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Kite & Key

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

19 Reviews
Reviews: 19
Visits: 29
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: n/a
Taps: 17
Bottles: 48
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

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

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @kitenkey

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

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 19 | Visits: 29
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. (548 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of KTCamm
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Another solid Philly find. Deep beer menu, both local and more broad. A buzz in the room, and some outside seating for nicer days. Servers were friendly and helpful. Bar menu fare, my roast beef sandwich was good, and the burgers looked good as well. Definitely worth checking out for the beer though. (301 characters)

Photo of mltobin
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.5

Photo of Rifugium
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Cool place, relatively small, basic, no shortage of good craft beer on tap. Pub grub and good service. Worth checking out any day of the week, just a little out of the way from where I usually hang in the city. (210 characters)

Photo of Goodytime
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

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. (1,158 characters)

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. (1,064 characters)

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. (257 characters)

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. (942 characters)

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! (1,685 characters)

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. (1,513 characters)

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. (1,350 characters)

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... (1,171 characters)

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. (991 characters)

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. (1,081 characters)

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. (1,033 characters)

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? (3,014 characters)

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Kite & Key in Philadelphia, PA
91 out of 100 based on 19 ratings.