Remember: Pennsylvania is a controlled state.
The Board simply wants to discourage drinking booze by making it “as inconvenient and expensive as possible” for distilled spirits. However, bars, restaurants, and other retailers (with heavy licenses) can sell wine and beer in smaller quantities – both on-site and on-the-go. That is, no more than four bottles of wine and no more than 192-fluid-ounces of beer, per purchase.
Below are four “pitstops” to pick-up a bottle or pack before noshing nearby at top BYO- establishments in Philadelphia.
Pro-tip: “Always bring a second bottle! Too risky to have just one, which could be corked or bad in any number of ways,” shares Nick Baitzel, beverage director at Jet Wine Bar.
Jet Wine Bar
Philadelphia’s “global vineyard” offers an extensive (natural) wine selection cultivated by owner and wine archeologist, Jill Weber. The small bar-turned-bottle shop supplies old, new, and “ancient world” wines.
“Rambunctious, complex, surprising,” per Baitzel, describes the wines from countries in which grape knowledge and production long-preceded “old world” results, such as the Republic of Georgia, Turkey, and Armenia.
“These [wines] actually are a good fit for all types of foods, flavors, and spices (like those encompassed by a fusion culture). A fuller Greek white like Assyrtiko has freshness, minerality, and salinity that makes it a fit for lighter foods. Some of the Turkish reds like Kalecik Karası or Calkarasi are lighter bodied, juicy, and bright – perfect for a range of proteins, herbs and spices,” Baitzel suggests.
Entree, a cozy BYOB bistro just steps away on South Street, presents seasonal American dishes with locally sourced ingredients (sans cork fees) in an urban setting. Jet Wine Bar gives a 10% discount on take-away bottles for guests who are en route to Entree that evening.
Stone’s Beer & Beverage Market
A husband and wife (and kids) team supports the community through their small beer business in the Fairmount neighborhood. The warehouse market promises same-day delivery and pick-up orders of a thousand-plus stocked products – stretching from local beers, imports, hard seltzers and ciders. In-store, resident shoppers can select and strut away, with a customized four or six-pack, to adjacent A.Mano for some BYO-action.
Meaning “by hand,” the coveted corner spot serves hand-crafted Italian cuisine from Chef Townsend Wentz, best paired with Belgium cuisine-friendly brews that have acidity and fruit notes.
“Little known to Americans, Italians have begun brewing their own Belgian-inspired ales in Northern Italian wine country, and many are even made with grapes,” mentions Jeff Alworth, author of The Beer Bible. Let’s keep the kegs for another night.
Barcelona Wine Bar
The triangular space provides an array of Spanish-centric small plates and well, wine. The wine list pages are filled with natural, expressive, and diverse vintages from Spain’s top producing regions, such as Ribera del Duero and Rioja.
At The Marketplace (within the wine bar), bottles are marked half-off the dine-in menu price, and are divided by Iconic Reds of Spain and Food Friends for quick shopping. They are available à la carte or bundled for an extra 10% savings.
The marketplace allows Passyunk residents to take-home wines, or to nearby Noord for house-made Dutch dishes like Gehatkballen: sirloin meatballs, root vegetable mash, sautéed spinach, and lingonberries. As for pairing, Emily Nevin-Giannini, beverage director at Barcelona Wine Bar, suggests a red wine from Bierzo, a relatively unknown region producing some of the most inspiring wines in all of Spain. “Bierzo is really all about is its grape: Mencia, from which it makes wildly complex light red wines,” perfect with any feast.
Dock Street Brewing South
A brewery, mess hall, lounge, coffee bar, and bottle shop – all in a 10,500-square-foot warehouse in Point Breeze that formerly housed a brewery over a century ago (then a tile factory, then a taxi repair shop) and is back to beer today under Dock Street Brewing Company.
The “South” brewpub location brews and cans on-site with weekly tours, samplings, swag, and 16-ounce cans and rare bottles to-go. Neighborhood “diner,” Cafe Ynez allows BYOB amid its colorful digs. No doubt does a pack of craft beer complement the Mexican fare and specialty: rotisserie chicken. Hoppy, citrusy, and bold Golden IPA can help bring great things out of savory chicken tacos.
Some food for thought.