The Ultimate Brewpub (Without All That Messy Brewing Stuff).

In this post about a Forbes Magazine list of the top 10 beer bars around the nation, my pal Jay Brooks is a bit nonplussed about the absence of Monk’s Cafe. I feel his consternation. It’s been a looonnngggg time since I’ve seen any list of the nation’s best beer venues without Monk’s name on it. I suspect they didn’t have enough taps or U.S. craft beers to ring a bell with amateur evaulators and will, in any case, survive the snub.

Jay goes on to mention a couple of other bars he might consider adding, including another Philly spot, Standard Tap. The Tap is another matter, I suggest, not because I doubt they will survive not being named, but because of why they are missing. I believe that this particular establishment’s greatest strength would also be its greatest weakness in the eyes of the sorts of people who compile such lists and, sadly, among those all too prevalent beer geeks whose only interest is the next new, big, hard-to-find beer from someplace else and then the one after that, the original quickly being relegated to the realm of “old news.”

By serving only local beers and despite matching them with exquisite food, Standard Tap falls off certain limited radar. I would however suggest that it can be argued that the the place is a true civic treasure, in effect the ultimate brewpub (sans the “brewing” part) in that it pours an impressive selection of only the best fresh-brewed local beer and offers a world-class menu which is appealing to even those who are not attracted by the beer. Along with the beer, great food is the “secret ingredient” in most brewpub’s success, as any industry insider will tell you.

Standard Tap is one of my all-time favorite venues in the city. I am not alone. It was listed #11 on the list of Philadelphia’s Top 50 Restaurants in the February issue of Philadelphia Magazine and has received recognition from several sources as one of the originators of and inspirations for the gastropub movement in this country. It probably wasn’t exactly “snubbed” by that Forbes list since I suspect its name never came up, but it too will do just fine without their approbation, thank you.

Let me note that I have no quarrel with the ten selections the magazine made. To the extent that I have visited their choices, I concur that they are in the top echelon and I am willing to believe that is true of the rest of the list is as well. I’m just being a bit of a homey here, ’cause it’s Sunday night and I’ve been working all day long and am sore tired.

I am now looking forward eagerly to a beer or three in my most favoritest drinking venue of all.

That sofa right over there.

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