1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Kite & Key

Not Rated.
Kite & KeyKite & Key
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

25 Ratings
Ratings: 25
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: n/a
Taps: 17
Bottles: 48
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1836 Callowhill St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19130-4110
United States
phone: (215) 568-1818

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-09-2008

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 25 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by phingdong:
Photo of phingdong
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Checked phillytapfinder and went to Kite and Key based on the tap list. They had Pliny the Elder, RR Damnation, and many other great brews on tap that night.

The atmosphere was okay with what seemed like mostly locals (Phillies fans back from the game, etc). Had Pliny the Elder and Damnation. Service was good and the beers were fresh. This was a nice locals spot, a bit away from the main hub in Center City. Nice outdoor seating on a hot summer's night. Entertaining people watching as well. I will certainly return during my next Philly visit.

More User Reviews:
Photo of baybum
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Even though I bike around the Fairmount neighborhood quite often and shop at the nearby Whole Foods, I had never been to Key and Kite. It took a Bourbon County listing for me to actually make it there.

This jawn is on Callowhill Street, around the corner from the Barnes Foundation in a very gentrified area with luxury condos and even a Pain Quotidien store (need I say more?)

The first time I sat outside and it was rather pleasant. The actual bar inside looked real busy (on a Monday night!)… then I went back the next day for another glass of Bourbon County and sat at the bar, a Tuesday at around 4pm. Busier than most Philly bars at that time, let me tell you!

With the doors open to the street on this sunny autumn day, it was a most pleasant time. The eight taps have a bit of everything, including Firestone Oktoberfest, Sierra Hoptimum, New Belgium Folie, Founders Dissenter and of course the mighty BCBS.

I thought the clientele was a little too preppy-white-corporate-suited-up for my taste. I’d rather hang out with the regular folks and hipsters of South Philly. But they seem to get some rare brews, so I will revisit accordingly.

Photo of tkdchampxi
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of RPH2327
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of soulcougher
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of Durandal_777
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of JohnParadee
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of seanchai
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of tommypB
4.69/5  rDev +14.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 3.25

I stumbled into the Kite & Key one evening in March of 2012, it being 6 or 7 blocks from my hotel. There were 6 or 7 in our group. I knew when I walked in the door that they were going to have avgood beer selection, but WOW, did I ever hit the #jackpot. They had 7 or 8 special beers on tap including one of my all time favorites. Bell's Hopslam. I was very excited, and I of course ordered one. The server came around and said that tonight was an extra special night, and that the Kite&Key just sent out a tweet to all their followers that an even more elite level of top tear beers were being taped in 30 minutes and wont last long. On this list was a beer that, at the time, I had yet to hear of. Pliney the Younger on tap. They bragged about being the only place east of the Mississippi to get it. I enjoyed two glasses, and yes, it changed my life. And it only took one sip for me to know it. I hope to plan a trip to the Russian River Valley in the next couple of years so I can enjoy a few more. I will also visit the Kite&Key, the next time I visit Philly.

Photo of Vulgarians
4.95/5  rDev +20.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

The Kite & Key always has an excellent and varied selection of beer. I visit as often as I can and have never been unable to find a great beer to drink. The food is also very good, service is friendly and helpful, and the place is surprisingly kid-friendly.

Photo of orangesol
4.18/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Stopped in here earlier this week for their Fonder's event, my first visit here. Much larger on the inside than it looks from the outside. Warm, inviting space with people all over the place enjoying the event. Service was quite good. We weren't there for very long yet we were checked on no less than five times to see if we needed anything. Quality, from what little I experienced, seemed to be quite high. All of our drafts were poured in the correct glasses and the food I saw walking past me looked really good. Selection was pretty good, it had better be with a Founder's event going on. I ended up ordering a KBS but we also sampled some Doom and a Spite. No time for food this time, I did check out the menu and I noticed quite a few things on it that I would love to try. Value was pretty good, at least on par with all of the other places in the area. Overall another awesome beer bar that I will definitely return to in the future.

Photo of kecarl7
4.43/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

There are a handful of great bars within walking distance of my apartment, but 9 out of 10 times I end up going to K&K.

Excellent space with plenty of seating(inside and out). A lot of nice, finished wood. Beautiful bar with the taps neatly organized and easily visible. Perfectly lit(I can't stand the dimly lit/basement feel of certain bars) and there's always some pleasant music playing. In my opinion, the best thing about Kite & Key are the giant windows that open out, combining the sidewalk seating with the bar area. It's perfect on a nice Spring/Summer afternoon.

The beer line up is always solid and seasonally conscious. In addition to the great selection of locals, there are always some goodies from the likes of Founders and Bells. The bottle list is also extensive and reasonably priced. Through out the year, K&K hosts a number of great events(Russian River, Allagash, DFH, Founders, Craft Beer Express, Alex's Lemonade Stand, etc), and they ALWAYS bring out the big guns for Philly Beer Week.

The bartenders are always friendly and extremely knowledgeable. If you're unsure about ordering particular beer, just ask and they'll provide you with their thoughts(and a taste!). The owners are awesome and true fans of craft beer. They love talking beer and they're always open to suggestions.

The food is great and fairly priced. Of all the great burgers available in Philly, the Kite & Key Burger is my favorite. It's always perfectly cooked and I love the bun/roll that it comes on. Sunday Brunch is also highly recommended, so next time you find yourself waiting in an obscenely long line at Sabrina's, take a few steps down Callowhill and check out Kite & Key!

Photo of BARFLYB
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

stopped by here recently only for the fact that I had nothing else to do.

A- A nice spot with outside seating stretching around the corners of the building. A large open space connecting outside and inside, alot of ventilation coming in, I could hear the patrons as I was walking up. A nice beer bar with food obviously and sports on the TV. This place does not attract the hipster crowd that I see so often in fishtown. A nice looking bar, a open space and a decent bathroom.

Q- I tasted some beers and I have to report that they tasted fine off of the taps in clean glasses in a clean bar, quality is good.

S- The bartenderess was really nice even though the place was swamped on a sunday early afternoon. She was attentive and got my beers quick, even pointing out some of the changes on the beer list.

S- A nice selection boasting 15 taps with some lager mixed in as well. I noticed that they had alot of flanders oud bruins on at this particular time. The bottle list was there but was not all that long, compared to other bars in the area, pretty standard and decent. I did notice some empty (or was it full, i could not tell) bottles of BCBCS, abyss, firestone anniversary's on the wall as well but i don't think they were for sale (especially post- philly beer bar bum rush of 2010. Why put those bottles up there for me to stare at, i want to drink them.

F- Food looked good coming out and the menu was quite extensive but me being the birdman, I did not partake.

I like this place and will return.

Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stopped by for their Troeg event during Philly beer week. What a surprise, another excellent beer bar in Philly.

Kite and Key is another one of those beer bars in a relatively small spot that makes the most of what they have. On this particular day, they completely opened up the front area, so that tables and chairs could spill out onto the sidewalk. It tends to give the illusion of a large dining area that happens to include the entire sidewalk in front of the bar. Otherwise, the place has a good size bar to the left, and so this is another low key, comfy beer bar where you feel encouraged to hang out and drink good beer.

On this particular day, I think they had roughly 20 beers on tap, which included a firkin of nugget nectar (still tasting pretty good) and a special firkin of a beer week IPA from Troegs (it was very good). The selection is very solid, with a diverse array of predominantly local and regional craft beer, but with a few good imports available as well.

Service was very good. Although the place was jammed packed and the wait staff clearly in the weeds, the bartender remained friendly and chatty, assuring me he would get to me as soon as he could (which he absolutely did).

I really liked this place and would go back in a heart beat. Another gem of a beer bar in a city blessed with many other quality taverns.

Photo of philbe311
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A - Love the atmosphere of this place, both inside and out... Loads of brick and black iron... Friendly and inviting... Clean...

Q - Solid all the way around... I would gladly welcome a return visit... Good atmosphere, solid beer offerings, good food...

Ser - This was the low point of the visit... One bartender was working the bar area (tables included) for lunch and our service suffered slightly as a result... It wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything more than average...

Sel - The beer selections were solid for a "beer bar' and above average for the your average bar... About 15 taps, mostly with american crafts a large portion of which were dedicated to local offerings... I took note of a pretty impressive bottle selection as I kept scanning the bar... I don't think any BA woiuld struggle finding something to their liking...

F - I had a very tasty burger with bacon and gruyere cheese... The fries were average at best, but I couldn't stop chomping away at the burger... I would love to try some of the additional items on the menu...

V - I had a generous friend pick up our tab, but the prices seemed reasonable, especially by Philadelphia standards...

Photo of corby112
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Nice little place on Callowhill with a decent collection of craft beer, very good food and a cool atmosphere.

This lace is becoming pretty trendy so it's often very crowded but with the expanded seating there is usually a place to sit. There is a nice long bar when you walk in and three different seating areas if you count the outdoor seating during the armer months. The decor is pretty plain but the atmosphere overall is pretty good. It's the only place in the neighborhood to watch a local sporting event and still have a good view, especially for Phillies games.

Their service and food are decent with plenty of good dining selections. The servers are friendly but generally don't know anything about beer including what's on the menu. They are young girls and generally very attractive but are clueless when it comes to beer.

The selection is pretty good with a rotating selection of American craft and a few Belgian bottles. Nothing special but better than most bars in the area.

Photo of rfgetz
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

One of my favorite neighbrohood spots.

Decent selection of 15 taps (including a cask/hand pump), with about half of them roatating every atleast weekley. The bottle selection of about 30 is very good and rotates a little less frequently. As good as the beer selection is, they still carry BudMillerCoors to cater to some of the crowd.

The crowd is usually lively Thu-Sat evenings and other off peak times when the weather is nice and the doors and outside are open. Most people in the bar are there for a relaxing drinking session, while a few party-people types still wander in (BudMillerCoors crowd)

Food is excellent for a neighborhood bar. The new kitchen crew has some excellent items in the wings, sandwiches and even some crafty dishes on the main dining room menu.

Atmosphere is perfect for a neighborhood bar. Dark woods, muted lighting and minimal decorations. 3/4 large plasma TV's and a decent CD playing jukebox.

The staff is top notch, remembering even those who stroll in unfrequently. Always willing to share beer knowledge and offer tastings and suggestions.

Photo of Seanibus
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I was thoroughly unconvinced by my first experiences here - the food was mundane, the service terrible and the atmosphere was strangely spartan. But lately I have largely changed my mind. The place has grown into a fun location that I plan to spend more time in.

The atmosphere still leaves something to be desired - it's too spare and plain and the noise level, even with a moderate crowd, is deafening. The service has gotten better, but it remains spotty - friendly but occasionally inattentive.

But the food and the beer can't be beat. Particularly, the chicken wings are superb (the chef apparently brought with him the recipe for the wings at nearby McCrossens, which have declined recently). The beer list is excellent - on New Years Day the taps featured several good Belgians and some outstanding American selections, including a good selection from locals such as Victory's Prima Pilsner and one of Yard's historical beers, along with Bear Republic's Racer Five and Legacies Hoptimus Prime. So many beers, so little time.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

When I first went to go to the Kite and Key I kind of couldn't place where it was. For those of you thinking the same thing, it's right across from the Rose Tattoo and Franklin Beverage, and next door to Kingdom of Tandoor. Oh, and it's also pretty much right behind the Free Library.

It looks good from the outside, and it looks good on the inside. It's got a fairly clean look with basic tan walls and dark wood accents, and a wood floor (it's actually plastic, but it's a really "wood" looking plastic). The details are nice; and the bathrooms are nicely done. More importantly, they've made a great move and elevated the back area which helps the diners up there to feel a little more comfortable - they're separated, not just "at the back of the room". And the mirrored back wall gives it greater depth and lets those facing the wall feel that they're involved with the rest of the room. The flat screen TV's for sports are just enough that it's not overdone. There's not much to absorb sound, and it can get a little bit loud, but overall it's pretty nicely done.

The beer selection is good, and it's reasonably priced. There are 16 taps at $5 to $7 include 6 locals (Yards, Victory, Flying Fish, Legacy, Troegs, and Sly Fox), 6 American craft breweries (Brooklyn, Bear Republic, Sierra Nevada, Founder's, and Bell's), and a few Belgians as well. On my last trip they featured the distributor trinity of Stella / Hoegaarden / Leffe but they've also poured La Chouffe, and they seem fond of Maredsous 8. The bottle selection includes 16 imports, but many of those are regular (Corona/Corona Light, Heineken/Heineken Light/Amstel Light). However, there are also 8 local brews (more Yards, Victory, etc.) and 14 more American craft brews. Oh, and I also forgot, they have 8 of what they call the "Usual Suspects" (Miller Lite, etc.).

The food follows the beer menu in a way. Most of the items available are simply items out of a can, bag or jar from SYSCO. The nachos for $8 are pathetic, and the owners and staff should be embarrased by them. On the other hand, there are items that stand out. The Sweet Thai Chili Mussels for $13 are fantastic! The Shrimp Po Boy for $9 is very good, and the Lump Crabcake Sliders for $12 should also be tried. Do I see a bent towards seafood items?... there are burgers and fowl as well... not much vegetarian, although there is edamame as an appetizer for $5. Appetizers run in the $5-10 range, salads are $7.50-8, chili or chowder $7-8, sandwiches are $8-12, mussels are $11-13, and "dinner plates" $12-16 leaving prices, overall, pretty damned reasonable.

In conclusion, I think The Kite and Key is a great addition to the area, and a pretty good venue overall. More vegetarian options would be nice, and I think making it more family oriented with some children-oriented items could bring them in more tourist business during the day if advertised right, but overall it'll be the young dining and sports-drinking crowd that will keep them going. Where do you fit in?

Photo of gdfan47
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

my friend Chris and I went there last night. We both really wanted to check it out

Cool phillies and weird decorations on the wall

Giant clean bar with 15 taps

off the top of my head they had Mad elf, founders red rye, bear repulic racer X, leffe blonde, yards porter, Sierra Nevada Celebraion and a few others

The service was very friendly , the bartender (Rick) was very pleasent and knew his beer.

I would have loved to check out the food, as I hear its good. But we got there too late, def wanna try next time.

The also had a cool bottle selection, from what I remember aside from a few macros , they had bells winter, two heart, some founders, some jolly pumpkin, lindemens, some st bernadous, some acme , some victory , some yards...

all the bottles were on top of the bar in plain sigh ( love this!)

def cant wait to go back again, the bartender also said that they are getting a handpump soon!

Photo of slander
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

It's lasagna night at Carolyn's come 6ish, so doing a day trip to Philly to hit a few places first is a very bad idea. See, if we're not back in time to pick Jenny up (and we won't be), she'll have to take a car out to Queens with her lasagna contribution in tow, and there will be trouble (she wouldn't even peck me hello when we got there, she was Jenny mad, she was). But I'm trying to put all that bad shit that's going to happen out of my head for now and enjoy the day, hitting a few places in Philly...

Up north some from where it was we was and parked close enough not to mind the rain (I never mind the rain). 14 seat "L" shaped wood bar on the inside wall, with a framed wood shelving unit bar back above coolers and a glassware rack below. On one side, mirrored backing on lower shelves and booze, booze & bottles lining the top shelf from end to end. The other side holds booze & wine, on shelving units over a wall of brick. A wooden ski sits above the unit with a kite and a key drawn on it, plus Phillies & Eagles helmets, your standard local play. Mounted flat screens in all the corners you'd reasonably put one.

2 small tables up front along the framed panel windowed doors opening over Callowhill, 3 larger ones to the side around a bar counter table. Beige walls on 3 sides, framed slat wood floors, spinning fans, sunken spots & a single drop lamp on center. They've got a bad ass old framed hand pump system mounted on an arched wood piece in one corner, and a vertical board listing food specials in another. Stained glass windows in the cuts on the walkway along the far wall. To the rear, a raised room open over the lower bar area with about 14 tables. Walls here are comfortably maroon, brown & beige with framed pics & prints, except the back wall which is done up with large mirrors, making this place look bigger than it is.

16 taps on a single tower on the bar. Your local PA players (Victory Prima Pils, Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout, Yards Thomas Jefferson Ale, Troegs Dead Reckoning Porter, Yuengling), regionals (Flying Fish Okto, Brooklyn Brown), some far off regionals (Bells Two Hearted Ale, Founders Red Rye, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, Pyramid Apricot), imports (La Chouffe, Maredsous 8, Hoegaarden, Stella) and a cider (Strongbow). We drank the Bells Two Hearted laughingly, 'cause that's what you do when you see it on tap knowing that you'll never find it further East thanks to, well, you know who they are and what they gone done. Dave not driving, opted for a second beer, the Yards Thomas Jefferson Ale. Beers was fresh, they're moving it.

And nearly 40 bottles, about 2/5 of them American micros, some PA (Lancaster, Victory, Stoudts, Troegs, Yards), some not (Founders, Bells, Post Road, North Coast, Sierra Nevada), some big bottle (Rogue Double Dead Guy, Brooklyn Local 1, Ithaca 10), another 1/5 of them Belgian (La Rulles Triple, Delirium Tremens & Nocturnum, Westmalle Dubbel, Chimay Premiere, Duchesse De Bourgogne, Lindemans Framboise) and the remainder a mix of blah imports & macros.

The place was fairly dead this lasagna Saturday afternoon, and as such we caught us a chatty bartender who offered up that he favors Yards in the Yards/Philly break up. I was going to fight him but thought better of it in his house. To each, whatever. Taps and bottled selections; some good, some not bad, and I'm hearing they do firkin events. Good museum bearing beerings.

Photo of Cruzin023
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Wow, this is a decent gastropub that is literally a stone's throw from my apartment. My friends and I were planning to go there just to watch a football game and feared it would only have your standard macros. Boy were we wrong! It had a fairly good selection with taps of the General Washington Porter, Maredsous 8, Bell's cherry stout, Troegs reckoning, Brooklyn brown ale and others. They have 15 taps all together. The food was somewhat disappointing as it was your run of the mill greasy pub food. However, I will make this one of my beer bars when I don't feel like walking far.

Photo of BWH3
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Went to this Tavern last night for the Victory Firkin event. Essentially, was a fresh cask of Hop Devil. The beer was well dry hopped and crisp. They had placed the cask right on the counter next to the taps. The bar is dark wood and everything looks very crisp and clean. I thought it belonged below a hotel in Center City instead of up on Callowhill St. The crowd was mixed ages from mid 20s to 40-50 somethings. Not many people were eating, most mixing and mingling. Most people were enjoying draft pints (although one guy at the bar was swigging Coors Light from bottles - no deductions given for the riff raff). The quality was good in terms of the beer many based on the firkin. Service also a bit above average. The bar tender was friendly and even distributed some samples of Bell's Cherry stout - even to the Silver Bullet Gun Slinger. Selection is so tough to rate in Philly. So many Belgian bars have everything and then some. So many good Gastropubs have a wide selection of local beers. This place tries to be both but falls short. I almost give demerits now for having beers like Hoegaarden, Guiness, Stella, Yeungling, and Strongbow on draft. Again, these beers belong in a place where people don't drink that much beer or is primarily a restaurant. This kind of selection doesn't make you a great beer bar. Fortunately, they have some nice beers on draft, they bring in firkins of locals, and a fair bottle selection. Hey it is early for this place, and given the owners are descendants of the Bishop's Collar, I expect it will continue to refine itself into a respectable pub.

Kite & Key in Philadelphia, PA
91 out of 100 based on 25 ratings.