I just got back from Disney World. What do I want to do next? Make my first visit to Local 44, of course! It just opened on New Year’s day, and I’ve been itching to get there after reading all of the coverage.
D picked me up at the airport, and we were early to leave the city for the Seventh Annual Robbie Burns Birthday Bash at Sly Fox, so we decided to check out Local 44, which is one of West Philly’s newest pubs. It is located at the corner of 44th and Spruce, and there was plenty of street parking on our visit.
Local 44 is owned by Leigh and Brendan. Brendan is a proprietor of Memphis Taproom in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, and this space has a similar corner bar charm. The neighborhood is a safe and friendly residential area, and the plain storefront look hides the classy charm inside. The colors are sleek and rich, and the place just feels very comfortable.
When we first arrived, we were two of just a few other customers, so we had some nice conversation with Leigh. And when it got more crowded, she still did a fantastic job of making everyone in the growing house feel welcome and appreciated as a customer. It was obvious that most of the people were from the neighborhood, already embracing Local 44 as their “local” in the few short weeks it’s been open.
Local 44 specializes in session beers, serving mostly brews under 5.5% ABV and higher gravity beers in smaller quantities. Leigh was also happy to serve me half-pints, which was a welcome treat. There were 17 taps of goodness, and two PA beers on the handpulls, plus bottles of Orval – plenty of selection for beer drinkers across the spectrum – and the list is kept up to date on the website. Leigh was making fine recommendations to any neighborhood macro-drinkers who walked in the door, and could talk about breweries and fermentables with the geeks. This girl knows her beer, and she was a wealth of information.
The taps we enjoyed were:
- Yard’s Brawler (a very light 4.1% ABV)
- Coniston Bluebird Bitter(also coming in at 4.2% ABV)
- Köstritzer Schwarzbier (at 4.8% ABV)
- Elysian Immortal IPA (this one was 6.3% ABV)
- Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale (okay, this one was 6.8% ABV)
In addition to the beers, I snacked on the tacos, which come in fish or tofu (both sounded delicious, but I opted for plantain-encrusted mahi mahi with guacamole – check out a photo on the Beerlass blog.) The whole menu was mouthwatering, and there was a smooth way about placing salt, pepper and Sriracha on the bar for use while food was present, then slipping it away at the end of the meal.
Getting to the Local 44 from our home won’t be easy, but when I’m in the neighborhood, it may be difficult to keep me away from that place. If you have SEPTA transportation available, use the 42 bus or the 34 trolley and have one of everything. They are all worth it!