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Phillies Bar Review: Kennett

Not many places are bragging about their ability to put on a Phillies game anymore.

Going 15-5 since the break has caused a small, futile burst of emotion for the team you love, and that means you've got to race back to the bars to see them because you refuse to pay for cable. And why should you? Did you know that Comcast will not confirm nor deny that their wires connected to your TV turn into snakes at night and slither down your throat?

But do not worry yourself. Not about the Comcast Night-Serpents; that's very real. What I mean is that you can relax about the Phillies bar scene as I contribute to the vigorous Eric Chesterton's fine work in this area so far, and will let you know the best stools to occupy in Philadelphia while you stomach a Phillies game; who knows, maybe I'll even see ones that aren't conspicuously close to my apartment. So everyone recall your cheese steak preference, throw on your least bodily-stained Eagles shirsey, strap on those galoshes in case we hit a few inches of South Street runoff (or "sexbarf" as the scientists have labeled it) and let's dive back into the Philly bar scene!

Not many places are bragging about their ability to put on a Phillies game anymore.

"Phillies game tonight!" their signs used to say, and people would sprint through their door, excitedly elbowing each other in the face.

These days, the places that put it on are doing so out of pure muscle memory - clock hits 7:05 on a weekday, hit the remote, find CSN, think about when this team was actually a draw, think about the mistakes you made in your twenties, hate everything.

Kennett, quietly nesting on South 2nd Street between a publishing company and a coffee shop I don't like, doesn't draw you in with any charming chalkboard message or aggressive signage - though a cement block on the front of the building informs you with ancient engravings that it was constructed long before your time. Is that the ghosts of these men up there in the second floor window? Ha ha I hope not!

No, but Kennett just leaves the door open. So, like a stray animal, I wandered in not too long ago.


I don't in general come down on a bar for lacking one of these. But this is a Phillies bar review, so generally, it's an applicable metric. Kennett did not offer anything in this regard, so, by rule, I'll give it a 0. No, that's mean. Let's say 10, because of the default specialness everyone feels during a Phillies game.


With a nice summer breeze whistling in and plenty of natural light, it was a pleasant, private spot. The lack of crowd made it feel like you'd stumbled across a secret watering hole and not an abandoned lot. A woman tore into a sandwich at the bar while at a two-top, two older ladies discussed Benghazi.


With a peaceful location in Queen Village, Kennett is not often overrun with slobbering idiots and can therefore offer itself as a sports-viewing place and a casual dining space, allowing community space for mainstays such as Queen Village's Committee to Determine Who Was Responsible for Benghazi.


Wood is the dominant element in this bar, however, as everything is made out of it. The bar. The stools. The walls. The tables. I knocked on one of the patrons to be sure I hadn't walked into a some sort of expansive street art. Real person.

The bathroom was was explosively hot, for some reason, I will say. And not because... not... it was that way before and after I was in there, is what I mean.


A pair of TVs at either end of the bar make viewing easy, as the space isn't big enough to obscure vision. A thing that's nice is that asking to have one of the TVs show the Phillies game doesn't result in the bartender squinting in confusion or screaming at you to get out, as is understandably the case in some establishments. No bar would really want to broadcast a baseball game that actively drives away customers, so I appreciated the bartender responding with a friendly "Sure!"

Another thing that did not happen is me being asked "What channel is it on?" I do not know the answer to this question. The game is simply on one of the two or three channels that the Phillies play on.  I turn on my TV and there they are, losing a baseball game (although not lately). I don't know how that translates to this television/cable set-up you have here.  So thank you, Kennett bartender, for not forcing me to pathetically limp over that social hurdle.


By the time I had walked through the door, I was at the point in which I was considering folding a pizza in half and eating it like a taco, but I have been warned that "that's not what people who love their girlfriends do."

That roaring wood fire oven plainly visible in open kitchen belched out a pair of crisp dough-circles bubbling with charred, bulbous pouches - always an excellent sign. What followed was gruesome as we attacked two of the menu's six pizza offerings.

The Porchetta featured some slow-roasted pork that was a bit dry by in combination with fluffy farmer's cheese and a smattering of lemon zest (or what tasted like it) was extreme. The Romano's red sauce was delectable, and I am not as much of an anchovy fan as my companion, so that flavor inserted among the mozzarella, capers, and red onion pleased her more than me. But even I, a squeamish little dandy, did not find it overwhelming.



Having also sampled the burger, I can honestly say my chief complaint for Kennett is that their side of fries consists of an entirely countable number of fries. There may have been 12.They were good, but while eating one's Phillies feelings (or "Pheelings?" Ah ha ha ha h(*gunshot*), it's important to not have an exact idea when the food will end.

Most importantly, the beer: one of the kegs was giving the bartenders the busines as the game started, and one of them told me that sure, I could hear the draft list - FROM HIS BRAIN. Apparently there were no written versions so he rattled off a list and I did the thing where I picked one near the beginning but let him say the whole thing because I didn't want to cut him off, though he might have preferred that. Then, he offered to let me sample a few of the others, which isn't uncommon, but he did it without slapping me in the face with his eyes.

Speaking of the draft list, it was a good one. For me, anyway. I am a painful cliché who enjoys his beers so hopped up they barely come out of the glass. Two double IPAs on draft means I'll stay for at least four innings. My personal preference was the Firestone Walker over the Conshohocken Brewing Company, but this guy listed, like, 20 other beers of various types and outlets, so this is one of those bars that probably has a draft for anyone without the gimmick of 500+ taps.


As the game ends, or your patience fades, leaving Kennett puts you back out on a quiet part of 2nd Street; that weird intersection where like five or six different roads collide and nobody in their cars knows exactly what to do. Regardless, Kennett has joined a great section of Philadelphia for bars that go out of their way to put effort into their menu and keep up with a citywide trend of decent beer selections. While it may not be counted among the area's "sports bars," I believe that is to its credit, as a Phillies game is perfectly viewable here, and anyone seeking a quiet spot kissed by a summer breeze will be quite pleased.

"Thanks for stopping by," one of the ghosts from upstairs whispered in my ear on the way out, and I therefore have determined that the whole place should be burned to the ground.