Hawthornes Bier Café

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Hawthornes Bier CaféHawthornes Bier Café
53 Ratings
Hawthornes Bier CaféHawthornes Bier Café

Type: Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

738 S 11th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19147-2651
United States

(215) 627-3012 | map

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Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2009

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Ratings: 53 |  Reviews: 35
Photo of JD_Lombardi
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

Photo of wpstafford
3.3/5  rDev -21.4%

I visited on a Sunday afternoon during the transition between the brunch and regular menu.

I was impressed with:
Beer selection - A fantastic offering of Belgian and American craft brews. A strong selection from Germany also. The two bottles I selected seemed reasonably priced at $3.00 and change.

Interior - This is a warm, inviting atmosphere to eat and have a beer. They have a fireplace that would be nice to read a book next to. I was disappointed that they only had tables and no bar. I seek out places where I might strike up a conversation and tables only limits that opportunity.

Service - Friendly and attentive.

I was less than impressed with:
Menu / Food - The menu was essentially soup and sandwiches with a couple appetizers. I ordered a turkey on a baguette. It turned out to be really white bread in baguette form. I expect a baguette to be dense with a chewy crust. This roll was mostly all air with a crust that flaked away because it was so dry. The chips are homemade, which is great, except my serving must have been from the bottom of the pot because I only had about four real chips and the rest was a greasy pile of fragments.

The owner approached me about my experience and I related the above. To his credit, he was genuinely concerned about my impressions and did offer a complimentary appetizer because I wasn't very satisfied with my meal.

They do have a keg system, but only offer draft beer in growlers, which I was told was because their filler system lets beer keep longer in growlers. I collect growlers and wanted to purchase an empty one. I was shocked at the $15.00 price tag for an empty growler. I'm used to paying more in the $5.00 price range.

All in all, I'd recommend you stop in and give it a try.

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Photo of Beerisheaven
3.35/5  rDev -20.2%

Decided to give this much discussed place a try since I work in center city Philadelphia. Opened with quite a bit of fanfare.

Regarding the +'s, it has been redone nicely. A number of tables on one side of the room and some couches and chairs and a few tables on the other side of the room greet you when you arrive through the front door.

The counter for ordering food sits behind the dining area with the beer on display in the back. A number of large coolers contains the beers arranged in geographic locations and there is a large display of bomber bottles located on the floor outside of the cooler area.

I actually found the food to be reasonable and tasty. My chicken salad was quite good.

Regarding the -'s, the first would be the prices, oh my! I appreciate that this is Philadelphia, but this is essentially a beer takeout place akin to the Foodery with a small dining area for light food. The prices are high, we are talking $38 for a bottle of Temptation as an example. The growlers are interesting and offer a good selection. The empty growlers - $15. Selinsgrove and Ottos and other places offer empty growlers for $3-$4. You have to purchase a special top so the empty growler costs $16.50 before you fill it if you do not bring your own growler with you initially. You can bring your own growler but you still must purchase the top. The one real + here is that the growler fill system is top notch and should allow you to keep the growlers for an extended period of time relative to other places that simply fill growlers via the traditional tube. This is a real plus in that you can get very good beer and not be forced to drink it within a short period of time.

There are plenty of places located much closer to where I live (suburbs) that offer the same general selection at far reduced prices and fill growlers at more reasonable prices, although the fill system is not as advanced as here.

I hope this place survives but the prices will keep me from visiting on anything other than an occassional basis. Nice to see another beer place in Philly, just hope it makes it.

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Photo of callmemickey
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

I am going to keep this pretty simple. I have problems really liking this place.

-good location
-nice looking space
-has some rare stuff in bottles and for growler fills
-everyone is friendly

-some things are significantly more expensive than their competitors (ex. Ithaca LeBleu was $33 here vs $23 out at TJs)
-get rid of the stupid $15 credit card minimum (not only is it a pain in the ass it is also against the terms of your credit card agreement to enforce a minimum)
-how is it that this place has so many gaping holes in its selection and every time i am in there you are out of so many staples (aka walk across the street and get stone ipa from the distributor when you sell out)
-while you all have been nice, when I am looking at beers in the coolers please stop telling me every five minutes I can mix a six-pack and get a discount. I got it the first time you told me

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Visited Hawthorne's during their IPA fest on Jessup street, gotta love drinking pliny out in the street. Had a great time. This place looks great from outside and inside is just as inviting, very bright, not gloomy. Some seating once inside and further in there are some coolers with some beer in em, alot of beer. There is also beer sitting out of the cold in a not so safe place and they can get knocked over easily, be careful. This place is across the street from Bella Vista so I guess that's all I have to say about their selection. Besides that all the usual staples are on the shelf from a bunch of countries, USA having the most. Well this is philly and the prices are high, that goes without saying, and big whoop wanna fight about it, beer prices in philly is old news, some bottles here are highly marked up though, like whoa. Pick wisely. A nice growler selection with some rare treats from time to time, counter pressure filled I believe. I wish they offered pints. The food menu looked full and thought out and the food looked appetizing as well. If I was not busy drinking I would of got some, next time. Service was friendly, chris seems like a cool guy, did not meet heather. Will be back when Im in the area

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Photo of Seanibus
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

Color me not so impressed. Sure, it is clean and welcoming inside, but the selection falls short of the Foodery outlets and the price I paid - for an Exit 1 from Flying Fish: $13.85 before tax - did little to inspire my loyalty.

By Philadelphia standards, this place has a good selection, but I saw relatively little that wowed me in terms of unusual offerings. The only surprise on the shelves was the Third Eye IPA from Steamworks in Durango. There seemed to be a overdose of Bruery beers. They had a couple of mildly interesting selections from out and around, including St. Somewhere from Florida, Dark Horse from Michigan, and Terrapin from Georgia, but its not anything that you would NOT know if you're deeply rooted in the beer lists at some of the local pubs.

Bottom line is that this place is far better than most bottle shops in Philly (with the single exception of the Foodery) but it just isn't anything special by the standards of nearby states with more or less normal beer sales laws. And expect to take it in the wallet when you go to the register.

UPDATE: Suddenly I see Steamworks beers all over the place elsewhere on the East Coast, so that seems like less of a coup for Hawthornes.

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Photo of PSUDREW
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

finally got around to this place 2 weekends ago. Really nice. great, homey atmosphere. Service was OK. as a diner, I prefer more coffee refills, but, all in all, they weren't miserable. The omelet special I had was interesting. a nice omelet to be sure, but not necessarily what I was expecting, but still really good. A nice breakfast spot w/ a nice drought list...who can't enjoy that? As far as the take out beer -better price wise, and close to selection wise then the foodery. and who can't appreciate that. 12 oz bottles run 2-4 buck. Bombers and 750...well 8-25 buck (not the best price...but not horrible). All in all a pretty enjoyable place, the brew, the food, and the atmosphere - a nice place place to find.

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Photo of Cbfree
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I am still torn about Hawthornes. I am not sure what they want to be. Are they a take-out shop or a dine in luncheonette? And I think that is the problem, they don't know what they are either and it causes problems. The prices seem high for a take out but good for a drink in, the food is hit or miss depending on who is working. Most of the time it is lunch counter service but on weekends for brunch full service yet you still need to get the beer.

I just think if they want to treat it separately, do like Capone's and have the bottle shop separate and run the luncheonette separate. I would cut down on some of the confusion and make it easier to do see them for what they are and not a muddled mixture that seems to change each time I come in.

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Photo of mltobin
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Photo of coachdonovan
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This was the first stop on an afternoon pubcrawl of South Philly after the Winter Beer Festival was cancelled. It's an upscale vibe that reminded me of a cafe you'd see in New Orleans. There is a couch and fireplace off to the side; the rest of the seating are tables. It's a pretty relaxed atmosphere and during our time here I heard more than one Marley/reggae song. We didn't eat but the menu had plenty of breakfast/brunch/lunch options. Bonus points for using a brand of recycled toilet paper.

The bottle shop is the biggest draw here. Prices can be high but you get 10% discount for 6 and 15% for 8. For some annoying reason, bombers don't count towards your volume discount. Bottle selection was huge - and current, as they had plenty of current BA buzz trifecta: Nugget Nectar, Hopslam, Hoptimum. I did also see RR Consecration. There were only 5 draft offerings. (Well, let's call it 4.5 since one was a house shandy of half pale ale and half lemonade. I have no idea why this was on the menu in the middle of January.) The other four were Founders Double Trouble, 21st Amendment Fireside Chat, Southern Tier Choklat and a Belgian strong. After reviewing the website later, I see there are lots of growler options. Why offer beers in Growlers but not on draft?

Aside from those head-scratchers, this would be a good place for pretty much anyone, including kids or seniors. The bottles are in the back and out of the way. It's not so much a beer far as it is a nice cafe where you can also buy good beer, although it's important to note that any of the bottles can be consumed on-site.

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Photo of smellody
3.95/5  rDev -6%

Having just opened and hearing good anticipated reviews and reading some great finds on the board I decided to check this place out Saturday night. It has great atmosphere, an incredible bottle selection and what looks like a fun food menu. I will definitely be going back for brunch soon.

It having been open only a few days, I'm sure they will work out the kinks and have a long a great run in the city, aka the Foodery.

The beer bottle selection was great - but no visible price list made making decisions very hard. Also, it seems that the bottles are over priced, I had a bottle of Fred and it was at least $8 - I would think more like $6 would be reasonable. I don't know yet about the bigger bottles, but I fear they will be high as well. Also, the growlers seemed high as well.

More on being overpriced, the three chesse platter for $15 didn't offer much substance. Three small samples of cheese, a few toast points and spreads. For $15 I expected a bit more chesse.

Again, I am confident that the prices will be tweaked, not onyl due to commments, but people will not buy.

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Photo of KLReed
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of cheah
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of rikatine
4/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Have been to Hawthornes twice now. The tap selection here is interesting enough. The bottle selection did not really excite me though. After stocking up at Bella Vista Dist. across the street, I may have been a bit jaded. On our first visit it seemed too crowded to wait to eat, but we did wait on our second visit.

We waited on the comfy couch by the fireplace, with draft beer in had. The place is lively and really cute. We did not have to wait that long to be seated. We ordered brunch and we all enjoyed our meals. The server was friendly and knew the menu. Overall, we all really liked it and agreed we would return on a future visit.

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Photo of SpAiReArGsEonNE
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Soonami
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I've visited Hawthornes a few times, once in the spring and again more recently. Both times I went was during the day for a weekend brunch. The cafe is very bright with a lot of handsome furnishings and cool seating options. During the day it looked very nice compared architecture in the surrounding industrial and working class neighborhood.

The food my party ordered was well prepared and tasty, but the portion size for the sandwich I ordered let me a bit wanting after I finished it. My dining companions agreed that the food servings were a bit small, but within reason for lunch.

Service was fine if a bit slow and flighty. Sometimes it was hard to get the attention of our waitress and the food look it's time coming out even though we had sandwiches and egg dishes.

Now, on to the beer. The glass-front refrigerators hold an impressive selection of bottled beers and the taps have an interesting array of brews available. There are fresh seasonal beers, limited releases, and classic beers for one to choose from. The annoyances I had are that when I was there, one could only buy growlers of the kegged beers, some of the beers are out of stock, the prices are high, and beer is self-service. I've heard that they will now serve pints of beer, but I think most of the taps are only for filling taps because of their fancy growler filler machine. I can understand that limited beers will sell out, but if they do one shouldn't just leave empty spaces on the shelves. The prices are pretty similar to what one who shops at the Foodery or similar place can expect, which is 0_0. And finally, the last complaint I had was that you'd have to walk up to the case and get your own beer, or growler fill, and then wait in line to pay for it. Twice I was waiting in line when my food arrived and had to wait to eat it.

Overall, it's a nice little place to go and eat nice food. The beer side of the operation is a little annoying, with self-service beer that you have to pay for separately, higher prices, and inappropriate glassware (mason jars?). However, it's a much comfortably place to sit and enjoy a good beer with locally sourced, fresh food

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Photo of sholland119
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We stopped in for brunch on Saturday, the first time we have been in for a while. While the place is still a hybrid of bottle shop and cafe, there seems to have been a shift in emphasis toward the food part of the offering, or at least a de-emphasis to the bottle list (which is still impressive).

Hawthorne's has a great vibe. The renovation of the space was beautifully done, and the cafe has a great, warm, slightly funky vibe. Very open with high ceilings and hardwood floors, plenty of table seating, though it does fill up quickly around noon.

Brunch was delicious. We had an egg white omelette with some tasty veggie sausage and homefries. The greens were ample and nicely dressed. Food came out quite promptly and service was friendly and attentive.

The tap list is nice (Sculpin and Saison de Lente for us) and the growler fill list is even more extensive. The bottle coolers are organized logically by geography and hit all of the high notes. It seems to me that there were more rarities in prior visits. The table display of beer was far more limited than it has been. I am happy to have the place more directed to food anyway as it is very good, and bottle shops are not hard to find. Prices, while still on the high side, have certainly come down from the early days.

We had a great visit and are looking forward to stopping back.


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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Made a special trip in for a beer event to meet a friend.

Cozy little establishment that reminds me more of a neighborhood breakfast spot than a beer destination. However, they have a solid take out section and they allowed growler fills of all their taps.

The take out selection featured some alesmith and lost abbey along with some other choice selections. I liked this place. It had a charm

I was there for a Cigar City event, so all of the tap lines were taken up with their goodness, so I am not sure what they are like on a normal day. The service was efficient and and they seemed pretty knowledgeable.

This is definitely a good place to check out every few months.

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Photo of joel_j
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

A: Very busy at about 1pm when we showed up on a holiday Monday. Most folks sitting at tables enjoying lunch, but a few browsing the large beer selection in the fridges at the back.

Q: Lots of hard to find beers in several fridges at the back. Also some on tap. Very high quality selection both in bottles and on tap.

S: Service was great. Multiple employees asked if we needed help and offered us samples of what they had on tap. Once seated, our waitress was very attentive and friendly.

S: Great selection, as mentioned above in Quality.

F: Food was very good. Just had a quick burger with fries for lunch, which went very nicely with the beers we chose.

V: Nothing special here. Not expensive, not cheap. About what you'd expect from a craft beer establishment.

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Photo of wunderbeer
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Living in Philly, options for single bottle takeout is pretty limited, so I was psyched to hear of Hawthornes. The store is well organized, good ambiance and broad selection - with Consecration and a few other hard to find selections offered. I didn't try the growler station on my first visit, but selection looked excellent.

While the bottle selection and service was great, I know I will not be back except to poach the rarest of brews that I can't find anywhere else. It is not a place I drop by to pick up my usual beer stash. Prices are much higher than what you can pay elsewhere. While Foodery tends to be pretty steep, this place won't compete if pricing isn't adjusted - maybe that's why it was completely empty at dinnertime.

EDIT: Chris, the manager, is an upstanding guy - he contacted me about a pricing that was incorrect and offered a refund, which I put toward a liquid asset. The place is comfortable on a cold winter day, and was pretty packed when I re-visited. I look forward to trying the food on my next visit.

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Photo of Deuane
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Well....finally got to stop in at this place that is in the old Bella Vista location. I was impressed with the transformation to a pleasant, inviting, bistro style interior considering the old BV location was basically a garage with cases of beer in it!

Quality and selection was solid with plenty of bottles to choose from. But I would hope so as the owners family own and run Bella Vista just across the street! One knock on the bottles though...some are marked with price stickers but many are not. It would be helpful to know what the cost is before hitting the register.

I have to give a 4 for selection for two reasons....my usual 0.5 knock for no cask and also a 0.5 deduction for no draft available on site. Sure they have a GREAT selection to put in a growler but... I was told, by Chris, the owner, that this will be changing and in house draft will be available shortly. An adjustment to score will be forthcoming.

I am not totally down with the "special" growler thing though...maybe I need it explained to me but $15 seems a bit steep for a standard jug style growler. If this was a German flip-top fine, but, it is not. I fully understand the $1.50 cap charge for other growlers as they use those fancy oxygen barrier caps. I am glad they will fill any jug style growler.

Chris, as always, was a fine host and even though he was busy he found a few minutes to chat with us. He and his brother are class acts for sure!

No food this visit but the deli/bistro style menu looked inviting....maybe next time. A nice addition to the ever growing Philly beer scene.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

My first time at Hawthornes, after passing by it a number of times during previous visits to Philly (the wife and I always stay around the Bella Vista area).

This is a bottle shop and a cafe/restaurant/bar. Cool stuff. Go in and you'll find a dining area first, with bistro tables where you can have food and a pint of beer from their 9 taps.

Beyond that there are two registers and the bottle-shop area, with lots of cooler divided in 10 "doors" by theme/region: Locals, Seasonal, Limited, Midwest, Colorado...

I drool after the brews I can't get at home in NYC: Great Lakes, Dark Horse, Central Waters, Fifty-Fifty Eclipse, Dark Rabbit and a bunch of locals (including Voodoo Big Daddy).

I paid $20 for my bomber of Voodoo Daddy and a small Arcadia Bourbon Shipwreck. This is Philly for you, folks!

Pints are better priced at $5-$7 for quality taps including Verdi Imperial Stout, Southern Choklat, Dark Horse, Central Waters... growlers to go too.

Service was cheerful and good, and next time I'll stay for dinner and a pint instead of just buying beer to go.

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Photo of tim9887
4.16/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I've only ever been here to buy takeout beer so I can't really comment on the food or service. However, the beer selection is top-notch - definitely up there with the Foodery (the prices are similar too, it can get expensive). The 10% discount on mix-a-six pack is nice though. Great selection of American crafts & imports. Only gripe is the lack of pricing on the beers, again like the Foodery. I understand pricing every single beer is tough but there's got to be some efficient way of letting us know how much we're going to pay for each beer. The growler selection is always great too - always really good and rare stuff on tap. I'll have to edit this review once I come back here for a bite to eat.

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Photo of pecokid
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I hit this place for lunch on a Saturday after shopping across the street at Bella Vista Beer Distributer. It was a beautiful day so the doors and window were wide open. The place is bright and airy, a much better atmosphere than the crowded darkness of the previous evenings brief stops at Beneluxx and Eulogy. The sandwiched were good and big. In comparison to what I can find in central PA the beer selection was awesome. The service seemed a little disorganized but cheery. As far as value goes, I guess for the big city is reasonable.

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Photo of orangesol
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

I stopped in here after I went to Bella Vista. This was my first trip here.

Upon entering it appears to be a nice mix of bottle shop and small cafe. I went straight to the bottle shop area and, while it wasn't amazing, I was pleased with what I saw. They had signs above each door of the cooler telling you where the beers inside where from. From what I could tell most of the beers were fresh. Plenty of classic staples with a few "rarities" thrown in. I noticed they had a few bottles of Marrón Acidifié and I was wondering how they had lasted that long until I saw the $30+ price tag. No chance I would pay that much for that one. Most of the other bottles seemed to be priced right around where they should be. I picked up a few bottles for the cellar and it only set me back around $20.

Service was good. I was asked if I needed help by three different people. The guy I talked to knew a good bit about most of the beers I asked about. I didn't have time to eat but the menu looked pretty good. I will have to return in the future and try the food.

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Hawthornes Bier Café in Philadelphia, PA
Place rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 53 ratings