Tria Cafe - Rittenhouse Square

Not Rated.
Tria Cafe - Rittenhouse SquareTria Cafe - Rittenhouse Square
BA SCORE
95
world-class

84 Ratings
Ratings: 84
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: n/a
Taps: 8
Bottles: 19
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

123 S 18th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103-5126
United States
phone: (215) 972-8742

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @triaphilly

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: nomad)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.18/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

So I finally made it to Tria, an establishment that my visiting is long overdue. It's exactly what I expected: a bit upscale though the atmosphere was relaxing and comfortable. Not a very interesting place inside aesthetically, but I'm here for some good beer and cheese, so the quality of that is what's important here. There was a good crowd on a Saturday evening, though we were able to grab 3 seats at the bar and order up a few rounds. The bartenders and wait staff were very intelligent concerning the beer and cheese. I knew exactly what my first beer was going to be (Rodenbach Red) and our young waitress was able to speak intelligently on the beer, its nuances, and cheese pairings that would go well with it. Service was very friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.

The beer selection is not mindblowing (you can certainly find all the beers here elsewhere within a few blocks) however the quality abounds, and it seems the styles are carefully chosen to run a very wide range. Hoppy IPAs, baltic porters, sour geuezes, thick stouts, crisp pilsners...they're all here. A nice mix of good imports, West Coast beers and local beers as well (Victory, Stoudt's, Lancaster, and Heavyweight were all represented). The 2 cheeses we paired our beers with were fantastic, served with bread and an accompanying sauce. They were recommended by our server and she was right on. Also had a sandwich, seemingly Italian...hot coppa, genoa salami, proscuitto, provolone...excellent. Really really good.

Wine selection looked extensive as well, though I can't speak intelligently on this, but I'm sure it's chosen just as carefully as the beers. This is a place I will definitely be returning to, probably on a frequent basis, not so much for the beers, but for the beer and cheese/food pairings.

Photo of ithacabaron
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Hey now -- why do people have to hate on the yuppies?

Yeah, this place is a little fancy-pants for its own good, but the concept of the bar is simple and strong. More importantly, that concept is executed to a T.

Tria...the name refers to the" three fermentations": Beer, Wine, and Cheese.

The constantly updated menu contains about 10-15 choices of each, and paring suggestions from one fermentation to another. Very handy for the young beer or wine enthusiast looking to learn more about pairing. I started out with an Ephemere (on tap), and paired it with a delicious aged goat chevre that came with balsamic-preserved strawberries. I found that the strawberries overwhelmed the beer/cheese pairing, however, so even though it was delicious, I ended up passing it off to the young lady dining with me. There are a variety of compotes that occasionally appear with cheeses...the strawberries, a savory mushroom with chunks of black truffle, and others. Seems to be that they make whatever sauce fancies the chef's heart that evening.

Service was friendly and attentive, if a bit unexperienced.

Beer choices are solid and varied, but sort of serve as a "greatest hits" of world brew...Saison Dupont, Rodenbach, Allagash White, Fransizkaner Hefe, Celebrator, Dogfish 90 Minute...it's almost like the owners just bought a copy of Garrett Oliver's Brewmaster's Table, looked at the "classic choice" of each style, and decided to stock them. As a result, you'll never go thirsty, but you won't be unearthing undiscovered gems here either...and at those prices, you might want to wander to the other side of the menu for exploration. As my score says, good, but not inspiring.

...and that's exactly what I did, knowing I could find any of the beer choices outside the bar without too much trouble, I became in fact more interested by the wine list, and switched over to drinking some great funky South African Pinotage by my second round. The rest of the night was dedicated to wine, and I have to say that I was surprised and pleased by all the things I chose to try.

All in all, a place where they do few things, but do them very, very well. And yeah, the bill was a little high, but the constant supply of tealights lining the bar doesn't pay for itself, I guess.

A great date spot.

***
Why To Make The Scene: Because you're on a first date, don't want to do anything too imposing or formal, but don't want to look like a rube. One other thing -- this is a beer site, sure...but drink wine here. You'll be very pleased. Bonus: Take your date for a stroll through Rittenhouse Square afterwards.

Photo of whartontallboy
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Pretty nice place.

The atmostphere is very well done; I went on a spring afternoon, and the huge windows were all open for a nice airy feeling. Also, the tables on the sidewalk opened up more space. It's a small place, but the space is used efficiently. Pretty cool music selection, but a bit of the more electronic stuff was kind of loud for my tastes.

The beer list was realtively small (6ish taps and then another 14-15 bottles), but it's a high-quality list that's pretty reasonably priced. The list itself has pretty good descriptions of some of the great beers they serve, which included some Schneider products, Victory lager, Rodenbach, Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, DFH 90 Minute, Stone IPA, Unibroue Ephemere, and others that I can't remember right now.

The food we had was quite good, and for the quality in this part of town, pretty reasonably priced. The cheese list is similarly small, but also of high quality, and the server was helpful in making pairings with what we were drinking. The menu is mostly sandwiches, bruschetta, and cheeses, but everything I tasted was nicely done.

Plus, there's no smoking. That's a huge benefit in my book.

Overall, this seems like a good place to visit for either a specific beer or a date place when you want to thinly veil the fact that you really just want to try some new beers. I think your date would fall for it.

Photo of slander
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

We're working our way... I don't know in which direction, but I know we're on a jagged path towards the hotel. Just kind of stumbled across it, or maybe there was some effort there, I'd be lying if I said I could recall. Hey, isn't that?? Yeah, I know that dude. We unexpectedly came upon a posse of BA's here, seemingly beyond the parameters of their itinerary for the evening...
It's a long narrow place with a slight "L" shaped bar seating a dozen with a half dozen adjacent bar tables. Mostly spot and dim lantern lighting throughout, except to the front of the bar which is lit by pairs of mismatched differently sized candles on each of 5 shelves above the half a dozen tables located here.
8 very nice taps. DogFishHead 90 Minute IPA (yay!! not the 60), Ramstein Maibock (nice to see out of Jersey), Victory Dark Lager, Yards ESA, Troegs Nut Brown, Allagash White (a good ways from home), Heavyweight Lunacy (my good friend), and Hennepin (the first time I've ever seen it on tap). Had the Lunacy of course, which was just so nice. Also about a dozen and a half bottles. I'm like, "Hey, is that the De Dolle Oerbier?" (We're in love, you know). Like anything else matters after that, they also had imports Triple Karmeliet, Rochefort 8, Saison Dupont, Flemish Primitive, Schneider Aventinus, Weihenstephaner Hefe, Hacker Pschorr Lager, J.W. Lee's Harverst Ale '99, and domestics Stone IPA, DogFishHead Aprihop, Rogue Brutal Bitter, Stoudts Pils. the beer menu breaks out the beers into 4 groupings with headings, "Invigorating", "Friendly", "Profound", and "Extreme".
There's also a 2 page wine list and at least a dozen cheeses to choose from. Very nice. Bartender knows his beers and could speak intelligently here. Was happy enough to stick around for a second beer.
It's been a good day. Quality Dali, great Frites, the unexpected Oerbier. I was in that place, you know, and then overhead the perfect REM tune.
"Nightswimming, deserves a quiet night, I'm not sure all these people understand...."

Photo of dansteino
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The key to this bar is focus and precision. There is not much of a selection. Nevertheless, the beers are all good; the wines are all good; the cheeses are all good; and the rest of the food on the limited menu is good.

The beer selection is small but well thought out. All world class beers.

Service is good. The small selection leads to good service. The servers are knowlegeable. The glassware is correct.

Don't come here to try something new. Come here to enjoy some of the best beers (that you probably previously enjoyed) in a great atmosphere with good accompaniments (cheese, food, etc.).

Oh yeah. One more big plus:

NO SMOKING!!!

Photo of bennybrew
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

this place is as far away a beer bar can get from blind tiger or bukowski's. DON'T BE FOOLED! it is a pretty bar for pretty people but they take thier beer seriously. i had occasion to visit whilst in philly for the beer show. rob todd, jason and scotty from allagash and i went as rob wanted to thank them for putting their white on. they have but 6 taps but all fine beers. we got to talk to the manager (?) about thier philosophy on beer. they serve mostly local beers on draft and only from 1/6bbls so they can ensure the beer stays fresh. they also carry about 20 or so bottles of high quality. their menu is 4 printed pages: food, wine, cheeses and dessert, and beer. the beer menu was divided in to several catagories including invigorating, divine, and extreme. the food looked really good but i didn't get to try any. they don't have the cray selection of some of the other bars but they certainly know and care about good beer.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5

So I walk down 18th st and look and look and look for TRIA. It's on the corner of 18th and whatever two blocks down from Market where the train dumps me off. (Sentence ending on a preposition.) Two entrances can confuse. Alas, I choose the one on the right that gets me wrapped up in a big brown curtain. Anyway, so the CLEAN floors and CLEAN bar to the left are CLEAN. The atmosphere is CLEAN and laid back!!! Relax! Have a brew! (Papazzian) The candles get busted out when the sunset hits. (au romaunt.)

My 'tender named Ben was a super cool beer geek employed here since TRIA's opening night. KOOL. He even inspects each glass prior to filling like a y'know, real wine bar except TRIA serves (brace yourself) good beer too. Oh, this joint is a bar and restaurant. I was hesitant to hit it because I thought that unless you were ordering a boatload of wine and cheese, hoof it! Which leads me to the rest of my review. Super CLEAN, padded stools fitting the bar well.

*** NO SMOKING *** NO SMOKING *** NO SMOKING **** Good or bad.

Jazzy tunes comforted the ambiance. The tender could not have been better!

The selection is tight but nice. Taps: Allagash White, DFH 90, Monk's Sour/ Vic'ry Dark Lager, Three Philosophers, Heavyweight Lunacy, Troeganator, Yards ESA. The bottle selection is varied with: All sorts from Vic'ry Storm King, J.W. Lees '99, Rochefort 8, De Dolle, Oude Gueze...yeah!

Food review? Read another website for that...Heer 4 beer...

Last call: Could ya take Mom here? Sheesh...Mom, G'ma & Great G'ma would be comfy here. This is the joint to take a date to be impressed. By the way, this joint is NOT overpriced. Well worth the cost! Otherwise, get your shoes wet with piss at some scrod joint. Rated under Monks for beer...but above Monks for a date.

Photo of stingo
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

What a great place - definitely a must see for any beer traveler (or anyone else that matter to go to). The atmosphere is sort of modern/trendy, without resorting to snobbery. Everything I had was of the highest quality. The server was exceptional, recommending excellent cheese pairings with the beers I had. And what a nice selection too - I think (as was mentioned earlier in the thread) there are at least two beers that someone wants to try on their list. I opted for the Monk's Sour Red Ale, Aventinus and Saison Dupont. The first was paired with an excellent dry Gouda with fermented cherries. The second pairing (I wish I could remember the name of the cheese) went well too. By then I was sampling the other unusual things on the menu like the spiced almonds, and the olive oil/rosemary chips. (Addicted to the chips!). Prices weren't bad and in line with the goods received. The food is very fresh and very flavorful, though limited to snacks and sandwiches. I had the smoked chicken sandwich and it was wonderful. Tria is not a big place, so getting there early is recommended for a night's outing. Outstanding.

Photo of Beermaninpa
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Atmosphere:
What a great place to take a date, she would never know it's a beer bar. Very clean, contempory and "Old Cityish" . Definitely a great place to go with your GF/wife, no necessarily a place to go with the guys. Can feel like you are in an Ikea showroom sometimes. Love sitting outside in the warm weather.
Very informative menu on all of the beers, wines and food. Not just a couple of words, good descriptions.

Quality:
Top notch. From the food, beers and wines, not a dog among the bunch. They really took the time in choosing what are truly some of the best available. Always amazed by the food, nice to see what they can do with such limited space.

Service:
Polite, quick, knowledgeable with no attitude. One of the things about the atmosphere is that this is not normally a place I would not like from the "looks", you would expect the staff to be curt, snotty and give attitude when you ask about something. But, no attitude at all, when you ask questions they take the time to listen and converse with you . . . always seem to all the answers without making you feel like novice.

Selection:
8 beers on tap , 20 world class bottles, 12 cheeses and 20 wines. Everyone of the beers I would gladly drink, the nice things about the tap beers is there are always two that you would have a hard time finding in Philly otherwise. Menu is limited to sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Food:
Not the largest and most diverse, but every time I eat there I am always amazed what they do with such limited space. Diverse enough that everyone will find something to eat.

Overall:
One a may favorite spots to visit. It's become a stop on my Monks, Nodding Head and Ludwicks tour. A true gem, that is different enough from the other hot spots to visit in Philly that it needs to be visited by all. Last time I went, we stopped in for some beers and cheese before dinner and the staff was nice enough to recommend Loie right down the street for dinner. Loie reminds me of the classic "tourist class" restaurant in Brussels.

The other nice thing about Tria is they have put beer on the same level as wine. They don’t treat it like a step child, it is an equal . . . for this we all should be happy.

Photo of francisweizen
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Tria is a lovely newish bar in the rittenhouse square area of philly. The atmosphere is cool with a large black curtain that you must enter through, dim lighting, nice candles, chilled music, and a nice mix of people. Quality of the beers is phenomenal with 8 excellent draught selections and 12 or so bottled brews which are all world-class examples of different styles. The service here was also wonderful with our waitress being very cute, friendly, and knowledgable. A winning trio in my book. Selection was also great, as noted they have 8 draughts going, which on my last visit were: Heavyweight lunacy, Brooklyn lager, Dupont avec les bon vouex, Allagash white, Yards Esa, Troegs oatmeal stout, and Maredsous 8. The bottled beer list includes such world-class favorites as Deus and Aventinus. An excellent experience. highly recommended to other BA's.

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.88/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Tria is a bold and thoughtful experiment. Truly unique. Giving equal footing to wine, beer and cheese.

I must concur with nomad that the atmosphere reminds me a lot of New York City atmospheres. Nice and comfortable with a modern feel. The service was extremely good. Not overbearing, friendly and prompt.

The selection is not the most extensive you'll ever find, but it is indeed exceptional. I could find no flaw. Keep in mind, my aim was to match my beer with my food. This is not the type of place where I would come just for beer.

Speaking of food, it is quite good. I gave it the top rating because of the selection of cheese. Again, not completely exhaustive but they have all major types. I had a nice, 5-year gouda from Holland with a bottle of Ommegang. A very nice match!

They could greatly assist the gourmets by suggesting beer-food pairings. They had enough styles on the list to make thoughtful pairings, so that shouldn't be a problem. Currently, they do not organize their beers but by categories such as "profound."

The price is both high and reasonable at the same time. Being in Rittenhouse Square, prices tend to be a tad high. But the quality of food and beer when you factor in the area, it is indeed reasonable.

This very must should be considered a staple of the Philly beer scene. And I hope it remains so for many years to come.

One last thought: as nomad said, Tria is founded on the art of matching beer and food (or wine). If you are even remotely a fan of Garrett Oliver's work in this field, you will be pleased with Tria.

Update: Sundays have a half-price beer, wine and cheese. One per person. Can make for a cheap evening and you get to try some new beers. Selections rotates a bit. They also came out with a membership card which will help you earn free stuff. Tria keeps getting better. Service is wonderful.

May not be your thing if you can't get past the atmosphere. But if you are flexible like good beer and cheese. Man o man, is this your place.

Update: I would recommend asking your server to help you match your beer and/or cheese together.

Photo of PopeDX
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Tria is located right off Rittenhouse Square, very close to the other Center City hotspots. It has the best little beer list in the world. There are about 8 or so taps and 15 or so bottles. But each of those is a world-class beer from a different style. 90 Minute, Saison Dupont, Kasteel Tripel, Rosé de Gambrinus, etc. The wine and cheese list are also equally amazing. I had a Rioja whose name I forget that absolutely knocked my socks off. The cheese is really good, cut as you order it, paired with a certain food that accentuates the taste perfectly (walnuts in syurp, some weird berries, etc.). They also have finger sandwiches and small snacks I haven't yet gotten to.

Everything is a bit expensive, but it's pretty reasonable at the same time, due to the high quality...plus the neighborhood it's in. The service is friendly and quick, and was smart enough to warn us before popping open a bottle of Rosé de Gambrinus, saying they couldn't take it back if we didn't like it and that it was pretty sour. The place has sort of a modern euro feel and the crowd is the younger jetset type.

As I mentioned before, it's right off of Rittenhouse Square with its fancy shopping. This also puts it right near Monk's, Nodding Head and Ludwig's. Might be hard to plan to stop in if you're spending a limited amount of time in town, but if you're in town a lot it makes a nice shift from the same old same old.

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Bring me the finest meats and cheeses in all the land!!!

Located not too far from Rittenhouse Square (my Philadelphia geography is a little spotty), is the sleek and tasteful Tria. It's a small establishment, maybe 40 feet deep and 20 feet wide with outside seating available during warmer weather. The decor is modern European, pretty much straight from the Ikea/PotteryBarn catalog. The tables and spacing in between them are rather scanty, so you're gonna be seated close to your dining companion(s) and random strangers next to you. There's also a bar that you can sit at if you're so inclined.

Beerwise, you're looking at about 20-30 choices.. all of them ones I wouldn't turn my nose up at. It's a nice mix of local, regional, and international delicacies. A major highlight when I was there was the Monk's Flanders Red on tap. Nice of Monk's to allow another locale to sell it. Other than this one beer, those looking to trainspot will probably be disappointed. Screw them, sez I.

Foodwise, you're not looking at entrees, but smaller, tapas-sized plates of meats, cheeses, and other small bites. The cheeses are all top-notch and come paired with a little foodstuff that complements the cheese quite well. The meats are also rather nice as well, but the cheese... oh my god the cheese... My coworker and I left this place content and wondering why we don't eat like this more often.

The service was attentive and friendly. They're more knowledgeable on the cheesefront than the beer department, but this should be expected given the focus of the establishment. Prices were reasonable, but you should expect to shell out a bit for a good meal here. Thankfully, it's all high quality foodstuffs.

In short: a stealth beer bar. You can take your non-beerloving friends and companions here without them knowing they've entered a little slice of your kind of heaven. They'll probably like it, too. If they don't, get new friends.

Photo of nomad
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

The image of the triangle is one of balance and structure, as well as mystical overtones from religious history. The mystery continues in the workings of yeast as Tria is founded, and this is their words, on the trinity of great fermented foods: wine, beer, and cheese, and their magical pairings. This is not a wine bar with some beer; unlike any place I have encountered they respect each equally. This, if not a first, will soon be the scion to be copied, mark my words. What Standard Tap did for grub and local beer, Tria will do for the cosmopolitan, foodie set in a sleek interior that would fit in Paris, London, or Tokyo in its impeccable design. It is the only bar in Philly that actually looks like New York instead of trying to look like New York.

Since BA is a beer site, I’ll leave the wine comments aside, but I will say their wine selection is great. In fact, its so good that I have yet to drink any beer at Tria because the wines are screaming for food pairing (luckily the clientele is not as unbalanced as I currently am). As for beer, while the inveterate beergeek will pass over the selection as fair enough, it is finely tuned to pair with the food. Furthermore, if you step back you’ll see that each and every bottled beer is arguably the best or near-best of the style it represents.

Draught:
Allagash White
Cipper City Red Sky at Night
Troegs Nut Brown
Heavyweight lunacy
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Brooklyn Lager
(plus 2 more stellar micros I can’t remember)

Bottles:
Weihenstephaner Hefe-weisse
Hitachino Nest White
Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
JW Lees Harvest ‘99
Fuller’s ESB
Aventinus
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout
Triple Karmeliet
Saison Dupont
Ephemere (apple)
Lancaster Four Star Pilsner
Victory Hopdevil
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

The menu comes on a clipboard and it is thick and stylish, full of detailed descriptions augmented by carefully chosen paper stock and font. Can you name a bar that does that? The Beers, wines, and cheeses are listed not under headings by color, region, or some other common demoninator, but instead by creative descriptors. For instance, wines have areas like “Sociable Reds”, “Bold and Brash”, “Classy White”, while beers fit into niches like “Luscious”, “Powerful”, “Subtle”, and so on. As to which fits into which, you’ll have to come and see, as half the delight of the place is following the line of thought quietly etched into the details of the establishment. For cheese, this is the sort to serve Grafton Village, Humboldt Fog, and Maytag Blue at all times- an incredible cheese selection.

The food tapas-styled portion and presentation though the recipes roam over the array of European epicure finger foods: 8 types of bruschetta with sumptuous and creative toppings, snacks like marinated olives, prosciutta-wrapped fig chutney, and sandwiches made with the best combination of gourmet salami and the like.

The service is stellar - quick, quiet, attentive, and correctly aimed. They get to what you need without interrupting conversation or pushing things you never asked for (waiters, can you quit the “coffee and dessert” query?). They move fast and know what they’re talking about. The bartends are especially adept. But what would you expect? This establishment is founded on the art of pairing drink with food, and they follow suit unlike any bar. Most great beer bars don’t even do what Tria does.

Though, like Monk’s, this place will be hated by many because of its popularity, especially with the hip, yuppie, and monied crowd, sometimes restaurants succeed because of substance and style. As they respect barley, grapes, and milk, so do they respect their customer with impeccable presentation and service. Tasteful in every connotation of the word. Though a step from Rittenhouse, this is far from a snooty, over-priced Rittenhouse bar. This is far from any bar in the entire U.S.

Tria Cafe - Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, PA
95 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.