Bainbridge Street Barrel House gets kudos for beer, not much else

Craig Laban gave a hit-or-miss, one-bell review to the Bainbridge Street Barrel House in Sunday’s Inquirer, but he did see signs for hope.

Pic comes from Yelp
Pic comes from Yelp

Laban praised the 25 taps and the smart redesign of a formerly blighted corner, 6th and Bainbridge, right across from Beau Monde and next to Bistrot la Minette.

There are 25 rotating taps now flowing at the corner of Sixth and Bainbridge – a fountainhead that should cheer the well-wetted beer crowd of Queen Village and Bella Vista. There’s a strong local presence on those tap handles, including some lesser-known breweries in farther reaches of Pennsylvania like Bullfrog (Williamsport), Neshaminy Creek (Croydon), and Old Forge (Danville). There is Sly Fox Chester County bitter on the low-fizz hand pump. And naturally, there is beer in barrels, too, like the Round Guys Barrel Rider and Arcadia Loch Down Scotch ale that each pack an extra layer of boozy complexity. That doesn’t even count the 200-plus-bottle list, which offers some bigger, cellared brews, from Petrus to Tilquin, ‘t Gaverhopke, Russian River, and Stillwater.

He wasn’t quite as kind to the menu:

Unfortunately, the cooking was so inconsistent that even a great beer list could not wash away its flaws. The house-made hummus was as stiff as drying wallpaper paste. The duck confit was tender, but strangely dry. The olive oil cake was so dense, I had to peel it like putty from the roof of my mouth.

We haven’t gotten the chance to get there yet. Any non-professional reviewers out there who would like to weigh in?


3 thoughts on “Bainbridge Street Barrel House gets kudos for beer, not much else

  • April 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I ate there relatively early after its opening, so it wouldn’t be fair to cast aspersions. But I thought Laban was far too kind to the atmosphere: it has an overwhelming feel of suburban chain bar. The beer list was phenomenal, but our waitress, as nice as she was, couldn’t tell a lager from an ale.

  • April 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    We walked in and sat at the bar for 5 full minutes without being acknowledge by the 3 bartenders/barbacks who were having a pow-wow at the other end of the bar. They even looked down at us and made eye-contact but never came over. We left. The end.

  • April 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I didn’t eat there, but my employers did. They own several local restaurants and bars and like to support and try out new restaurants in the area. I had NEVER heard them come home complaining about a restaurant before that. They said that of the food that they ordered, some of the dishes were overcooked or just not seasoned correctly. The meat was dry and chewy and the meal was just not palatable. I ended up sharing my Chinese takeout with them, because they were starving.

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