This is a great local bar. PJ has really done a great job re-inventing this place. Great beer abounds. Food is good too. It does get crowded, but most people are very friendly. It's easy to get caught up in a conversation regarding current world topics, your favorite sports team ectera with complete strangers. One word to the wise, to all of you single ladies out there, one bartender in particular is very, very charming but do yourself a favor.........don't get involved. Enjoy the pub and the people you encounter. Just keep it at that.
This is unquestionably the best beer bar in the northwest and, depending on your tastes, temperment, mood and timing, one of the best pubs in Philadelphia. The staff are knowledgeable and industrious - and generally accomodating. The crowd - predominantly locals who are somewhat possessive of "their" bar - is typically Mt. Airy, which is mostly good. If you don't know about Mt. Airy and have been in Philadelphia for any length of time, well...shame on you. This place can get VERY busy, so if you're the type who expects to be served immediatly upon entering (unrealistic in general, but especially in ANY busy bar) go elsewhere. If you enjoy a place where well-behaved, open-minded adults can share libations, ideas, thoughts and time in a cordial environment, this IS your spot. The beers are good and change often. NO BUDWEISER products, though.(thankfully) Foodage - WINGS, Burgers, fingers, fries, fish or shrimp and chips along with the weekly specials thoughtfully prepared by the resident chef (Larry!) all come highly recommended. Regarding previous negative reviews - if you don't know that it's standard practice for busy restaurants/bars to require 1) complete parties to be seated, and 2) parties seated in the dining area during dinner hours to dine (how outrageous!) then you a) should go to be corporate places where you wont be asked to be so understanding and considerate of other DINERS, and b) shouldn't be writing reviews of bars and restaurants because of your general lack of knowledge on the civilities of dining out. Don't go to NXNW or other surrounding bars expecting food of comparable quality or similar selection of beers. Do go to another place if you don't get being a patron in a busy bar (it's busy for good reasons, folks) or if you don't give a hoot about what you drink or eat.
Pros: Beer assortment, Wings, People
Cons: Crowds, Occasional frat types, amateurs, kids (children) in a bar
I'm astounded that other reviewers mention poor service -- I don't think I've ever been to a friendlier bar! The staff works really, really hard on busy nights, but they always have a moment to say a friendly word, recommend a new beer, or describe anything on the menu.
Go for the beer, first of all -- there isn't a wine list to speak of, and while the cocktails are good, they pale in comparison to the assortment of ales, lagers, stouts, wheat beers, dopplebocks, Belgians.... The owner likes to rotate new varieties in quickly, so don't be surprised to discover a particular favorite is gone -- but ask for a recommendation, and you'll find a new favorite!
The regular menu is fairly standard pub fare, with mild-to-painfully spicy wings, juicy burgers, tasty fish and chips, and good sandwiches. The specials, on the other hand, can be pretty ambitious. We had one of the best striped bass ever here; I love the steamers; and the pasta dishes are top-notch.
The atmosphere can run the gamut from tame to wild (depending on the sporting events being shown on any of the six screens), and the crowd is absolutely the most diverse and friendly I've seen (probably a reflection of the neighborhood). If you want friendly service, a dependable menu that features surprisingly ambitious specials, and possibly the broadest selection of beers outside of Monk's or Eulogy, you'll enjoy the time spent at McMenamin's.
Pros: The beers, the burgers, the staff, the energy.
Cons: Can get crowded on Fri / Sat nights; parking is sometimes a drag.
This is the greatest bar in Philadelphia for grabbing a beer after work, drinking with friends, but NOT good for dates or large parties. Beer selection is incredible, prices reasonable, and food from fries to salmon.
Pros: value, beers, atmosphere
Cons: can be crowded
I no longer go to this place as the bartenders are much too cocky and the waitstaff takes way too long. There are much better places to go in the area - Goats Hollow, NXNW.
Pros: Good fries
I am a regular at McMenamin's because it has the best beer selection in the area and possibly the best bar food on the planet. The most interesting aspect of the place is the people. McMenamin's has the most diverse customer base I have ever seen. Lawyers, doctors, postal workers, roofers, Republicans, Democrats, Whites, Gays, African-Americans, Latinos, etc. all find something to their liking.
Pros: beer selection, good food, diverse crowd
Cons: , inconsistent service
I went with people after work for happy hour on July 31. We wanted to sit at the tables in the back but that we must have our entire party present before we could be seated. We finally had our entire party then the manager says that all of us must order dinners to sit in the back. We just wanted to drink and order wings and stuff but they insisted we could not sit back there. Instead they crammed us on a few small barstools and high tables. We told the manager we would not be returning because of the service and the way we were treated and she got snippy with us. My suggestion is to go across the street to north by northwest.