Dawson Street Pub

very good

17 Ratings
Dawson Street PubDawson Street Pub

Type: Bar, Eatery

100 Dawson Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19128
United States

(215) 482-5677 | map

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Added by HopheadEd

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Ratings: 17 |  Reviews: 13
Reviews by PopeDX:
Photo of PopeDX
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

In a corner of the parking nightmare that is Manayunk lies Dawson St. Go uphill to find parking, as all the hot spots are down the hill and on the other side of the tracks. Smoky, usually crowded interior. Bands that couldn't get gigs down at Grape Street play Friday and Saturday night. Usually some decent rock, however, and nothing too hard if that's a problem. Amps tend to be turned up a bit high for the tiny interior, though. The couches in the back room with the funky walls are a nice place to hang, but it's not smoke-free for some reason. If a bar has a second room, especially one with lots of upholstery I don't see why it wouldn't be no smoking. The service is good but always a bit harried. The reason to come here is the casks. Always 3 hand pumps going at a time, usually 2 Yards and something else. Then there's like 3 or 4 other pretty good beers on tap, and a very nice bottle selection. The fries are maybe the best bar fries in the city (Chickie's doesn't count, because I go there for the fries, not the beer). They're freshly hand-cut, smothered in Old Bay and served with this great mayo dipping sauce. Not much else to the menu, although I'm told that the burgers are excellent. This would just be an awesome place if the heavy smoke didn't get to me after about an hour and a half.

Pubcrawl options: Manayunk brewpub is obviously right near by, plus another couple of bars in Manayunk are supposed to be pretty decent. Less than 10 minutes up Lincoln Drive is McMenamin's, and General Lafayette ain't much further than that if you take Ridge Pike west.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of zekeman17
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of Mcallaghan04
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of brnmc922
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of sjula
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of BARFLYB
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Nice place here, right near the terrace taproom for a mini bar crawl. Went here on a off night and got a spot right out front which is impossible to do in the yunk. Alot of neon signs out front but inside is a nice cozy bar area with not so much swag on the wall. A nice wooden bar, modern, seats 10 or so, about 12 taps and THREE handpumps! Tap handles displayed above the bar, TV to the left, coolor towards the side, a standing area, a lounge area in the back with couches. I saw some music equipment so I guess they do shows here. A nice bottle list. Friendly service, a great find. I'll update this when I explore this place more.

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Photo of doctchad
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

great little place, outside makes you think they just have crap beer and then bam their beer list puts you face down on the bar floor its that good and lots of choices.

The food is great; wings are big and they do kick the heat up if you ask. The menu could be a little bigger; but fits most peoples needs that i have brought there.

Overall this place rocks, great beer, great food, great overall prices for the whole thing, the bartenders know there stuff as well which is always a plus when you want to talk shop on beer; and always offer good sugestion based on what you like .

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Photo of bosco7
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

First, parking is damn near impossible. It took 30 minutes to find a parking spot that probably wasn't all that legal.

Pretty nice little local bar with a homey feel. Small tables and benches were available. I could do without the college band playing cliche covers and the crowd they drew.

Service was okay. The place was packed and there was only one bartender so getting a beer was a little slow at times.

The beer was of good quality. Yards ESA , Yards Porter, and Weyerbacher Hop Infusion on the beer engines. Notable beers on tap were: Legacy Hoptimus Prime, Sly Fox O'reily Stout, and Victory Lager. Bottle selection was very good with stuff from Belgium and plenty of American craft brews.

Overall this is a nice neighborhood bar. I would be a regular if I lived in Manayunk. For the same amount of effort I can find a parking spot in Center City and have outstanding beer at multiple beer bars.

Give this bar a try if you're in the area.

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Photo of MmmIPA
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Stopped in here last night.My first time coming to this place.You walk in and the bar is to your left with the little band setup to your right.Pool table in the back and there is a nice and comfy lounge in back of that.Nice bathrooms.The tap list was pretty good.Yuengling lager and porter,Guiness,Harpoon ipa,Woodchuck cider and I cant remeber the rest of the drafts but they do have Victory hop devil and Yards ESA on hand pump.I had a hop devil cask,Guiness,and split a bottle of Chimay blue and a Ommegang bottle with a friend.I enjoyed myself here and the bartender was a very nice guy,we chatted about guitars and playing guitars for quite a bit.The bottle selection is pretty steap,20 bucks for a bottle of Chimay blue and 13 bucks for a bottle of Ommegang.The drafts are fairly cheap so Ide stick to them.I would go back again.I would recommend that if you buy a bottle of beer from the cooler, to let it sit out a while casuse there very chilled in there.It almost numbs your palate.

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Photo of jmatthew
3.6/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

A complete local dive bar nestled amongst some rowhouses on the edge of Manayunk, with a vista overlooking the regional rail line. A glowing neon Yards sign in the window alludes to the passer-by that this place may hold more promise within. The ramshackle interior is dark and dreary, but laid back and comfortable. Quintessentially dive decor. Half the taps are mediocre, and the other half rotates decent locals and micros, but the Yards hand pumps always make up for that. Bottle selection is surprisingly more vast than one would expect, with lots of Brooklyn, DFH, Grants, Rogue, Unibroue and Youngs along with a medley of other imported characters, primarily from Belgium and the UK. The 750ml bottle of Lindeman's Cuvee Rene at $15 is a pretty good deal, although I do wonder what the turnover is on specialty beers. Props for actually listing Amstel, Corona, Rolling Rock, etc. under the belittling title "Crap" on their beer list. The food is decent basic pub fare, but nothing outstanding. Service is always polite and prompt. The crowd doesn't pick up until well into the late hours of the night, and is often filled with regulars, making it a somewhat intimidating bar for random patrons. Very good eclectic local music scene.

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Photo of slander
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Davo was playing like he knew where this place was. Past Manayunk, right turn, up the hill, right turn, left turn, waaay up the hill, right turn, still more hill, he was looking for some church, presumedly to pray for just stumbling across this place, but there came a time where he had to give it up. We sent Ed into a bowling alley for directions and he didn't come out for some time. We were a-scared, thought the gimp might have gotten him, but he emerged with the "where to" and we were off...
Parked the clown car and went to see what's what. Didn't look like much from the outside, and that continued well inside. A straight bar seating nearly a dozen sits against the far wall with 4 low bar tables lying adjacent. Pressed tin ceiling, brick walls with mirrors on the bar back, tap handles displayed above the bar, and beer trays mounted above that. Colored holiday lighting strung about, and an Xmas tree near the area where the band sets up. Looking towards the rear, there's a single pool table in a wide open room, and an entranceway to the back room; a lounge of sorts funkily painted with a few couches.
2 towers of 4 taps each, plus Guinness. Each tower had a kicked tap indicated by the plastic cup over a tap handle. The 6 remaining tap handles indicated Anchor OSA, Troegs Mad Elf, Sierra Nevada somethingorother, Newcastle, Yuengling, and Woodchuck cider.
They also had 3 handpumps, one of which was kicked, also indicated by the plastic cup on the tap handle. The 2 casks were Yards ESA & IPA. I had the IPA, which was fresh and neat, the same apparently with the ESA.
Near their killer jukebox, a write-on board on the front wall lists the bottled selections. Roughly 5 dozen bottles showing some good micros (Rogue, Grants, Brooklyn, DogFishHead, Victory, Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Abita, Ommegang) and imports Belgian (Orval, Chimay, Duvel, Dekoninck, Maredsous, Lindemans), and otherwise (Sam Smith, Youngs, Paulaner, Ayinger, Unibroue, Belhaven).
On revisiting the bar, I got a good look at the Sierra Nevada tap.
"You have the Sierra Celebration on?"
"No, that's the Troegs Mad Elf", answered some girl talking with the bartender.
"No, the one next to it, the one that says Troeg's Mad Elf is the Mad Elf".
"I don't know what it is, but it isn't the Sierra Celebration", says the bartender, sampling from the tap.
Hmmmn. You've only got 8 taps and you can't keep them all occupied? Hell, 2 of them are kicked and you can't keep track of the other 6? C'mon, you can do better than that.

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Photo of stevelogan
2.14/5  rDev -44.1%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 2.5

Oh how the mighty have fallen...

After being a 2 night a week regular here 10 years ago, my wife and I stopped here tonight (a Saturday night) around 7:30pm.

Walking in, only 1 person at the bar (who worked there), and the bartender on duty sitting at a table. Web site says Troegs Nugget Nectar on tap - when we get there though, it's Troegs Nut Brown Ale. One of the other hand pumps was kicked, and the only other "decent" beer on tap was Allagash Wit.

Not only was it depressingly empty, depressingly lacking in inventive beer selection (on tap anyway), the bartender girl really seemd like we were bothering her by being the only patrons. And on top of that, it stank of pine sol. Argh.... so sad.

We were meeting a fellow BA'er there and instead of getting a second beer, we waited outside to intercept him and go elsewhere.

Hopefully there was just something else happening in the area tonight - otherwise, this is a sad occasion for beer lovers in Philly.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

So you are looking for a good beer bar and stumbled upon Dawson Street, eh? Should I tell you the secret handshake now, or wait 'til the end of the review? The cozy true corner bar nature of the Dawson Street Pub can not be over emphasized. Open the outter screen door and let's talk...

A dark, dimly lit trisectioned joint awaits. The front part is the bar and where guitar acts linger, the second part is the small billard table, and the back is the couch and little boys room.

Dawson Street is a straight forward beer 100% bar. Had a Legacy 2IPA on cask for $4.50 and a Lindemans Cuvee Rene big bottle.

The service was just point 'n shoot.

Awesome selection of three cask conditioned brews: Porter, 2IPA and local hero Yards ESA. Three...count 'em...CCs.

Burgers here rule. Other than that, you're on your own.

Last call: Seek out this joint on any night of the week for a great selection of local taps and bottles. Oh, the secret handshake you ask? Sit down, enjoy the music, pay the $3 cover charge, that goes straight to the guitar player, and drink!

And for the finale review test: Could you bring your Mom here? Eh...bes' not. Go with your beer appreciating buds in lieu.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.06/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Ah, the Dawson Street. A great place to just chill out and have a few good brews. If you like dive-ish, small bars, then you'll love the Dawson Street Pub. On the most recent night I was there, a very good live band called the Off-Duty Superheroes (great name!) was playing. My rooomate (uclrules) and I got a table directly next to the band, and the lead singer's neck of the guitar came very close to cracking me in the head a few times. No big deal at all, he was a very cool guy, I am just describing the close quarters. Age varies all over the place, from us young guys to a much older crowd. Everyone's there for some good beer, and everyone's cool.

The bartender was efficient but friendly. The beer selection is pretty good. Some interesting bottles, and a short but high quality tap lineup. Local brews represented well. 2 Yards and 1 Victory featured on cask, at the time it was Yards porter and ESA, and Victory HopDevil. However, they do bring in some other Yards and Victory on cask as well. I tried the ESA, it was excellent. Regular tap lineup is also very good, Nodding Head and Victory some of the locals represented.

The bathroom, as has been said, is pretty dirty, but the comments on the wall are amusing...at least I think so. Definitely a place I'll return to for some good beer, good conversation, and good music. Can't beat those hand pumps!!

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Photo of Scoats
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

While it may located in the very trendy Manayunk where suburbanites cross the river and descend en mass after dark, The Dawson Street is as anti-yuppied Main Street Manayunk as you can get. Which is appopriate as it located one block east of Main Street and several blocks south of most of the happening spots. Being out of the way offers a good chance at getting some free on-street parking.

If you are looking for a packaged bar "experience", then this ain't the place; go to Tir Na Nog. If you want a place that does all the real important bar basics well, then this is one such place.
Sure it's a dive, but it is a very friendly and cool bar. It is completely free of pretention. The one man blues act there on a Saturday night was very talented. The beer was great and there was a great vibe. Strangers were friendly.

They have 3 handpumps and people are there for the beer. The draft selection wasn't anything new to me but they had a nice selection of local brews and a lot of interesting bottles.

This place gets almost no press and little recognition, which indeed is a shame, but they don't seem to care about that.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I had to follow up on the atmosphere of Dawson Street Pub…it really does feel gritty & neglected & a bit filthy, especially the stinky bathroom. Filth aside…this place has a very good beer selection & jukebox full of good tunes and a friendly atmosphere overall. They have 3 hand pumps, with 2 from Yards and one from Victory. They have about 8 taps or so, and a very good bottle selection as well. I had a fun time playing pool with some friends even though it is all scratched up and uneven…haha- it doesn’t matter anyway because I stink at playing pool. I’m not sure... but like Davo said, this place may have the best selection in the Manayunk area.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

File under GRITTY-FRIENDLY-GOOD BEER-FILTHY BATHROOM. (They cleaned the bathroom and did a total renovation). The Dawson was the first bar in Philly to put in a hand-pump and serve cask-conditioned beers. They're not really remembered for that, but they still have three which usually serve 2 beers from Yards and 1 from Victory. The standard tap line-up is usually quite good (the low points are Yuengling Porter & Lager) and it constantly rotates. The owner, Dave Wilby, is into good beer and keeps an excellent selection of bottles in the cooler including Stoudt's Pilsener, La Fin Du Monde, Liefman's Gluhekriek, Hair of The Dog Adam, Fuller's ESB, Young's Old Nick, Chimay, and about two dozen others. It's a little corner bar with a wide host of hard-core regulars. They're all very cool and welcoming, however, and bar room banter is never at a minimum except when the Simpson's are on. An excellent little juke box and some very cool live music - as well as a pool table and pinball machine in the back - round things out. The food is almost all deep-fried bar food, but it's fair priced. One note, things don't get started until the sun goes down on weekdays, but there's usually a few friendly faces to be had on a Saturday afternoon.

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Dawson Street Pub in Philadelphia, PA
3.83 out of 5 based on 17 ratings.
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