With great bars like The Abbey, Kraftwork, Johnny Brenda’s and more than a dozen others, it’s no secret that Fishtown and Northern Liberties get a lot of attention on the Philly beer scene.
Even the lower end of Kensington and Port Richmond get frequent shout-outs because of great pubs like the Memphis Taproom and the Green Rock Tavern.
But travel above Lehigh, and unless you’re a local, it’s hard to know where to get good craft beer.
Luckily there are several great spots that are off the radar but totally worth the trip.
First up is Three Fish Pub (2537 E. Somerset St.). You know that the owners have something more in mind than the typical neighborhood corner bar when you see the Troeg’s sign in the window.
Stepping inside, you are rewarded with 10 taps of craft beer, including Troeg’s Hopback Amber and Yard’s Love Stout. At $3 a pint, you’ll also discover one of the best things about drinking in Port Richmond — great prices.
The bar also serves a nice menu of pub food and the fridge is full of macro lager bottles, if that is your thing.
The Port Richmond Pour House, at 2253 E. Clearfield St., may be a tiny bar with only four taps, but it makes up for it with the atmosphere, friendliness and the many colorful characters who stop in sometimes.
Plus, with Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in 12-ounce glasses for $4, they may have one of the best deals in this part of the city.
There is a heavy emphasis on local breweries like PBC and Victory, but also rarities like Otter Creek and Peak Organic.
They have a well-stocked fridge of craft and macro beer, and cheap bar food like hot dogs and pizza.
The neighborhood may look a little rough, but don’t judge a book by its cover — I’ve traveled here dozens of times via bicycle or car, and I’ve never had anything but a great time with wonderful people.
Byrne’s Tavern, at 3301 Richmond St., has a reputation as a good dining spot. But they also have a lot of good beer that often gets overlooked.
The taps represent big breweries, with a heavy emphasis on Guinness products (including Harp and Smithwicks) served in imperial pints.
The bottle selection is more varied, with some beer not seen in the other nearby bars — for example, Franziskaner, Anchor Steam, Pilsner Urquell and Redbridge for those who prefer gluten-free beer.
I may have also spotted a bottle of Chimay Red in the fridge, but it was not listed on the menu.
The bar area has a very cozy feel. It seems like they are going for a legitimate Irish pub feel instead of the watered-down, frat-boy-centric pubs that you often see in Center City and the ’burbs.
Just up the street is Bonk’s Bar & Grille at 3467 Richmond St. The sign outside looks like it was put up in the 1960s, which can make newcomers wary of stepping inside. But open the door and you will see a clean, modern interior with some good beer on tap and a complete food menu.
They are big fans of the Victory Brewing Co. here, with Golden Monkey and Yakima Glory on tap.
Be careful, though — the $4 pints of Golden Monkey are dangerously delicious.
Luckily the Route 15 trolley runs near both of these bars to get you home safely.
Bonk’s also has free wi-fi if you decide to make it a business lunch spot.
One red flag we experienced, though, was that a bartender at Bonk’s had some strong opinions about a few politically incorrect topics (i.e., borderline racist) and had no problems letting his opinions be known.
If you live in the heart of the Port Richmond, Mick’s Inn, at 2526 E. Clearfield, is probably within stumbling distance to your home. There’s no food here, but there are some solid beers on tap, including Harpoon UFO and Winter Warmer.
Breweries like Yard’s, PBC, Flying Fish and Sierra are usually in bottles too.
I visited on a Sunday night and the bar had a rowdy sports-bar vibe, but other nights are much more low-key.
Event Alert: Harpoon tap takeover at Barcade (1114 Frankford Ave.) at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26.
Thirteen taps, with standards like UFO and rarities such as Barleywine, Cider and a batch of IPA dry-hopped with hops grown in Port Richmond. ••
Tim Patton is a Fishtown resident, beer aficionado and brewer. His column is dedicated to showcasing everything that is great about enjoying beer in the riverwards. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org