Having the opportunity to spend some time in Philadelphia over the weekend, I wanted to find a place where I could purchase quality craft beer that I can’t find in Jersey. In looking around for spots, I happen to come across a review for a place called Hawthorne’s Cafe in the Bella Vista section of the city. Initially I was just looking for a place to purchase beer but I come to find out this place is not only a craft beer market but also a good lunch/breakfast eatery, so I plan a brunch trip with my wife and we headed down there on 11/5.
Walking in, it feels like another modern country style eatery with throw rugs, hardwood floors and white beadboard paneling up to the chair rail and a drinkers nook with sofas and a fireplace. The one big difference here is the heavenly cherubs that permeate the back half of the eatery in the form of ten taps, ten refrigerators and two floor displays of beer that turn this seemingly ordinary modern country brunch spot into the pearly white gates of beer heaven. Their selection is fantastic for what it is and they have everything organized by style of beer not brewer which is a HUGE plus. They have signs over each fridge letting you know the styles, Belgium, local, stouts, etc.
Price? The food prices were slightly above normal but not much, I paid $9 for my sandwich. The beer is also slightly above average, I would say everything is a few dollars more than I’m used to. With that said though they have tons of single 12 ounce bottles that you don’t see often in that size, so this is an opportunity to buy a 12 ounce of a beer that normally is found only in the bomber bottle size. I would say on average between 4-7 for a twelve ounce bottle. What did I drink? Val-Dieu Triple $6 and the Southern Tier Old Man (Winter Ale) $3.
Food? I had an excellent chicken avocado sandwich and my wife had a turkey sandwich, both very good eats with homemade potato chips.
Service? We waited a modest 10 minutes for a seat and were seated and had excellent service. Both the waitress and the manager came over to us a few times asking if everything was alright and how we were enjoying the food, they were very friendly and courteous. Our food came out reasonably fast and was fresh.
Beer? They had ten taps for which they also did growler fills. They also had a tremendous selection of 12 ounce bottles and bomber bottles but most of them were above the $12 point which made them a no no. I must have visited the fridge about 2 times before I was able to decide on what I wanted because they just had that much beer. I didn’t get a beer on tap because nothing really spoke to me except the Chimay White but I’ve had that plenty times before, so I stuck to trying something new. The way you purchase it is interesting too, you pull out beers and walk up to a counter where a cashier applies the drinks to your tab and then opens the bottle and pours it in an appropriate glass for you.
Overall: This is a great place to have some good quality fresh eats and at the same time have great beers both on tap and in bottle form. I would highly recommend this place to any beer enthusiast visiting Philly because there’s nothing like it around. Enjoy!