This is the second act of a project undertaken by the author to find the proper company, both in human interaction and in drink, to endure the rebuilding era of Philadelphia Phillies baseball. Absent friends who even bother to pretend to care about the Phillies, that same author has taken to the streets, as it were, of Philadelphia and its environs to find the ideal spot to watch a Phillies game. Just as Socrates found himself unsatisfied in his pursuit of the Forms, the present author will likely find himself in a similarly futile, albeit less noble, pursuit. Nonetheless, this series has been promised to the internet, and internet promises must be upheld.
Note: If you require a refresher on the exceptionally rigorous methodology behind these reviews, refer to the first post in this series.
This week, as we venture to do with as much frequency as possible, our review features a bar located within the mostly-great city of Philadelphia. In the interest of revealing potential biases, there are two relevant bits of association between me and The Industry. 1) Last October (2014), I watched a Nationals playoff baseball game here. 2) I'm aware they have a reputation as a very winnable venue on the Johnny Goodtimes Quizzo circuit. I don't think either of those relationships with the place will influence my ratings one way or the other. If you feel differently, well, tough luck!
My girlfriend and future wife Sharon loves the city of Pittsburgh (don't worry, she doesn't love its football or hockey teams) more than she loves me and she noted that the decor of The Industry reminded her of what she considers to be a typical Pittsburgh bar--looks moderately crappy from the outside, but is really nice and modern-looking on the inside. One thing of note is that The Industry is clearly not intended to be a mecca during major sporting events. They have a TV at each corner of the bar, but the space is best described as primarily a restaurant with some bar seating. A fitting comparison might be the upstairs at Sidecar (in Graduate Hospital) or Standard Tap (in Northern Liberties). Definitely one of the classier places one might go to catch a Phillies game. The modern, almost-fancy decor feels a little stuffy to me for a place to watch sports.
PHILLIES GAME SPECIALS: 35
As I noted a couple weeks ago, this tool has been slightly reconceived due to the urgings of some in the comment section. Instead of exclusively valuing the presence of clearly delineated specials for Phillies games, I will now award venues that offer affordability in whatever form it may come. Having Phillies-specific specials will be necessary to receive a 70 or 80 in this category--this is an attempt to measure the quality of the place to watch Phillies games, specifically, after all--but bars will be able to score highly now by providing everyday cheap prices.
The Industry does not provide any specific specials, and, as far as bars in which one might watch contests of professional baseball go, it is certainly on the pricey side. That said, if you want to, you can get through a game without breaking the bank. They have a number of $5 beers and The Industry burger is only $9 if you're lame and opt to only get a single 1/4 burger. Not every place can offer dive bar prices, nor should every bar offer dive prices. The Industry delivers a quality selection of food and drink, and you're going to pay an appropriate amount for it.
NOTICEABILITY OF GAME: 50
The Phillies were on both TVs at the bar. Because it is more of a restaurant than old-man bar, the volume was off in favor of a well-curated Pandora station. The set-up at The Industry seems like the definition of average--two TVs, both average-or-smaller in size, with sound off. This isn't directly relevant to the Phillies, but the bartenders are accommodating to patron programming requests. For instance, when I went there to watch a playoff game last year that was on Fox Sports 2 or some fake channel like that, the bartender gladly went through considerable effort to find that channel. Again, probably not relevant since the Phillies are the local team and will likely be on by default, but it's nice to know that you can feel comfortable requesting something you want.
QUALITY OF OTHER FANS/CLIENTELE: 45
Surprisingly, there were a couple other people here watching the game. They weren't watching too intently and didn't seem to have a strong knowledge of the current state of the Phillies, mind you, but they were occasionally reacting to the events transpiring in the game. Again, The Industry is not going to be some go-to destination for Phillies games when the team is good in five years, but the presence of even a passing interest in the Phillies during the current dark period is encouraging for its projection as a quiet yet engaged atmosphere for watching Phillies games going forward.
FOOD/DRINK: 75 (FOOD: 70; DRINK: 75)
This is The Industry's carrying tool. I'll start by talking about the food since the drinks were so impressive--at least to me--that they deserve the last word in this review. The Industry is operated by the same group of people who run The Good Dog bar in Center City, whose burgers are universally regarded as top-notch. While Good Dog offers more traditional, simple bar food, The Industry tries to play the food up a little bit. Sharon and I both ordered the Double Industry Burger under the strong recommendation of our waitress. (I initially attempted to order the Fish and Chips, which elicited a look of mild disgust from our server) Though not as indulgent or creative as the cheese-stuffed Good Dog Burger at its Center City neighbor, the Industry Burger's beauty was in its simplicity.
The drinks, however, were where I was most impressed with The Industry. They had a very typical Philadelphia selection of beer--10-15 solid beers with a strong selection of options from breweries either in Philadelphia or its suburbs. That's not too special in itself. I gave Wishing Well a 55 Drink Sub-Grade with a beer list that was very similar. Based on beer alone, The Industry probably earns a 60. But, with these bar grades, there are a lot of ins, outs, and what-have-yous. The picture I'm about to show you, ladies and gentlemen, is a game changer:
That is the cocktail list at The Industry the night I conducted this review. You'll notice names like "Calmer Than You Are," "Brant Can't Watch," "Goodnight Sweet Prince," and "El Duderino." These are all references to the greatest movie of all time and, more or less, the only movie I have ever seen--The Big Lebowski. (Note: Themed cocktail list seem to be a regular feature as the currently available cocktails exhibit a Sandlot-inspired theme.) I ordered the Calmer Than You Are and thought it was very good. It was a bit sweet for my taste, but Sharon, already one beer deep having given blood earlier in the day, was so excited by it that she ordered one for herself. I'm certainly not above being swayed by a thematic cocktail list and the grade here reflects just how little I am above that kind of manipulation.
Despite a number of below-average tools, I feel very uncomfortable rating The Industry below-average overall. This comes from two places. First is a personal willingness to ignore most other factors when presented with desirable food and drink options. The second is that in my two times to The Industry, I have engaged in some manner of conversation with the bartender. For someone who usually just plays with his phone at bars for the sole purpose of limiting social interaction to the greatest extent possible, that a) the bartenders engaged me in conversation and b) I found it to be a pleasant experience are factors that demand reckoning. The result of such reckoning is that I am more favorably disposed to The Industry than I otherwise might or should be. A similar factor also certainly affects media perceptions of flawed players but nice guys like Jeff Francoeur and Cody Asche. This type of bias is discouraged in scouting for obvious reasons, but in these bar reviews, emotion is allowed to influence as much as it sees fit.
OVERALL GRADE: 55
Updated Rankings: I'll be updating the rankings of the bars I've visited based on how I graded them at the time of my visit. Recently, thanks to the tutelage of Brandon Lee Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation, or, BLG from BGN if you're into the whole brevity thing, the table has become sortable. In the future, grades might be updated and bars might move up and down the list. Instances like those, if they ever occur, will be duly noted. Ties have been broken arbitrarily.
|Bar Name||Neighborhood||Overall Score||Aesthetic||Specials||Noticeability||Other Fans||Food/Drink||Drink Subscore||Food Subscore|
|Wishing Well||Bella Vista||70||70||60||70||70||60||55||65|
|Great American Pub||Main Line||65||75||40||55||60||50||35||65|
|Citizens Bank Park||South Philly||60||65||25||75||65||45||55||45|
|Devil's Den||South Philly||55||60||35||60||25||65||70||55|
|Roache and O'Brien||Main Line||45||55||65||40||40||40||40||40|
|Madira Bar & Grill||Point Breeze||40||30||55||40||35||60||55||60|
|Fox and Hound||Center City||35||35||40||50||35||45||50||45|
As always, if you have a recommendation for a future bar review, leave it in the comments.