Ballast Point

Bar Review – Devil’s Den, South Philly

Is Tuesday the new Friday? Is Wednesday the new Friday? This is the recurring question whenever someone suggests grabbing a few drinks on a weeknight that doesn’t happen to be Friday. As far as I’m concerned, Friday night is just a state of mind… let’s drink! Tonight’s destination: Devil’s Den on 11th and Ellsworth Street in South Philly.

Devil’s Den is located in the former home of an incredibly mediocre (and totally forgettable!) Italian restaurant called Felicia’s. As a bar, Devil’s Den is outstanding! They have a massive selection of beers (16 on draught and 50+ in bottles), and they cover everything from American Lagers to Flemish Sours. The fact that they serve half price draughts from 5-7PM, Monday to Friday, is an added bonus. When we arrived at 6PM, the bar and dining room were doing a brisk business. Since there was only one bartender working, it took awhile to get that first beer. For my first beer, I chose a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA from San Diego. I first had this beer at Good Dog during Philly Beer Week and it doesn’t disappoint. It has all of the things that I love about IPA (that addictive hoppy flavor!), and adds a crisp and refreshing citrus note (grapefruit in particular). I give this beer an A+, because it’s easily one of the best IPAs around.

After the first round, we decided to stay and have dinner. Sadly, the food was a disappointment. We ordered some French Fries and Hot Wings as appetizers, and we both had the Grilled Burger Trio for our entrees (no cheese on the fries or burgers for The Alemonger. Freak!). It’s not that the food was bad, it just wasn’t very memorable. The fries were OK, the wings were OK (though not very spicy for something called Hot Wings!), and the burgers were overcomplicated and also just OK (Good Dog and Standard Tap should start giving lessons on how to make a great hamburger!). Maybe the Devil’s Den “A-Team” cooks are off on Tuesday night, because they managed to screw up our burger orders (cheese and side salad for me, no cheese and a side of fries for The Alemonger). Not only did they reverse our orders, they also delivered them about 20 minutes apart. I should have cancelled my order when I had the chance and saved $10.

If you plan to go to Devil’s Den, skip the food and stick with the beer. I give their bar a B+ (one bartender during Happy Hour? Are you kidding me!), and I give the food a C-. A better plan would be to grab some Vietnamese food up the street at 11th and Washington, then go to Devil’s Den for some after dinner beers. Sorry Devil’s Den. Get your kitchen in order.

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