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Johnny Brenda's

Not Rated.
Johnny Brenda'sJohnny Brenda's
BA SCORE
89
very good

36 Ratings
Ratings: 36
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.89%
Taps: 12
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1201 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19125-3905
United States
phone: (215) 739-9684

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @johnnybrendas

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: NeroFiddled)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dcurse
2.25/5  rDev -43%

dcurse, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%

Poked in here after the infamous Firkenteenth at the Grey Lodge. Johnny Brendas seems like a kick ass beer bar that caters to LOCAL BREWS especially on tap (like the Standard Tap) predecessor, but aside from that, kudos ends.

The joint is dingy (which is not always to a fault) but this joint coulda used a mop and bucket so to speak, especially referring to the clientele.

The lone tender on a Friday night did his best. Pool tables abound. As far as the bathrooms go, this doesn't pass the "Would you bring your Mom here test?" NO!!!

Shoestring fries rocked. Great local selection. If you are in the hood then go. Otherwise, speck out elsewhere. Just my humble honest opinion. Fits in well with the neighborhood, but that's is the inherent downturn. Philly is a city of 100 great beer bars. Being one of them is a haul, but not that steep of a hill to climb.

Last call: Been here again a few times since my first review. Good locals and

blitheringidiot, Oct 21, 2004
Photo of Valentno7
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Valentno7, Apr 30, 2014
Photo of aes0300
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%

Johnny Brenda's is what you expect from a Philly bar. It's vintage rock and roll with a little attitude. Ok, It’s dark, grimey, and full local Philly punk sceensters. But don’t dare say this place doesn’t have any charm.

Head upstairs for live music and you will find a small stage and standing area which can get crowded. The small dimensions, however, make for an ideal setting to see a show. Food is served downstairs with what I would call an average beer list. You can find many local brews like Yards, SlyFox, Troegs, and Victory, which is fine by me.

I think what really makes this place is the atmosphere. Don’t expect to be blown away by an extensive beer list, but do come to see your favorite band and drink some local brews.

aes0300, Nov 12, 2007
Photo of rfgetz
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%

The outside and inside appearence screams hipster dive bar, but the beer menu needs a look over before you can judge the place. Decent, al be it limited selection of local craft beers but they are always on point with the limited or seasonal releases. Food is slightly above average with the free home made beer jerkey and oyster crackers at the bar satisfying enough to skip the main menu. Service is usually on point. Decent spot when in the hood for a pint or two, but unless there is a band on that id like to see, no need to rush back.

rfgetz, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of fishtownhxc
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%

since this place is owned by the same people as the standard tap, you'd expect the food and beer selection to be top notch, and it is. best place in the city to get a grilled pork sandwich after midnight (outside of a busy weekend). the taps rotate a fresh selection of local and regional beer, much like the standard tap, and the food is usually out of this world; like the tap, the best pub food in the city. don't bother going thursday through saturday nights unless you wanna deal with a bunch of wanna-be williamsburg fixed gear douches who inhabit the place and don't think it's cool to shower or bathe. in addition, it's not uncommon for a lot of the bartenders, especially the female bartenders, to be complete assholes and act like you don't exist. maybe it's because i wasn't wearing a cycling shirt with a reload messenger bag. either way, on several occasions, in addition to a few were the bar was practically empty, i have run into the worst bartenders at this place. you practically have to tackle one to get them to serve you, and i've gotten more attitude from the female bartenders at this bar simply because i didn't shout over the loudness in the bar at 10pm.

this place also has one of the best venues in the city to see a band, so for that alone it's worth it as well.

if the bartenders dropped the cooler than you act, this place would be the best bar in philly, regardless of who frequents it.

fishtownhxc, May 30, 2008
Photo of GnomeKing
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%

JB's is the newly-opened sister bar to nearby Standard Tap, which I adore. So why did the Standard Tap owners open JB's? I'm not fully sure. It's a good place to hang out, but it's less than a mile from the Tap, and it offers the same type of beers (local micros). The food menu is a little different, so that could justify a trip to JB's instead of the Tap, but the Tap has such a great and diverse food menu, I can't imagine choosing to go to JB's (the imitator) over the Tap (the original).

JB's is smaller, and on a busy night it could easily feel cramped and uninviting.

In fairness, JB's is new and may not have found its identity yet. The interior decorating is cool (think bohemian/artsy hip), and there's a pool table. I've spent most of this review talking about what didn't impress me about this place, but I do like it. Hopefully it will soon find its way out from under the shadow of the Tap and develop more of its own personality.

GnomeKing, Jul 23, 2004
Photo of Metalmonk
3.66/5  rDev -7.3%

The draw at Johnny Brenda's is a constantly rotating offering of local and local-ish beers, and when you're in the heart of Philadelphia, that means a selection of some of the best brewers in the country. The night we visited they offered selections by Sly Fox, Flying Fish, Yard's, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Troegs, Victory, Dock St., Dogfish Head, and others. Good variety amongst all that too, style-wise.

Staff were not the friendliest, but that's based mostly on one interaction with one fairly uninterested and probably stressed bartender (they were pretty busy, it was Friday night). They had a girl DJ'ing, and despite the fact that the music may not have been to my own liking, even if it was, it was WAY TOO LOUD. I'm hardly an old man who can't take loud music, but it affected not just the conversation, but the overall enjoyment of the beer and everything else. The atmosphere was dark-ish (good!) and the place is a long hall with a couple different rooms to wander through. A good time, if a short visit, with an amazing beer selection, but geez...turn that stuff down so we don't have to shout at each other while talking. Save that for the crappy sports bars of the world...

Metalmonk, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of corby112
3.66/5  rDev -7.3%

This is a nice bar/ concert venue in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. I never tried the food here but go to lots of concerts here. Local promoters R% bring a lot of good band here for less than $20 so I am here a lot. The selection is focused mainly on local beers all served on-tap. Every once in a while they get special one-off and have cask-conditioned ales. Also, they have pool tables which are always nice to find in the city. The service is decent but again I never ate here just had drinks at the bar. A little out of the way but a cool place to xcatch a good show and drink good beers.

corby112, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%

I knew about Johnny Brenda’s as beer-focused bar but didn’t know it has an active program of live music. There we went to enjoy singer-songwriter Greg Laswell play his mellow songs on a Saturday night.

Brenda’s is a rather massive endeavor, an entire building with three floors and several bar areas. The ground-floor bar was busy and super loud, not a pleasant place to hang out (call me old, I don’t care). Lucky for us, the second floor (where the stage is) was much quieter and cozier. They have a photo-booth! Sadly, the sound system was atrocious, and Laswell’s smooth, whispery tunes were almost lost.

The beer is good, though. The bar we were at near the stage had 10 taps of all-local/regional stuff, including SlyFox, Neshaminy, Flying Fish Exit 16 and Exit 1, Golden Monkey, PBC Kitty Pleasure, Troegs, Weyerbacher, Brew Works. Service was alright but not great (slow bartender, slammed bar before the concert) and prices are acceptable.

Would I return? Probably not... Kraftwork is only a five-minute walk away and it suits me better.

DoubleSimcoe, Mar 19, 2014
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Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, PA
89 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.