Two years ago, IBEW Local 98 boss John Dougherty sold his bar, Doc’s Union Pub, on 2nd and Mifflin Streets. New owners Bill McKeever and Anthony Giordano re-branded it the Mifflin Tavern. In August, the Lamplugh family – brothers Russell and Joe and wives Megan and Kelli – took over daily operations.
“Walk with me while I talk,” says manager Russell, a high-energy GenX-er who grew up only a few blocks from the bar. He shows off new furnishings, distressed wood fixtures, and a lighter, brighter atmosphere. He also stresses the singular word that defines the new Mifflin Tavern: “Everybody.”
It’s tough not to enjoy Russell’s tour. He’s smart but humble. He talks fast but speaks carefully. He hates any label that may exclude somebody from feeling welcome. The Mifflin Tavern is a place for everybody, past and present, in a dynamic neighborhood.
“I don’t care if you’re 25 or older than 60. We want our level of service to make you feel appreciated. You can see it when you look at the menu,” he says. “If you want a burger and a domestic bottle at an economical price, we’ve got you. We also have ten craft brews on tap from smaller local breweries.”
The menu, which changes quarterly to reflect ingredients in-season, ranges from basic to inventive, including a pickle-brine fried chicken sandwich with brussels sprout slaw. “It’s always fresh-made,” he adds.
At the downstairs bar, Kelli slices a lime. While Russell and his brother Joe manage the kitchen, Kelli and Megan invent cocktails, infuse liquors and curate the beer menu.
Kelli points to a collection of Mason jars with cocktail jiggers on top. “This week we have blueberry and strawberry-infused rum, and peach ginger and jalapeno mango vodkas.” Next month, as the food menu changes, so too will the bar menu to reflect the new season – drinks with apple and cinnamon, and pumpkin sangria. “In the winter, we hope to have hot drinks. The outside world slows down, and we want people to sit longer and enjoy.”
Kelli echoes Russell’s desire to create something for everybody. “I managed a large operation, so it’s great to think small and be creative and craft the signature cocktails that groups of friends enjoy together. At the same time, some people just want a shot and a beer. We can do that, too.”
Both Kelli and Russell talk up the family-friendliness of the Tavern. Kelli insisted on changing tables in the bathroom. Russell removed the high-top bar tables and replaced them with restaurant seating. Both see the Tavern as a space where parents can bring their kids and still have a beer. There’s even a kid’s menu.
The entertainment? QuizJawn, a smartphone-oriented 21st-century Quizzo. Drag Bingo Wednesdays hosted by Brittany Lynn, captain of the Mummers’ Miss Fancy brigade. Live music and DJs on the weekend. It’s a collection of performers as eclectic as the menu and the clientele.
In a word, “Everybody.”
Mifflin Tavern, at 1843 S. 2nd Street, can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mifflintavern. They are open from 3 p.m.-2 a.m., and from Noon-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. They accept all major forms of payment.