-1111; 837 N. 2nd Street, (215) 238-6077; 6148 Ridge Avenue, (215) 238-6077; fooderybeer.com
Monde Market – This spot may look like a simple convenience store and take-out deli (with made-to-order breakfast sandwiches for a few bucks and change), but it offers one of the city’s best bottle selections. Rare finds are available here—and at prices that reflect the no-frills environment.
100 S. 21st Street, (215) 496-0564
Beer Heaven – Locals don’t let the location in a South Philadelphia strip mall deter them from what may be the best craft beer bargains in the city. The neatly stocked selections and clean layout provides a well-organized shopping experience for customers who spend less and get more in a wide array of 750 ml bottles from Europe and the U.S.
1100 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 271- 5248.
The Bottle Shop – This relative newcomer on the hip East Passyunk strip looks like a take-out spot, but acts more like a bar with cold bottles lining the wall. Customers can hang out and drink their purchases, play Quizzo, sample draft beers and mingle with brewery reps during tap takeovers. The shop sells gluten-free beers and ciders, along with beer glasses, T-shirts and even onsies.
1837 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 551-5551.
Brew/Ultimo Coffee –This Newbold bottle shop has even more going for it than its impressive several-hundred-strong bottle selection: It’s owned by the same restaurateur who opened the iconic South Philadelphia Tap Room, and it’s the site of Ultimo Coffee, named the best coffee shop in the country by The Daily Meal. Patrons can grab a coffee from the barista, grab a brew from the cooler or sample free monthly tastings led by brewery reps.
1900 S. 15th Street, (215) 339-5177.
Bottle Shop at Local 44 – One of Philly’s favorite bar ownership teams (Leigh Maida, Brendan Hartranft and Brendan Kelly) opened one of the city’s most carefully curated bottle shops, right next to its destination beer bar/restaurant Local 44. Though the list is relatively compact at 500, managers take great care in selecting some of the world’s finest and rarest brews. Customers can drink a cask ale while they shop, and every Monday a brewery rep leads a happy hour tasting with discounts on bottles. The quiet store also stays open until midnight seven days a week.
4333 Spruce Street, (215) 222-CANS.
Bottle Bar East – It’s a bar. It’s a bottle shop. It’s Bottle Bar East, a low-key Fishtown hangout with 700 bottles and cans filling coolers near the entrance. In the back, bartenders and cooks serve cold drafts and hot food. On certain nights, bands play, DJs spin and burlesque dancers do what it is they do.
1308 Frankford Avenue, (267) 909-8867.
Craft Beer Outlet – This Northeast Philadelphia spot maintains a serious roster of locals, along with rarities from around the world. Prices are lower than most, seven taps fill growlers and comfortable seating in the back makes for a relaxing place to sample. Store clerks happily take requests and try to fill special orders.
9910 Frankford Avenue, (215) 632-2722.
Beer Store – Three thousands different beers — that’s what’s on offer at this beer lover’s haven. The Beer Store also sells elegant growlers, boasts a nice cigar selection and houses a small bar in the back that serves beers by the pint or flight and pub food cooked on a fryer.
488 2nd Street Pike, Southampton, (215) 355-7373.
Trenton Road Take Out – Sometimes the allure of a bottle shop comes down to selection over ambiance. What this take-out shop may lack in ambiance, it makes up for with its variety and convenience. Customers can shop from 950 different beer bottles, fill a growler and buy a sandwich and a lottery ticket all in one trip.
1024 Trenton Road, Fallsington, (215) 736-1389.
Pinocchio’s Beer Garden to Go – Come for the pizza, stay for the beer. This pizzeria has made a national name for itself as one of the best-stocked bottle shops in the region. Twenty-five rotating beers on tap can go home in growlers, and 850 specialty bottles, including deep offerings from Belgium, can keep them company in the fridge.
131 E. Baltimore Avenue, Media, (610) 566-7767.
The Beer Shoppe – Flat screen TVs, pub food and the polished Draft Bar make this bottle shop feel like a bar, though for those who want to watch the game at home, 800 cold craft bottles make spectator sports more enjoyable no matter who wins. The shop offers $2 off select drafts every Thursday and boasts a wine and spirits store next door for one-stop shopping.
46 Greenfield Avenue, Ardmore, (484) 416-3594.
The Bottle Shop at Capone’s –Located next to a well-loved restaurant, this bottle shop fills outside growlers, hosts draft events and stays open 365 days a year.
224 W. Germantown Pike, Norristown, (610) 279-4748.