City Tap House

Not Rated.
City Tap HouseCity Tap House
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

36 Ratings
Ratings: 36
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: n/a
Taps: 60
Bottles: --
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

3925 Walnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104-3624
United States
phone: (215) 662-0105

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @taphousephilly

Notes:
Place added by: stingrayvr6 on 05-13-2010

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
to view more.
Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 19
Reviews by stingrayvr6:
Photo of stingrayvr6
3.93/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

As a beer bar, this place has few rivals. The selection is typically excellent with great diversity and quality. However, many of the beers are fairly commonplace, with only a few great ones worked in. I first visited the week they opened last spring and the food was incredible. Returning this fall, the menu did not live up to what I had remembered. Food was mediocre, generally overpriced and service was nothing to write home about. As well, many of the bartenders are not as knowledgeable about beer as I would like at a place with such an extensive tap list, though they are very quick to offer samples. The ambiance is great, but definitely along the lines of a restaurant and not a beer bar. Great place to take a beer inclined date? Trendier/more hip feel than, say, Monks or Eulogy, not as hipster as Local 44, (also not really on par with the first two in any respect, be it food or drink) but definitely the place to go if you want to put on a button down and sport coat. Only reason that this will be a regular stop of mine is that it is walking distance, but only if Local 44 hasn't changed their menu recently. Very good, but more of a restaurant than beer bar.

More User Reviews:
Photo of DuaneL
4/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Wonderful selection of drafts - good stopping spot for that area.

Photo of RutgersBeerGuy
4.25/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

I visited the City Tap House for the first this past Sunday for the Pliny the Younger tapping. Consequently, this review might not capture the "every day" experience of the the place.

The bar and restaurant itself is remarkably spacious. There's plenty of seating at the lovely copper-topped bar, along with bar tables and a large dining room. The aesthetic is modern, though not particularly distinct.

The selection of beers for the event was fantastic. In addition to the Younger, they had Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, Supplication, and Damnation, along with plenty of other hoppy offerings from around the country. Prices were reasonable for the city. Beers were served in appropriate glassware and at an appropriate temperature.

The brunch menu was outstanding. I deliberated for close to a half-hour before settling on "The Big Chick." It was a large, flaky biscuit topped with a Southern-fried chicken breast, bacon, and a fried egg, all topped with a rich sausage gravy. It was all that you could ask for when you're drinking in the morning.

The service was very good. Water glasses were promptly refilled, and there were complimentary (amazing) doughnuts in honor of the event.

I'd love to revisit the place on a "normal" day, but if their ability to pull off this event is any indication, the place seems to be a real winner in University City.

Photo of roan22
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Been here many times, probably my favorite bar in the city. Familiar neighborhood to me. I like City Tap House because they frequently have Deschutes beer on tap or other west coast breweries that are hard to find on the east coast. Also I like the bar its very spacious and the service is good. The food also is great. On special brewery takeover nights or beer week brewery special events, its always a fun time. We love Andy the owner, one time he gave us beer glasses from New Belgium Brewery with bikes onthem that I just love. Tonight we had the Mezza plate, chicken and waffles and beer from Hardywood Brewery. Just an awesome place. They also have an outdoor area with firepits that you can sit around. Cheers!

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Beautiful summer day in Philly, breezy and relaxed. Perfect for a bike ride, and a little exploration of University City- a neighborhood I rarely explore. City Tap is located in a busy street deep in the colleges, and within a modern apartment building. You can access it via an elevator or climbing up a bunch of strangely-shaped concrete stairs/steps.

Once you get to the bar, it is surprisingly large and very modern, but it looks more like a nightclub than a bar. It's got none of that coziness you expect from a beer-centric bar. The wraparound bar is gigantic, there are flat-screen TV's all over broadcasting sports and the vibe is just "off".

I did enjoy the terrace, though. You can order a beer from the bar and sit outside overlooking the street and the college buildings. I bet it would be a good place to watch a sunset.

The selection is typical of this massive beers touting dozens of beers: huge but disappointing. The menu is divided by styles (wheat, fruit/wild, porter/stout, brown/barleywine) and there are between five and fifteen beers for each niche. There are a ton of some styles (IPA's) and there are none of other styles (barleywines).

Some highlights from the menu are RR Damnation, Allagash Tripel, Deschutes Hophenge, BFM Square Root 225. Nothing too crazy, though, and only two stouts (no imperials).

If you're going to flaunt 65 taps and that you're all about the beer, then you ought to do better. That is all.

Photo of Budinetz
4.51/5  rDev +12.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Very good value for the price! The staff was phenomenal and the food was fantastic. The only downside was that a large group had been booked in that took over the bar and most of the outside for a private event during happy hour. The list was also not updated accordingly, however the bartender informed us upon arrival that Philly beer week was upon them and this was the reason for the low stock. This is understandable and we appreciated the heads up. Very interesting style of pizza! Both the goat cheese pizza and the BBQ pulled pork pizza were awesome. Definitely pay a visit to this place...worth the trip.

Photo of msimone372
3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

City tap house typically has about 30-40 beers on tap. The only problem: the last 4 times I went in the first THREE beers I requested were out. And after that point I requested several other beers that were out!

Besides that I really enjoy this place.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.13/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Located on the second floor of a commercial complex, this place is large. A huge bar that houses 60+ taps and easily that many seats with glass along one side that overlooks a patio area with fire pits. Beyond the bar area is a good sized dining room and open kitchen.

Top to bottom, everything I have had here has been really good. I've had a couple of the pizzas, a handful of the apps, and s few entrees. All have been satisfying and portion size is perfect.

With over 60 taps, they have a wide range of each style on tap. The beer menu groups everything by style and usually offers a mix of harder to find stuff and common examples. I've stumbled upon many a rarity here.

A great place to watch a game too. They have many TV's in the bar area making it easy for you to follow along wherever you are sitting.

This place is in my regular rotation.

Photo of Dennycurr
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I've only been there 3 or 4 times----in the afternoon, on weekdays, so, take this review for what that is worth.
I was one of a few customers there, every time I went. Naturally, the service was good.
I definitley like this place.
Plenty of selections. ALL draft. I basically only drink Belgian or German beers but I have branched out to experimenting with these up and coming good American beers, when I can find them. This place looks like the place to be able to fulfill those experiments and if I don't see any of those, I can sink myself into a DRAFT of a good Belgian, (of which they always have a few----but---only a few), or---one of their staples, Aventinus, also on draft
The next time I'm going is around the beginning of March. I was told by the very friendly bartender they are having a "BELLS", event going on that week. All kinds of beers from that brewery.
See?....that is the kind of thing that I would dabble with, when not drinking Belgians.
This is the place that will do things like that.

Not a big fan of all the space, in, around and up, surrounding the huge bar. It doesn't seem cozy. Seems more industrial. Especially, when it is empty like when I go in there.
The outdoor patio looks inviting, when it would be crowded. One would be looking down on Univ City.
That this place has 12 reviews in BA, already, since it has only been open for a short time-- speaks volumes.
This is a rare find in Univ City.

Den

Photo of Rifugium
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Located in the college district on 40th & Walnut in Philly. I visited first when it was essentially brand new (May 2010). Nice place with an outside/rooftop dining area. It's more on the modern/hipster side as far as atmosphere goes, but there's still a remnant of rustic air about. Good big bar with a variety of beers on tap...they have the capability to have at least 60 different draughts at any given time. My first visit occurred during Philly Beer Week, and there was a Bell's event going on, with over 30 Bell's brews on tap, which obviously gave me a great first impression. EXTREMELY busy it was, however, the bartenders and servers were amazingly on the ball, and it was actually astounding to watch. Recommended!

Photo of pdeepak
4.78/5  rDev +19.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I frequent City Tap House a lot, as I live a block away.

I love this place! Great selection and service, the few times I have encountered even a small problem, all I have to do is mention it and it is fixed immediately.

The food is excellent, if a little bit on the pricey side, especially now that they have increased the prices by about 15-20%. I have heard great things about the mussels, the sausage pizza is great and the chicken press sandwich takes the cake.

Obviously, the beer is the key component here. They have new kegs that rotate on as old kegs are killed and every Tuesday they have a bunch of new kegs ready to flood the pipes. I have had some really rare brews here, the Abyss and Black Butte on tap among them, as mentioned by another reviewer. They also had the Ommegang Cup O Kyndnes which is a one off!

They have had several events related to promoting beer awareness including a huge craft beer tasting event over the summer of 2010. Sixpoint and Avery have also come into the bar to hold tasting sessions and seminars.

Lastly, they do growler pours which vary in price depending on the original price/size of a single serving of the beer. If you are on foursquare, every 10 check ins nets you a free growler! fantastic deal!

Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Stopped by this place near UPenn while visiting Philly. Good atmosphere, chill and classy, though not stuffy or fancy or anything. They've got a ton of taps with generally pretty good stuff, though the selection is not as exclusive as I might like. A little heavy on the pale Belgians (wits, pales, etc.), which is fine, but not exactly what I was in the mood for. Service was largely responsive and quick, though one of the bartenders told me that the reason why my Tripel Karmeliet tasted like movie theater popcorn was because I had let it warm up too much. He worked with me and gave me another beer, so props to him for that, but I'm almost sure it was a dirty tap line. Not a huge deal, happens to all bars, I guess. Not too expensive, most beers are in the $6-8 range. Fun place.

Photo of orangesol
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

City Tap House is in a word, huge. There is a big bar and even bigger dining room to go along with the big outdoor dining area. The beer selection is pretty damn good but it better be if you have 60 taps. Very good selection/variety. I had an Abyss and a Black Butte Porter. Don't find those on tap every day on this coast. The food is good, but pricey. The menu is small but has a good variety. I got the shrimp and grits and while they tasted great the portion was very small for the $12 price tag. I paid less for both my beers! The bartenders/servers were decent. They were attentive but at times they were nowhere to be found. They also didn't really know very much about some of the better beers on the list. Overall it is a really cool place that I'll definitely go back to.

Photo of tim9887
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

City Tap House is a pretty big place - a good sized bar and even bigger dining room as well as a nice big outdoor dining terrace. The beer selection is pretty damn awesome - 60 taps is quite a number. Always great beer on tap and usually something hard to find and/or new releases (or stuff new to the area like Cigar City, Deschutes, etc). The food is decent, but sort of pricey, and the menu is pretty limited - gourmet pizza, sandwiches, and some various apps/entrees - not a great variety. I stopped in on June 12th during Philly Beer Week and they had a bunch of "leftovers" and I ordered a Pliny The Elder. The waitress came back and told me it was gone, and then suggested I go for the Damnation, which in her words, the bartender described as a similar beer. Are you freakin kidding me??? Damnation similar to PtE?! The only things in common they have are that they're both ales brewed by Russian River. This situation left me wondering about the knowledge of the staff. But otherwise it is a really cool place, I'll definitely go back.

Photo of Soonami
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

6/28/10 Update:

I talked to the general manager of the bar/restaurant yesterday when I returned and he was very nice about addressing the main problem that I had and expressed in this review.

The beer listings give the serving size, so you know exactly what to expect for what you pay for. I understand this is a huge new restaurant, with a lot of staff to train, but we still got the wrong pour of a beer my date order (10 oz tulip of <5% Left Hand Sawtooth ESB instead of a pint) I told the server about the mistake and it was instantly corrected. I hope that this is something that they can figure out and with 60-70 beers on tap, mistakes are bound to happen. The serving size/pricing issue was my main concern and it seems like that is being rectified.

Talking to the manager, he was very excited about upcoming events where they will invite brewers host themed nights and have other educational program, which I think is a fabulous use of the enormous space. Hopefully, the establishment will prosper as it hits its stride. There is a lot of potential with City Tap House.
___
This new West Philly bar has a lot going for it. Located just off Penn's campus it's an easy walk from class or work for the tens of thousands that find their way onto to campus everyday. You enter by either walking up the steps in front of the Radian Apartment complex or use the elevator accessible on the ground level next to Jimmy John's and Capo Giro.

When you first walk into the tap house, you will see an enormous bar, that could sit 50. The bar offers several beer flights, like locals, imports, hoppy, etc, which will be great for the uninitiated, but for the beer advocate, it is a pedestrian selection. The bar has about 60 beers on tap at any given time and will often have special events where they will give a brewery all the taps they want. For instance, during Philly Beer Week, Bell's had 31 beers on tap!

The food at this bar is quiet good and they offer a diverse selection of pizza, burgers, and casual dining options. The specials sound interesting too, like roast suckling pig on Thursday.

This bar is not perfect though, I have a few complaints. First of all, the beer is far too expensive. Most of the beer pours are 10 oz, but the glasses could fit at least 12 or 16 oz, so they often give you a glass of beer that looks half full, but you pay the same price or less for a full pint elsewhere. Case in point:
Yards Brawler, ESB and Pale Ale are all $5.50 for 10 oz! However, they will also pour you 10 oz of Avery Mephistopheles for $7 also...The food is also slightly more expensive than other beer bars, like a $12 burger or $13 individual sausage pizza. Although the bar has 60+ taps, a lot of the selection are just average beer, sure I had Bell's Batch 9000 and Expedition Stout, Pliny, and Mephistopheles, but most of the taps are nothing special.

I would go again for a special event, but normally, I think it's just a bit over priced and not worth my hard earned dollars. Given the choice, I think Local 44 is a better choice, the servers are more attentive and the tap list, though smaller, is better edited. The huge bar and dining room does make this a great place to take a large group and they take reservations

Photo of rfgetz
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Upon entering, the place has a minimalist, industrial quite feel do to the wide open space, tall ceiling, iron, copper and woodwork. A turn to the right displays a huge rooftop patio with firepits and a green-roof. The bar is long and can accomidate a larger amout of patrons than most bars in the city. The rear dinning area seems approriately sized and the exposed kitchen is right behind.

The beer menu consists of about 60 taps that cover many different styles. The menu is organized for a beer newbie with simple listings like "Wheat", "Lager" or "Stout", but is still easliy navigated. Quite a few of the taps are hard to find items, even for this area while the others represent a mix of the good old standbys. But with 60 taps, there are sure to be some macros and lame ducks. There beer events have been stellar featuring a ton of beers never before seen in the area from Bells or Deschutes.

Due to the large crowds during Beer Week and dinner reservations elsewhere on another visit, the food is yet to be sampled, but i have heard very good things from a majority of patrons. The service is spotty, most of the bartends put on a very fake knowledge of the products they are offering but still serve you adequately. Prices are a bit high - $7 for some of the craft products that can be found elsewhere for $5-$6.

Overall, i love the space, i love the vibe, i love the concept. My fear is the location will cause it to slide downhill and cater to the BMC douchey college crowd and also will the beers in the 60 some odd taps stay fresh? But only time will tell.

Update: A few different menu items were sampled on various visits and while good, they are nothing to wrtie home about - upscale bar food with the execution slightly off. Also, the service has taken a dip - many employees have no idea what they are serving, long waits for beer during peak times.

Photo of Seanibus
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2

What a vast disappointment.

Let's be clear here - this is a great beer bar but a borderline lousy restaurant.

The tap list is quite extensive and good - nothing revolutionary, but solid, from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to some nice imports to a good selection of locals like Yards and Victory. We went on the tail end of Philly Beer Week and there were some great leftovers - Russian River, the new Flying Fish Exit beer, and the like.

But oh, the food. The menu is hard to even pick from - it is strangely conceived and even more strangely executed. The only thing that the Brisket Reuben has in common with an actual Reuben is that there is bread involved. It is a big pile of meat and cabbage and stuff served open-face style. To call it unappetizing would be more than fair. The pizza is pedestrian (the crust tastes a day old). The sausage sampler appetizer was just bad - the worst bratwurst I have had on top of the worst red cabbage I have had, merguez sausage that was far too hot, and a fennel sausage that was dry and unappealing over a bed of badly undercooked lentils.

The staff was decently friendly, but not especially so. The decor is excessively spare and modern and the dining room is simply too big to be comfortable.

And to make it worse, it was expensive and the beer pours were small.

I will not be back.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Went here a couple times during beer week for a deschutes event plus the 31 flavors of Bell's extravaganza. A bit hard to find the 1st time since the sign is mad small plus it's located in a huge building with other establishments. Went in the ground floor entrance and took a elevator up to the main room, which is HUGE. A big vast warehouse sized room with a modern look with a small amount of rustic.

The bar area is huge, a big rectangle shaped bar with a nice set up, chairs are semi comfortable, plenty of room though, when it's not crowded as hell. Further back a big dining area with a open kitchen and good scents from the fare. Keep going back and you will hit the bathrooms which were very sanitary and nice smelling. Along the walls near the bathrooms were upcoming kegs to be tapped including a highly regarded DIPA or two that really should not be sitting out like that, if the brewer got wind of this, Im sure a call would be made. In fact there were a few ipa's sitting out dying slowly. Going back towards the front there is a huge outside area with seating and firepits and a garden that could be better utilized. A great view of the skyline and relaxing.

Service was very good considering the clusterfucks of beer geeks drooling over the tap list. The bartender was prompt, attentive but not overbearing. He gave us some tasting notes and a E-mail sign up sheet, since he saw me reviewing some beer. Table service is good as well, i'm sure it will be more prompt on a slower night, no problems.

From the looks of the unrefrigerated kegs, this place has some beer up it's sleeve. Im sure they are affiliated with the top Philly distributors and there are 60 taps so Im going to say this place has a vast and eclectic selection, something for everybody, including BMC type stuff. No bottles though, but Im not really in that market so it's not a bother. Flights of beer available for the tasters out there.

The food is something short of marvelous, it's just the small portions that bother me. The cheese plate is a must, and the sausage plate, while delicious was just miniscule. Great sweet potato fries that come in a small metal pail, I just wish there was more there, how do they expect me to drink more beer for hours on end. Kinda pricey food, but thats the price we pay for kinda awesome beer choices. During these special events I had bells batch 6000, black note, sparkling ale, golden funk and others. I also had some abyss on tap, delicious.

I will be coming back here soon, with a fatter wallet.

Photo of petesuphi
4.83/5  rDev +20.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place is upstairs in a building called The Radion. Upon entering i thought that we were in the wrong place. its not what your expecting from a beer bar-At all.As you wallk in there is a huge wrap around bar with 60 taps, no bottles. if you walk farther in there is seating in front of a wide open kitchen where you can watch everything get prepared. Back by the bathrooms they have kegs on deck just sitting there(vanilla smpoked porter from stone, pliny the elder,lots of southern tier(next time i go im taking a ball tap with me and im sneaking a little).they also have a huge patio/balcony which is probably the size of their whole space inside, with seating all over and a large grassy area. Its has a really good feel to it outside.
Our severs name was mark he was actually pretty knowledgeable about the beer and the proper glassware.
the tasting notes is also a very good idea. They have little sheets that you rate your beer and they put it on their website in a database so you can check back to it later. The prices were also very reasonble. We were at few bars on this day and they were the most reasonably priced of any.
the food was also very good. fast service.
this is one of the big things that blew me away the prices are probably the cheapest in the city.
if the city tap stays on track they have the potential to be a GREAT beer bar and destination for the CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE.

to view more.
City Tap House in Philadelphia, PA
90 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.