Worth a peek for a beer if you are in the area with a cool vibe.
The Black Door has been five different named bars in the past 10 years. I remember it most as the Halo. The unique interior doesn't change, just the names. Rumor has it that supposedly, prior owners liked to "play the ponies" so to speak. *wink* Now, the Black Door offers a welcome feel for the famous South Street crowd that can make it here in a block. Interior feel is mostly restaurant like. They used to have good open mike nights downstairs. The interior is sort of like a giant spiral staircase that has three down stairs levels. Neat! The main bar is upstairs.
Limited tap selection consists of Sierra Celebration, Chiamy (yes, on tap) Hoegaarden, DeKonnick, Yards ESA, Young's Oatmeal Stout and a decent cold box that ofers DogFish Head, Broklyn, Unibroue, Flying Fish, Pauwel Kwak, Leffe, and Maredsous.
Our barkeep was super cool and suave. He earned a good tip. A bit on the entertaining side.
Last call: Could you bring your Mother here? Yes. A classy joint of to the side of South Street that is worth a shot to pull in a pint. A good place to bring a date too.
When you walk into this place, the first thing that strikes you is just how cool it looks. There is a ton of wood in this place. There are basically three levels, and the manager build the tables and the downstairs bar. The black door is actually on the middle level of the place. The upstairs bar is rather small, but there is room around it and from the rail side, there is space there, and you can look over it, which is pretty cool. I really think this may be the coolest looking place at least in this area, if not in philly. I am not talking about the chic stylings of olde city, but this has the feeling of someplace old, maybe from somewhere other than here.
The tap selection was good, even though there were only 5 taps. Corsendonk Christmas was on and it was great. My companion was very happy with the fact that they had Youngs Oatmeal Stout on as well. Their bottle selection was pretty comprehensive, but not necessarily extensive, but I think that will grow in time, based on consumption.
I did not eat, but my companion did, and he got a burger that he said was very good and the fries were good too.
I would definitely like to see this place stay in business, because they really put a lot of heart into it, and it is really a work of art. The bar tender was Michelle (sp) and she was great. She is still learning about the beer and seemed eager to do so.
All in all, I will definitely go back. If you are on or near south street, I definitely suggest a very short walk over to the Black Door.
There is a small bar area upstairs, which I found a little cramped and uncomfortable, and a seating area downstairs. The place had five taps but about 40-50 bottles. The selection of bottles seemed haphazard, and they picked a decent number of beers I'd consider mediocre (e.g., Spanish Peaks and others of that caliber), but there were many great beers, too--more than enough to satisfy you for several nights of drinking.
The Thai curried mussels had some spiciness but the texture and consistency of the mussels themselves would appeal only to a shellfish addict. Perhaps I'm a dilettante when it comes to mussels, but I've liked them elsewhere and didn't think much of them here. Other items on the menu looked appealing. The food tended toward nouveu cuisine. The Lobster rolls and carpaccio were both very nice.
The service was very good--attentive and well-informed about the beers.
As far as the touristy east side of South Street goes, there aren't many bars that actually have a good selection of beer. O'Neil's is probably the finest with great draft and bottle offerings, but the other bars (and some of them are truly great... Tattooed Mom's, The Artful Dodger, Dark Horse, New Wave Cafe) just don't offer enough variety. Well, The Black Door gives you more!
There are only five taps, but they pour a good selection; and their three double-doored low-boy coolers stock a wide selection of beers from Belgians to hefeweizens to IPA's and back (and they haven't forgotten the local breweries either!).
The multiple floor layout with the dining rooms below and the bar perched atop like some sort of crows nest, is interesting; and actually quite cozy. The bar area is a bit small, however, and it can get a bit crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.
It's billed as being "Belgian" (and actually based on a bar in Brussels named Porte Noire), but the menu is very accessible. The food is good and reasonably priced; and they have a wide selection to choose from, including some vegetarian options.
As of now it's new, and things are bound to change, but if you're in the South Street area looking for someplace to have dinner you might want to give it a shot!