1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Khyber Pass Pub

Not Rated.
Khyber Pass PubKhyber Pass Pub

Taps: 22 / Bottles: 71
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

55 Ratings
Ratings: 55
Reviews: 33
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9%
$$ - reasonable
[ 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:
None, yet.

(Place added by: NeroFiddled)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jsanto
jsanto

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

03-06-2009 21:44:55 | More by jsanto
Photo of gdfan47
gdfan47

Pennsylvania

3.41/5  rDev -17%
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

12-07-2008 23:28:04 | More by gdfan47
Photo of Foxman
Foxman

New Jersey

4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

02-14-2007 17:28:10 | More by Foxman
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

02-04-2007 14:44:48 | More by woodychandler
Photo of paddyos
paddyos

Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +8%
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.

09-15-2006 18:33:43 | More by paddyos
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
DarkerTheBetter

Pennsylvania

4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

08-28-2006 22:47:31 | More by DarkerTheBetter
Photo of ithacabaron
ithacabaron

California

4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

06-26-2006 20:39:19 | More by ithacabaron
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

11-24-2005 20:31:16 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of AudioGilz
AudioGilz

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

06-26-2005 22:09:12 | More by AudioGilz
Photo of PopeDX
PopeDX

Pennsylvania

4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

03-17-2005 14:56:10 | More by PopeDX
Khyber Pass Pub in Philadelphia, PA
92 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.