Taps: 20 / Bottles: 2
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
4.28/5 rDev -1.4%
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.
02-21-2009 04:55:56 | More by slander
4.43/5 rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
My fifth and final stop of my Philly beer tour (after Monk's, Foodery, Yards and Kraftwork).
The wife and I were lucky enough to find parking near and a table at Local 44 on a Friday night. The place was packed (all tables taken, two-people deep at the bar), but still manageable. This is not one of those bars that, when crowded, makes you want to chop somebody in half with your pocket chainsaw before leaving.
Ambience is cozy and warm, like a mountain lodge full of inoffensive, friendly Philly hipsters, complete with beards, stevedore's caps and the whole uniform.
They offer 18 taps and 2 casks (Yards plus Fuller's London Porter when I visited). A good mix of American crafts and quality Belgian and German imports: Ommegang, Oskar Blues, Green Flash, Great Divide (Espresso Yeti), Southern Tier, Corsendonk, Schneider Weisse...
Food is very basic, menu limited. Edible and fairly priced, but that's about it. I got a spicy pastrami sandwich that tasted like some nondescript cardboard-y deli meat, while the wife's spicy mac was more like a forgettable Mexican pasta salad, utterly devoid of excitement. Fries were truly delicious and salty, though.
Prices are good, $9 for a big sandwich with fries and $5 for small snifters of Southern Tier 2XIPA and Great Divide Espresso Yeti. Wow!
But the best thing about Local 44 is not the beer, not the ambiance but the service. Truly top-notch. Every server complements and helps each other and they all help you, the guest, instead of fencing off questions with the classic "I'll call your server" or "order from the bar". I was stunned. Despite being packed, every server that walked by our table stopped to check on us. AND the bartender himself took the time to step outside the bar and come to our table to take our order. Amazing or what!
Next time I'm in Philly, I'll be coming to Local 44. You bet I will!
02-05-2011 22:25:25 | More by DoubleSimcoe
4.5/5 rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Quickly becoming one of my favorite places to stop for a bite to eat and some decent beer, Local 44 has me finding a lot more reasons to get over to University City (the ICA, the Indian grocery store, the Bridge theater, etc.).
The beer selection never fails, and there's usually something interesting on cask (18 taps, 2 casks, 1 bottle - Orval, but you knew that, right?). So that said, let's forget about it and move on...
Spanky and Leigh really know how to put together a comfortable place. They did it with the Memphis Taproom, and they've done it again here (even better!). It's just so comfortable and relaxing. Stop in for a late lunch or early dinner and bask in the soft light that floats above you, and the warm glow coming through the orange glass of the doorway. Then there are all of the other interesting accompaniments, and whalla, there you have it.
But let's not forget the food. It's interesting, and slightly quirky, but not too much so. And the execution is perfect. Everything that I've had has been done without flaw. The prices are reasonable, and the portions are properly sized (don't expect BIG plates, or rip-off tapas).
Other than what I've mentioned above, what strikes me in a positive and endearing way is how integrated the clientele is. Now I'm not talking black and white here, that's too obvious for University City - but what I am referring to is the number of young families who pop in, the artists, the intelligentsia, the white-collar crowd, the blue-collar joes, and the older locals. And where you might expect to have the place over-run by lunk-head college kids that's not the case either (it is Penn & Drexel of course !!!) except later at night.
So, given everything, you'd have to be a fool not to stop by.
04-06-2009 23:30:51 | More by NeroFiddled
4.8/5 rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
My first visit to this excellent Philly beer bar. I know I keep on saying this, but what I wouldn't give to have this as my neighborhood bar.
Located at the corner of 44th and Spruce, I was surprised by the size of the place and how nicely appointed the place was. Everything was done up in dark green and dark wood, giving the place a nice, solid look. As you walk in the door, there is a long bar to your immediate left, with some tables and chairs to the right. There is sort of a seperate dining area, which while not huge, was good size I thought. I didn't have much of an opportunity to explore, as the overwhelming crowd for the Russian River event quickly made moving around problematic. In any event, this place has a very nice, very relaxed, low key vibe that I really liked. Quality of the beer selection on this particular day was off the chart exceptional. There were 7 RR beers on tap, along with two english ales on cask (Fuller's London Pride and the ESB), Ayinger Celebrator, and another 10 or so craft beer selections. There is no crap on tap or in bottles here - in fact the only bottled beer they have is the Orval.
As I was here for the RR event, there was very quickly a large, nearly overbearing crowd. At some places the service can really suck when this happens, with the staff becoming increasingly snarly, snarky and unpleasant. Not here. Depite a huge, aggressive and often testy crowd, the staff kept their cool and their sense of humor, handling the crowd very well. When lack of glassware became an issue, the bartender went out to the dining room, canvassing the tavern for glassware. In short, given the circumstances, I thought the service here was outstanding.
Didn't get any food, but ordering food on this day would have been next to impossible anyway, given the crowd. Prices were reasonable as well I thought, with the Younger and Consecration going for $7.70 a glass, and all the other RR beers going for $6.60. I think pints of everything else were around $5.
This is an absolutely outstanding place. Yet another in beer rich Philly...
03-16-2009 14:10:07 | More by John_M
4.2/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
The newest place from the owners of Memphis Taproom, one of our favorite new bars. We could not wait to check it out since it is much closer to home.
Like MT, Local 44 has the feel of a cool corner bar. A medium sized u-shaped bar just inside the door has about 20 stools to go with a few bar tables and a dining room to the right. Reminds us of the Blind Tiger in look and vibe.
There are about 20 taps of high quality beer, with a strong emphasis on local products from Yards, Victory, Philly Brewing, DFH and Sly Fox. Some other US crafts (Allagash, Ommegang, RR Blind Pig) and some English and Belgian taps make up the rest of the lineup. One, yeah, one bottle selection (Orval).
I really enjoyed the comfort food emphasis. We had frito pie, one of my favorites, mini corn dogs and spinach croquettes. Like MT, the menu includes a fair number of vegetarian and vegan choices.
Service was attentive and friendly.
Can't wait to go back.
01-15-2009 17:51:26 | More by sholland119
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Our first visit will most certainly not be our last!
A pleasant corner bar in the West Philly neighborhood at 44th and Spruce near Philly College of Pharmacy. The plain exterior hides the classy charm of warm wood and sleek metro style inside. A comfy space inside with the 15 ish seat bar greeting you inside the door and a cozy dining area off to the right partially hidden behind an open partition.
Arriving at the off time of 2:30 PM there were only a few other customers present so we had some nice conversation with Leigh who "just happens" to be the owner! Along with her husband Brendan they also own and run the Memphis Taproom in the east side hood of Fishtown.
Local 44 specializes in session beers and most of the 17 taps and 2 handpulls clock in at under 6.0%--with many being 5% or under. Half-pints are also offered....so one can get more beer without more alcohol! They offer but ONE bottled selection...that being Orval since it isn't available on tap.
Our service was outstanding with Leigh being a most congenial host that not only made us beer geeks feel welcomed but she also did a masterful job offering suggestions to folks that came in a bit confused with a bar that didn't have any BMC offerings.
Beers we enjoyed during our visit were:
* Yard's Brawler (a very light, tasty English Pub Ale clocking in at 4.1% ABV)
* Coniston Bluebird Bitter(Coming in at 4.2% ABV is one of the most outstanding representations of it's style and a beer that should be enjoyed on tap)
* Köstritzer Schwarzbier (at 4.8% ABV a tasty, awesome brew--the style benchmark)
* Elysian Immortal IPA (at 6.3% ABV a bit out of session range, but rather low for a west coast IPA)
* Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale (The indulgent selection from the list!)
Having eaten lunch earlier I skipped food but C enjoyed the tacos, which come in fish or tofu versions. C opted for plantain-encrusted mahi mahi with guacamole. A lovely app/small meal that was nicely presented and tasty.
The menu while small looked well thought out and mouthwatering.I am sure I will bring my appetite for the next visit.
Local 44 is a great addition to the West Philly bar scene. Prices were very reasonable for Philly....with most of the pints in the $4 to $5 range...with a few local offerings in the $3's!!
A nice place with good beer, good food and pleasant folks running the taps, what more could you ask for in "your" local?!
01-27-2009 14:00:07 | More by Deuane
4.28/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
For my 130th pub review (Applause), I have chosen this quaint little University City gem. During a recent three-day weekend in Philadelphia, Local 44 was my final stop and an invigorating hike to 30th Street Station for the train home. Located on a quiet and leafy residential area near Penn University, Local 44 retains a neighborly and inviting vibe. It is small; it consists of a dimly lit bar area and an additional, and larger, room opposite a wall. The bar itself can accommodate about twenty-five people. There is an interesting tiled ceiling that is worth a peek while downing your last pint.
As noted in previous reviews, Local 44 has a small, but well selected array of 19 taps with two casks (Fuller London Pride and ESB) written on the chalk board behind the bar. In addition to the aforementioned casks, my quaffs for that afternoon were Founders Pale Ale, Elysian Immortal IPA and the delicious Love Stout from Yard's Brewing. Oh yes, there is a single bottled beer: Orval. Why Orval? Don't know; didn't ask. I received very efficient service at the bar from Cass, who passed the "water test" with flying colors. (See my review for Race Street Café.)
My visit occurred during Weekend Brunch - which must be a Philly thing - so I can only comment on that menu. For brunch, I had the Pastrami Hash, which was actually a pastrami sandwich; it was enjoyed nevertheless. Good marks for the diversity and the freshness of it all.
As noted, Local 44 is somewhat away from your usual Center City haunts, but is well worth the 20-minute ride on Bus 42 to get here.
11-16-2010 17:26:48 | More by jjboesen
4.13/5 rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
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.
10-28-2010 01:25:44 | More by glid02
Local 44 in Philadelphia, PA
95 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.