Ever since its first location opened in 1994, very rarely is there a quiet moment at J.D. McGillicuddy's. Crowds watching the Phillies cheer and groan in unison, and members of bachelorette parties dance around groups of old friends meeting for a drink. The only time the noise dips is when the staff brings out plates of the house's flavorful pub food. Wings, burgers, pizzas, and nachos fill the menu, with East Coast twists such as Old Bay seasoning and jumbo lump crabmeat. Each spacious location has also been known to host special events, from DJ-spun theme nights and pub crawls to Easter breakfasts.
The staff at Flat Rock Saloon likes to jokingly describe the place in Seinfeld-ish terms: It’s a bar about nothing. This century-old corner Manayunk pub doesn’t go for gimmicks or themes, beyond a host of weekly specials. Mondays and Wednesdays are all-you-can-eat crab legs, and on Tuesdays, the 25-cent wings can get addictive. There are shot specials and combos, like a glass of beer plus mussels for a reasonable price, and the limited food menu consists of standards like burgers, a barbecue pork sandwich and fish and chips. TVs and indoor as well as outdoor tables and seating serve the purpose at this straightforward spot that sometimes hosts live entertainment.
The flavor-savvy guides of Chew Philly Food Tours acquaint both visiting and veteran Philadelphia taste buds with the dishes that encapsulate the city's culinary heritage. During each 2.5-hour journey, groups visit family-owned restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores? many of which have been around for decades?where merchants show off their specialties to curious palates.
Tidbits about local architecture, city history, and the philly cheesesteak's historic boxing victory against Chicago-style pizza spring from tour guides as tasters proceed with their 1.5-mile jaunt, which keeps feet moving at a moderate pace to accommodate guests of all ages and fitness levels.
The bartenders at Pitcher’s Pub keep the beer flowing from a whopping 30 taps. When they aren't pouring suds, they mix cocktails by hand in small batches to ensure quality. They eschew mass-produced ingredients in favor of fresh components such as mint, muddled blueberries, and lemonade. These libations pair well with a casual pub menu that spotlights everything from wings and burgers to ham-and-cheese croissant sandwiches. As guests lounge in the dining room, they can ogle any of the restaurant's seven flat-screen TVs, which broadcast a wide range of sports including NFL football and competitive napping.
When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. MetaBody created a real-life version of that ticket with the MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
Housed in a beautiful stone, one-story mill factory building, Bourbon Blue serves its New Orleans-inflected cuisine with style. Inside, a large iron chandelier and old-style pendant lights with smoky yellow glass hang from the tall peaked ceiling. Patrons can grab a seat at the large semi-circular bar or at one of the tables, and opt for a Cajun-style dish such as jambalaya, a quesadilla with alligator sausage or blackened filet mignon tips. There are also plenty of straightforward American dishes, from a burger topped with blue cheese, bacon and mushrooms to pan-seared salmon). In warm weather, one of the best seats in Manayunk is on Bourbon Blue’s deck overlooking the canal and the newly constructed performing arts center.