Local 44

Not Rated.
Local 44Local 44
BA SCORE
96
world-class

54 Ratings
Ratings: 54
Reviews: 33
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: n/a
Taps: 20
Bottles: 2
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

4333 Spruce St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104-4707
United States
phone: (215) 222-2337

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Every day: 11:30am-2:00am
Kitchen open until midnight.

(Place added by: Local44 on 12-19-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mactrail
3.21/5  rDev -26.2%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.25 | food: 2.5

Kind of a pretentious divey place. It's got the smell of a wino bar but with zinc bar counters. Scrawled and uninformative beer list. The beers are not particularly worth a detour in this beer-rich town. Even as a tourist I found I had drunk most of them.

A vaguely interested bar maid did not add to the welcome. The clientele made me think of Bilbo Baggins in Alexandria on Ladies Night, but with the frat houses within crawling distance it must be a different crowd in the later evening. Food is greasy and also pretentious. Ridiculously hotly spice polenta (and so little of it!). On the plus side, you can take the interesting northside trolley lines and if you walk or ride further out you'll come to the actually worth the trip Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant. [transcribed from notes on May 30, 2012 visit]

Photo of Keith238
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Stopped in on January 10th.

Atmosphere was pleasant in the afternoon. Huge change from many moons ago when it was Murph's. Very clean and simply decorated.

Quality was very good. Food was fresh. Obviously the beer was as well, only open for a little more than a week.

Service was average at best. Only 2 tables were occupied and the second table wasn't even eating. Had to wait a while for our second round of drinks.

Food was very tasty. I had the mahi mahi taco's. While not quite what I thought I was getting, it was good and would order them again. My girlfriend had the Cuban sandwich... terrible. Also served to our table was the Greek salad, good compliments from my friend who had that as well as the burger, nice and fresh. Hand cut fries were terrific as were the plantain chips.

Prices were very reasonable considering the middle to upper middle class area and target customers.

Beer selection was good, not overdone. Sly Fox on cask was excellent. I would definitely go back. Good luck to the new owners!

Photo of newbeeraday
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of ithacabaron
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Solid, if not remarkable.

Beer outplays the food here -- there is a carefully constructed tap list, including several rarities (Cantillon vintages, etc.) and two hand pumps, most recently pouring the new Yards' Brawler, and eternal golden boy Victory Hop Wallop. A wide range of styles and countries are represented, and most beer is served in its "proper" glassware, always a nice touch; but it makes determining price-per-ounce value nearly impossible. Listing the serving size of each beer on the menu would be a nice touch. Even so, the prices seem reasonable. Additionally, printed copies of the beer list should be made available, as the two chalkboard lists -- right now the only way of telling what's on tap -- are not in the sight-lines of most patrons' seats.

Food is well-proportioned, but quite disappointing. The "asian" chicken wings, a large serving covered in a somewhat mushy, overly sweet glaze, end up somewhat cloying -- a good kick of vinegar, wasabi or Huy Fong chili-garlic sauce could really do wonders to create some balance in this dish. An extra minute in the fryer wouldn't hurt either. The hamburger, as well, is generously proportioned, but needs some sort of signature element (i.e. the famed Father's Office Onion Marmalade in Los Angeles) to really stand out.

All in all, most of the dishes I've sampled from the menu just need better seasoning and a good shot of butter. Additionally, most items on the menu are on the heavier side -- a nice chartucerie platter or cheese board would be appreciated for those that simply wish to snack.

Service is eager to please. Clearly, opening this bar has been a labor of love for these people, and it's nice to see such enthusiasm.

For all of the above complaints, in time, I imagine things will get honed in here, and a place like this is sorely needed in the Spruce Hill neighborhood. Goodness knows it's a vast improvement over the coked-out frat boy haven that it replaced.

For now, this place will win my regular business by default, although I'll still probably head over to Dock Street when given the choice between the two. Draw up a more educative beer menu, work on the food, and this could stand among the better of Philly's gastropubs.

A solid start.

Photo of dsa7783
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Located in a bustling college section of West Philly in the UPENN district, this hole in the wall college institution boasts a fine selection of great beers...
Everything from Troegs, Victory, a few Belgians, Ommegang, Sixpoint...
Mostly a much younger, college-age crowd, with a decent sized space, not too cramped, dishing out pub fare...
Friendly staff
Slightly out of the way from Central Philadelphia, but definitely worth a stop-in if you're in the area...
Would try going here again if it were closer to downtown... Otherwise, probably the best place in the area...

Photo of regspeir
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I have finally been to the place enough times to feel I can get a handle on reviewing it. My first time was not great and I wasn't sure i would ever come back. The place was new and seemed confused as to what kind of place it was trying to be - restuarant, neighborhood bar, trendy nightspot, whatever. It wasn't any of these. Now that I have been back a few times, I have come to enjoy this place. The bar area isn't large but has a very warm feel to it. All that wood, the darkness, etc. overcome even the multiple large TV's to tend it toward that cozy neighborhood feel. Nearly twenty taps and two hand-pumps are divided up into a great range of options, so beer selection is this place's strong point. The bartenders are very attentive. The "restaurant" half, on the other hand, is cramped, noisey and uncomfortable. The food is mixed. Try the hushpuppies, fritters or any of the breakfast "sandwiches." The burgers, fish and chips, wings and other barfood were meso-meso. There are nice set of vegetarian options. The only complaints I have are that they constantly seem to run out of glassware and, when they are busy, they want to hustle you out of the "dining" area. They basically kick you out, if you are finished eating, even if you are still ordering beers, etc. All-in-all though, this is a great addition to West Philadelphia and...especially earned points by offering me Younger and Registration Ale :)

Photo of jwhancher
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Came here for the first time tonight after hearing about this place after the Philly beer raids. Small but quaint bar. Nice oak wood character with your now standard craft beer hipster chalk board listing of available beers. Had a decent beer list but was only really interested in the Sierra Nevada beers they had specially on tap for Philly Beer Week. Service was about average. They were pretty busy at the time buy I wish the bartenders had checked up a little more often. Plus, the bartender didn't say thank you after picking up the check - a big no-no in my book. Food was attractively priced: $8 for a burger. It came out great and was pleasantly surprised. Only small pitfall was the final bill. Thought it would have come out a little cheaper. But still, I guess even the litlle guys have to pay the bills.

Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of Thirsty2383
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of sebrennan
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of amphion1065
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Boston and Chicago are often described as cities "of neighborhoods." Philadelphia? Not so much, but Local 44 would make me consider it.

Tucked away on a quiet corner in West Philly, Local 44 offers just about everything you'd want in a local bar. The vibe manages to be both hip and inviting, homey and exciting. I've eaten and drank here twice now, and loved each visit. The draft list does a fine job balancing local breweries and beer geek favorites. Sly Fox, Yards and PBC are in good company alongside Great Divide, Lost Abbey, and Franziskaner. There are always one or two offerings on cask, and charmingly only Orval and a gluten-free option in bottles.

Go here with an appetite, though you won't need too much money - there are many options in the sub-$10 range here. On my last visit, I instantly regretted ordering my olive-oil poached, banana pepper-laden tuna melt as soon as I saw my friend's perfectly medium rare burger with a runny fried egg on top. I tend to avoid brunch like the plague, but the sweet potato latkes and maple-glazed hush puppies looked damn fine.

Every staff member is almost definitely cooler than I am. The bartenders and servers wouldn't look out of place in any number of bars in Cambridge or Fort Greene, and they're some of the friendliest beer bar employees I've ever come across. I've drank at the bar and eaten at tables, and the service has been helpful, courteous and incredibly efficient each time.

I'll be back to Local 44 for a PtY tapping or, more likely Sunday night Quizzo. A wonderful spot, one any neighborhood would be proud to call its own.

Photo of glid02
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Trekked over here from the suburbs during a recent stop in the city.

Atmosphere is good. It's got a very nice neighborhood feel to it. I felt as though half the people in the bar were regulars and the servers did their best to make you feel that way too. A long bar greets you upon entering on the left with a good deal of tables on the right. A large doorway on the right opens up into even more seating. The beer list is written on a chalkboard at the far end of the bar and a TV sits directly in the middle.

Quality is good. All glassware is appropriate and I especially appreciated their stubby glasses for half-pours. The temperature and head levels are also nice.

Service is also good. They seemed a bit understaffed while I was there and I had to wait longer than I'm used to a few times to put in my next order. That said, when the server was able to make it around she was very friendly.

Selection is very good. Around 15 taps with two beer engines. While I was there a good deal of locals were represented along with some of CA's finest.

Food was underwhelming. The burger I ordered was OK but with the recent burger revolution I was a bit disappointed. The fries were solid and the rest of their menu did look interesting.

Value is good. The half-pours are a good deal and even if you get a full pint it won't hit your wallet very hard.

Overall this place is a bit off the beaten path but that's what makes it more of a neighborhood bar. A nice selection with friendly service makes this place worth a stop if you're near the area.

Photo of slk22
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I visited Local 44 on a Saturday afternoon and it was pretty dead, which gave me ample time to talk with the bartender. The place is quite dark in lighting and decor as well. When I stepped out into the sun it was like coming out of a movie theater. Anyway, the decor is simple and attractive, mainly dark wood. There are two rooms, a bar area and a table area, although you can get food at either. The beer selection consists of 20 taps, 2 beers on cask, and 1 in bottle (Orval). The selection was quite interesting, featuring beers from all over the country with a few locals thrown in. Smuttynose, yards, southern tier, lagunitas, bear republic, sly fox, and PBC to name a few. No macro stuff. I had a Russian River Consecration, which was served in appropriate glassware (tulip). The bartender was very friendly and quite knowledgeable, giving a flavor profile of various beers on tap when asked as well as offering samples. Prices were around $5 per pint and up to $7 for some of the high ABV stuff such as the Consecration, pretty reasonable for the northeast. I wouldn't make a special trip there if I were coming from out of town, but if it were in my neighborhood I would definitely go back.

Photo of stingrayvr6
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Fantastic place. Modern, trendy and hip with a lot of college kids as it is right up the street from Penn. Unbeatable beer selection, truly world class. They have everything from Victory to Hop Rod Rye and Hop wallop and Trappist beer. Food was excellent with a good selection of pub food, though a little more trendy than your typical fare. My only complaint was that it took quite a while to get a seat, even though there were plenty of empty tables, and everything (except the beer) took forever to come out. As soon as we got the beer, none of that mattered, had the Hop Rod Rye for the first time and it was phenomenal. Definitely a place to visit, you will probably never find a better beer selection anywhere.

Photo of rfgetz
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

A small, unasuming bar in the corner of a small, unassuming section of the city. The atmosphere is comfortable yet unspectacular, lots of wood and paint and not much else. The beer menu is really hit or miss with the selection, so check ahead - 2-3 of the taps can be something special during a slow week while for events, they can get 15 steallar things lined up. No fault of theirs, but with a ton of good beer spots in the city, just hard to travel to a spot that can be hot or cold. The services is very good even in a crowd the bar tender knows who has been waiting, and most know the product very well. Only been here for the beer, but will want to return to this place again.

Photo of VegasBill
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Normally I would not travel this far from downtown,but with the promise from fellow BA'ers of so many of my beloved Russian River beers and with the great Philly bus system I went. This is a very small pub but I liked the atmosphere right away.As far as Russian River, one yes my friends one, Damnaton, which is one of the few I dont care for!!
But the bartender was very friendly and helpful and turned me on to the Williams Brothers 7 Giraffes, he explained everything about it and I like it so much and it is a complex beer, for me at least, I had two.
The bartender also said the most of the time they have two or three Russian River selections.

Photo of sholland119
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The newest place from the owners of Memphis Taproom, one of our favorite new bars. We could not wait to check it out since it is much closer to home.

Like MT, Local 44 has the feel of a cool corner bar. A medium sized u-shaped bar just inside the door has about 20 stools to go with a few bar tables and a dining room to the right. Reminds us of the Blind Tiger in look and vibe.

There are about 20 taps of high quality beer, with a strong emphasis on local products from Yards, Victory, Philly Brewing, DFH and Sly Fox. Some other US crafts (Allagash, Ommegang, RR Blind Pig) and some English and Belgian taps make up the rest of the lineup. One, yeah, one bottle selection (Orval).

I really enjoyed the comfort food emphasis. We had frito pie, one of my favorites, mini corn dogs and spinach croquettes. Like MT, the menu includes a fair number of vegetarian and vegan choices.

Service was attentive and friendly.

Can't wait to go back.

HV

Photo of Wolfhausen
4.22/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The local 44 has been a beer bar I keep coming back to again and again. The atmosphere is very low key where you can meet with friends for a coversation, food and most important good beer.

The selection here is always in constant motion. Just about every week I find new and exciting beers on tap. I do find that a significant portion of the brews are from the west coast, mainly California. They also have 2 casks on hand at all times.

The food is well made and tasty. Though the selection is small it's quality and taste will keep you satisfied.

Finally the atmosphere is a huge reason I love this place. Situated on the corner of 44th and Spruce this bar maintains a local neighborhood vibe mixed with pinch of modernernist style.
The Local 44 is a must visit to any one this side of the Schuylkill.

Photo of tobelerone
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Gatordaddy
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of soulcougher
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of razorsdescent
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of slander
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Now, having fed the meter at the first place I went to only to find it closed for renovations, I want my goddamn dollar back. And I'm going to take it out on the city someway, somehow. Was thinking of heading back into Philly proper to pick up Randy a few hours earlier and leaving town (and there goes his tourist dollar, that'll learn you), but I'd have to hear his crap about cutting short his day of "heritage exploration", as he says. Or, as I'm over the river west, I can be reasonable and seek out Local 44; Memphis Tap Room's hot younger sister, new in town...

Corner place, new and kind of prettied up on the outside. Shiny laminated rounded "L" shaped bar seating about 18. A pair of handpumps on the bar and a row of unmarked tap handles below. Barback counter holds a bit of tiered booze on one end and to both sides of a center cash register, and some wines on the end. Neat mirrored wood unit above. Large flat screen over center, tap selections written on a long vertical board on the end, and glassware stacked and shelved below.

Windows tall & narrow with cranky handle open things, mostly up front but also to the side, separated by the old wood corner door with yellowish patterned glass inlays. Alternating sized wood plank floorings, and surprise old pressed tin ceiling, gold with crown molding, discovered & uncovered above a drop ceiling during space renovation. Score! Mostly brick red walls with black trim windows & doorways, and an olivey far wall with a large shout through above the bar tables there. A jukebox sits just alongside and past there, another renovation find; the unexpected pulley door opening into the side room. Framed vintage beer ads & larger framed pilsner glass prints. Exposed ductables above amidst drop bare bulb lighting over the bar, tracks spots inside and some sunken about. 3 raised roundy tables along the wall adjacent to the bar, 2 up front in the windows, and seating in the side room; a dozen 2-seat tables, in pairs mostly, some sharing common benchage, plus a couple of booths & a single raised table. Red walls, and cracked beige pressed tin ceiling with drop glass ball lamps on center. Framed Ferris wheel amusement park prints, a pair of large framed mirrors, and a board listing the tap selections there.

18 taps, a good mix overall. About 2/3 of them American micros, local (Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout, PBC Kenzinger, Yards Brawler, Victory Prima Pils), regional (DogFishHead Raison D'Etre, Allagash White, Ommegang Hennepin) and beyond (Atwater Voodoovator, Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale, Elysian Immortal IPA, Stone Smoked Porter), and the remaining 1/3 a mix of imports Belgian, German and English (St. B. Abt 12, Bluebird Bitter, Franziskaner Dunkel, De Ranke XX Bitter, Kostritzer Schwarz, Fullers ESB, Maredsous 6).

Both handpumps up (Sly Fox Pale Ale & Troegs Hop Back Amber), and they serve just a single bottle, lovely Orval ('cause that's pretty much all you need). Orval, she's lovely. And unforgiving. Like the sea. Jack had written something to the extent of "By the time you're reading this, you'll have missed the Cantillon Lou Pepe". He was right and I ain't happy 'bout it. Damnit! I thought about a Brawler and I thought about a Red Rocket and I thought about a cask Hop Back, and then I thought, "What the hell are you thinking?" De Ranke, please, yeah, that's me, I'll have that (did not suck), so I had another just to show there's no hard feelings.

Pub grubbings, I ordered up the sticky wings. A short while later, someone came from the back walking towards me with a plate of wings but put them down in front of the guy sitting 3 stools down off the corner. "Okay", I thought, "Mine will be up soon". They didn't. About 2/3 of the way through his plate of wings, guy looks up at me and says "Hey, I didn't even order these but they put 'em down in front of me so, hell yeah". (Grrr!) I said, "I think you got my wings", and he laughed saying "Just kidding, I ordered mine like a minute before you came in". Bad form, and I'm glad he cleared it up quickly as I nearly impulse stabbed him in the neck with a Pilot Precise rolling ball V5 extra fine green pen. That being said, where are my wings? Seriously. Took some remindin' but I got 'em, they were tasty; sweet & spicy, topped with scallions and peanut dusted. Small but tight food menu otherwise, about ½ of which are options for those who unconscionably murder vegetables.

Dig the tunes (Smiths, Kinks, Neil Young, Bowie), I hit the jukebox (kickin'), to find these artists there but the songs I'm hearing not on the discs in the jukebox. Scratched my head and asked why they're playing from a mirroring playlist instead of directly from the juke itself. Ash said "I'm going to be for a while, I don't want to discover its secrets all at once". Excellent.

Comfortable corner bar. Good house.

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Local 44 in Philadelphia, PA
96 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.