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Khyber Pass Pub

Not Rated.
Khyber Pass PubKhyber Pass Pub
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

37 Reviews
Reviews: 37
Visits: 68
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: n/a
Taps: 22
Bottles: 71
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

56 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106-2810
United States
phone: (215) 238-5888

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @khyberpasspub

Notes:
Place added by: NeroFiddled

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Reviews: 37 | Visits: 68
Photo of longdivision
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Tucked in the heart of Olde City, The Khyber is a beacon for Philly of what a good beer bar should be.

Cozy, worn, and dimly lit, the typical popped-collar crowds that monopolize weekends in Olde City are are often diverted from entering. The draft line-up changes weekly if not more often. Speaking of drafts, The Khyber showcases and favors a lot of PA breweries along with NJ and DE. Yet, they also have no problem offering other beers from other great breweries.

The Bartenders know their beer! Very knowledgeable, friendly, and aim to help you find a new beer that fits your tastes and preferences.

The recently added food menu is tasty and affordable. You wouldn't expect the food to be as good as it is.

Happy Hour is great and allows you to try new, or your favorite, beers for a great price ($2 off all drafts).

Great jukebox selection, on a Friday night I can expect to hear a good variety consisting of NWA and the Smiths.
Some great bands come through too, so check the calendars! There are also beer events from time to time that are creative and worth checking out.

One of my favorite bars in the area. (1,123 characters)

Photo of mltobin
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Located conveniently close to the River Link ferry and Penn`s Landing is the Khyber Pub. This is a dive bar with a great happy hour special and a good range of beers. You will see a crowd with bike messengers, music fans, the young and the old. They carry beer From bottles of Yuengling to a couple nice belgian bottles and some local PA craft beers on tap from Yards and others. Service is very good, bartenders manage to keep up well with a loud and thirsty crowd. A great spot to have a couple inexpensive pints/bottles of American beer. (540 characters)

Photo of jsanto
4.13/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

a - like a gringhy old beer bar. nothing special, but ok.

q - very good, if not better than average selection.

s - it was there. but it was not crowded on a friday afternoon.

s - from good quality, to a few i never heard of for a better than expected selection. i will take it. and go back for sure.

f - now this was good. i had the berger, that i thought was better than the last one i had at a place that i spendt twice as much for.

v - this was not happy hour, but i will go back again. it was better than average. (522 characters)

Photo of gdfan47
3.41/5  rDev -15.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

go to this place if you really wanna see a band there

located in olde city parking is rough....

it is also half a block from eulogy and triumph... so ... there are other places to go

the bartenders are usually friendly, they have an older hipster door guy who is flat out rude

the beer selection is pretty good, have some really cool domestics on draft , stuff like allagash, dfh, yards.. the draft list changes alot and they have a small bottle list

the grimiest batrhoom will you will find in the city
the rest of the bar feels like it hasnt been swept or cleaned since Rico Suave was tearing up the charts..

its one of the cheaper places to drink ,you can get pbr for dirt cheap

but its just really hard to go here with such other great beer bars less than a block away (780 characters)

Photo of Foxman
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

To call the Khyber an icon in the Philly music scene would be a gross understatement. From Jeffrey Gaines to The Butthole Surfers to The Dead Milkmen to 70,000 Tools, somebodies and nobodies have been playing here for decades. And way back when into the 80's, this place was known for its extensive and ecclectic beer selection, though at that time it was mostly imports. As American beer has blossomed, so has the selection here. But I get ahead of myself.

Step from the street into the glass-fronted building and you've come hip deep into the Philadelphia version of a grunge/punk/ska/hipster hangout. It's dark, it's gritty, and the edge in the air is punctuated and honed by the high-decibel music clamoring in from the stage to the right of the bar room. Most nights, since all bands have fans, it's elbow-to-elbow, but when the bands are playing, the area by the bar thins a a bit. But the bottom line is, for what it wants to be, the Khyber is spot-on, and if you don't feel comfortable here, chances are you wandered into the wrong place. The bar is crafted wood and mirror, a classic in its own right, and the restrooms are as clean as you could expect from an establishment that caters to such a wide ranging cast of crazies. The back bar is a treat to behold, with its history intact, and the jukebox is dense and far-reaching. And with the smoke gone, it's more fun than ever.

The beer is cold, and sure, sometimes too cold, but the glasses are clean, and nobody could care less whether you drink from the bottle or the glass. It's all good, and refreshing considering too many music venues are dedicated to pushing macros.

Service is strong. Bartenders have always been friendly, at least, and they make you feel like your order matters to them. The only issue I've ever run into is they're not always so patient when the music is loud and they can't get your order from you as timely as they would like. But with the crowd hovering at the bar, you realize soon that you need to make yourself heard.

The selection is damned good as well. Many, many imports, from England to Germany to Belgium, line the coolers behind the bar, and they were the mainstay for years. Now, though, domestic, and especially local, craft brew is the strength. Yards is ubiquitous, but also coming through you could find Victory, Weyerbacher, Stoudts, Troegs, Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, and Sly Fox. There are 7 or 8 taps, which I never counted, but that's my impression, and plenty of bottled selections as well. Simply, finding something to enjoyable wet your whistle is an effortless task here.

Food? Yes, they have it, but I've never tried it. In the old days I never seemed to have an appetite here, and now, I eat before I go.

Prices are right in line with about any place in the city that offers this much. You won't go broke.

I actually played here in the 80's and remember drinking Chimay for the first time after our set. So sure, it has a pretty fond place in my heart, but it's not sentimentality that has me giving such a strong review. Rather, it's the fact that this place is dedicated to damned good beer while establishing as strong an identity as any bar in the city. The Earth slipped a bit on its axis when this place closed for a short spell several years ago, but all is again right with the world. (3,335 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

The entryway was at a slight angle to the street, so as I went in the door, I had to make a left-oblique and the "U"-shaped wooden bar was right there. There were three lamps spaced out over the length of the bar, plus a few chandeliers, but the lighting was dim, at best. The bar ran along the left-hand side with the back bar against the left wall. The back bar was especially notable for its ornate woodwork and lengthy mirrors. Just past the end of the bar was the Men's washroom, which was an experience all its own. Through a couple of doorways to the right was the stage all of the way forward; a couple of tables and chairs in the center; and the engineer's board, all of the way aft. I wanted to give this place the same marks for "Atmosphere" that I gave Delilah's in CHI, but it wasn't quite the same.

Regarding their beer selection, the bottles were not neccesarily focused on craft beer, but every one of the taps were special. It is also especially notable that they were one of Yards' first three accounts. (1,025 characters)

Photo of paddyos
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I need to start reviewing more and I figured what better way to start than with the Khyber. The old stand by. Yes, it can be crowded for shows as well as loud and yes, it's smokey, but it's meant to be those things. That's part of the Khyber experience. They have a very good bottle selection and an excellent, local tap lineup. Yards, Weyerbacher, Troegs, Stoudts plus a slew of others rotate in and out of the rotation. The tenders are always very attentative and are full of knowledge when it comes to the offerings.
Still can't beat their happy hour of $2 pints of Yards and $1 macros. (591 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

The Khyber is clearly some sort of awesome music venue/ beer bar hybrid. The building is essentially two narrow lots, typical of center city, except they’re joined in the middle. On the right you have a dark graffitied place to get your rock on, on the left you can find a fantastic selection of local brews.

On first inspection, this place just looked like your typical dirty dive bar, but upon further review, this place is actually quite attractive. What really got my attention was the woodwork in the shelves behind the bar. There were little griffins or something with red LEDs or Christmas lights for eyes, coats of arms of sorts and what are those, ducks? It was really sharp. Adding to this are decorative lights raised off the bar on narrow poles that gave a very quaint and classy feel. That, topped of with some ornate chandeliers and high ceilings made me reconsider my “dirty dive” first impression. None-the less, as ornate, comforting and elaborate the artistry of this place is, it still has a enveloping darkness to it.

On tap for the day was Hoegaarden, Hop Devil, Yard’s Saison (which I nabbed), Brooklyn Lager, Tröegs Dopplebock and Pils, De Koenig, Yuengling’s Lager, Stoudt’s Gold, #9 and O’Reilly’s Irish Stout. That pretty much does it for the region. Good job. The bottles included some imports, but mostly the bigger named ones.

The bartender was attentive and friendly without being over assertive or annoying. In fact, he seemed like a really cool guy. That’s a rare find. He was quick with the drinks and with keeping the waters full. I realized that I liked the guy and The Khyber when some guy walked in off the street and ordered a Bud Light. The tender replied “we don’t serve anything with the name “light” on-tap.” He had to repeat this a few times to get his message across. The tone of his voice made me chuckle.

I like this place. They seem to have a really good focus on beer and hire the right people to really advocate the local beer scene. I’ll be back for sure. (2,035 characters)

Photo of ithacabaron
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A great, dirty, nasty rock club -- with excellent beer.

The Khyber is dank and dark, with graffiti tagged walls, one of the best jukes in the city, and ear-splitting speakers for live concerts -- and that's just the first floor. In the middle of this is a beautiful, ornate carved-wood bar-backing, a remnant from a World's Fair gone by.

Quality is decent -- everything's served in a pint glass, but that's probably a good thing, as anything else would undoubtledly get lost or stolen. Pints were fresh, and served at the right temps. No complaints.

Selection is always good, with an all local tap-line (even the swill selection, Lionshead, is a local, and not a bad one at all: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/150/5412/?ba=ithacabaron ). Yards runs daily specials during happy hour. Bottles range from Chimay, to Aventinus, to Bud. Finding something to drink won't be hard, and the markups are reasonable.

Service is solid, but for obvious reasons, when you're there for a show, getting another fill can take a few more minutes than usual.

Food is reportedly good, but I can't imagine eating here.

So there's all that -- and the upstairs is a smoke-filled, smog-laden chill festival galore, with exposed brink, rickety tables, live (and good) DJs, and, yes, the dirtiest bathroom in all of the land.

In short, don't show up without a pack of cigarettes, be prepared to lose a little hearing, and enjoy yourself.

Why to make the scene: Because it's Friday night, and your friend is playing three bands down on a four band card. Put on some jeans and let your hair down. (1,599 characters)

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

How I have somewhow managed to NOT review the Khyber is beyond me. The Khyber has two floors, but for beer, you'll want to stay downstairs. Upstairs has PBR on tap and that's it! Downstairs has 10 taps and almost ALL are local. Ambiance wise, the Khyber wins me over with a rustic old feel that says Serious Beer bar. Worn wood, cluttered back bar and BONUS! The back bar is a mirrored tryptich from an actual World's Fair. It's stunning and worn! The bar on the left seats about 20, across from a killer juke box.

Beers selection is always locally focused. Troegs Trogenator, Clipper City Category 5, Yards Saison, Yards Pale, Sly Fox Weisse, Lion Lionshead, Anchor Celebration, Flying Fish Porter, Youngs Double Chocolate Stout and in the On deck Circle is Brooklyn Chocolate, Heavyweight Perkunos Hammer and Vic'ry Prima Pils.

Foodwise, I know that they do sell some, but if you want food, go elsewhere!!! If you want to drink good local beer in a speakeasy historical bar, go to the Khyber.

Last swigs: Can get smoky and they charge a cover on band nights but kudos for their killer Sunday event called "Punish Your Liver" $15 all you can drink, $10 after midnight with a live DJ.

Could you take your Mother here? Heck no!!! The worst bathrooms in the city belong to the Khyber and it gets loud and smoky. But the Khyber is a local fave of mine. p.s. Brownies is next door and Eulogy is across the corner. (1,424 characters)

Photo of AudioGilz
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Here is a great place to see some live music in a small intimate setting. Oh yeah, and they have a solid beer selection too, quite a bonus, but I wouldn't say it's focused on beer first. It's a close second though and that's a treat to be able to drink good beer while enjoying live music. It doesn't happen in any larger venues in the city. The taps are fresh, decent bottle selection, average prices, quick service. My only complaint is it gets DAMN HOT when it gets crowded in there. They need some serious air movement in there. Other than that, great joint. (562 characters)

Photo of PopeDX
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

While scouting for locations for the Philly Pubcrawl '05 we initially walked right past the Khyber. We reconsidered on the advise of another local bartender. Best decision we made by far. Really a spectacular taplist, top notch. Two Vic'rees, two Yards, a Sly Fox, a DFH, a Legacy, Arrogant Bastard, and one or two more I'm forgetting. Plus we were told that as soon as the Jever Pils (which isn't selling now that they have Prima Pils) kicks, another local micro takes its place. Honestly, the best way I can describe this place is Standard Tap without the food. The "food" consists of 4 for $5 tacos until 7. But they could care less if you bring outside food in, so that's a plus. At 9 every night the place turns into a rock club...it's Philly's CBGB's. Haven't been here at night yet, but now I'm dying to go. The service was spectacular, we talked to the bartender for over an hour about beer and the local scene. I guess being the only people in the place for most of the time helped...but he really knew his stuff.

Side notes about the Khyber: It's the longest continually-operated bar in Philly, having stayed open as a speakeasy during Prohibition. The back of the bar (that is, the area behind the bar that all the bottles and shit sit on) dates from 1876...it was carved by German craftsmen for the World Fair of that year.

Pubcrawler: Brownie's two doors down has a few decent taps, Eulogy is right around the corner and Sugar Mom's is a block or so away. Walk down 2nd St. a bit and you hit Northern Liberties. Walk up Chestnut and you're in Center City. Both are about 10 blocks. (1,600 characters)

Photo of slander
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Post Ludwig's Octoberfest finds us randomly hitting and missing around philly. Haven't really seen too of the neighborhood to date 'cept Eulogy so here we are...
A long narrow room with a dark wood "L" shaped bar seating a dozen. High ceiling with ancient chandeliers above, and large framed mirrors behind the bar. A center piece lined with Xmas strung lighting holds mirrored shelves with books, glasses and various pieces. Ceramic bar lights with colorful shades are spotted here and there along the length of the bar, TV, old beer signs, darts, and a good juke box. From the bar, you're looking into the side room where they have the stage for bands to set up.
Posted boards read "Bud free or die!!" and "No crap on tap", and so it is... 10 taps, a nice mix of regional micros and imports (DogfishHead Punkin, Victory Prima Pils, Yards George Washington Porter & Philadelphia Pale Ale, Yuengling Black & Tan, Brooklyn Brown, Anchor Steam, Beamish, Paulaner, Stella) and roughly 2 dozen bottles (Duchess, Chimay, Duvel, Hoegaarden, and it tapers down to macros and maltos). Kind of dark and somewhat divey overall, but pleasant enough for a Saturday afternoon... (1,168 characters)

Photo of dmarch
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Ok, as far as beer drinkers go, it's up to you because the focus isn't on beer here. They did have some micros and Young's Ramrod on tap which I was drinking all night. The bar is in a separate room from the music, which I like. This place is about the music though and in my opinion it rocked. This place gets packed too. Probably a big fire hazard, but you shouldn't expect a lot of room in a place like this. You'll have to fight your way out, but there is no way of avoiding that. Around 10 o'clock, the crowd starts pouring in. In other words, this isn't a beer bar. It's a grungy music bar that happens to serve good beer. (628 characters)

Photo of jreitman
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

A very interesting pub to say the least. Looks like it could be a biker bar, but has a real nice physical bar and some good beers on tap. This is the kind of place where when I went to the bathroom, I was expecting a good old fashioned trough. The taps selection was quite good and when we went in the afternoon it was pretty quite. Supposedly a really good place for live music, but I can't comment too much on that. (417 characters)

Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The Khyber Pub sits in the middel of 2nd street in olde city philly with about four bars on each side of it, and one Deli. I remember going here for alot for music shows. They have a decent bottle selection, and decent tap selection. There are really known for the good music bands they bring in, but they also have a very good beer selection as well. Khyber is always a good time, especially when they are having music shows... (428 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The Khyber, formerly known as the Khyber Pass Pub, is a Philadelphia landmark. One of Philly's first- and best -beer bars! This is one of the places that started the Yuengling craze by serving bottles of their porter. The only thing that the Khyber is better known for is it's music. With an enormous number of famous bands stopping here on their first or second tours of the states, the Khyber is Philly's version of C.B.G.B.'s. The bartenders are very cool, but it can be hard to get a beer sometimes when it's busy. They serve some really great Burritos and the juke box is loaded with great stuff. There's a wide range of bottled beers, including alot of Belgian's (Update March 2003- bottles removed; selection score dropped from 4.0 to 3.5 Update... bottles back, but not as good as they used to be.), and the taps are constantly changing. Additionally, they pour alot of local brands which is nice. So if you're in the mood for some good beers in a relaxed, grungy atmosphere, the Khyber's the place! (1,007 characters)

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Khyber Pass Pub in Philadelphia, PA
91 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.