Brewerytown’s Backyard – Fairmount Park

Brewerytown lies smack at the gateway to over 9,200 acres of outdoor bliss.

Don’t miss out on the awesome, and have a look at how much of it rests within the reach of Brewerytown residents. Fairmount Park consists of 63 individual parks, and is one of the largest urban park systems in the world. Now that Spring is in the air, and Philadelphians are prepping up for BBQ’s, bikes, outdoors and the heat; here is a quick guide to Fairmount Park from Brewerytown’s back door. With such close proximity to so many historic sites, activities, and fun; there is no excuse not to make use of Fairmount Park as your backyard! Without further ado, here is my quick guide to the things every B-Town resident should check off at least once before summer is over.

The Philadelphia Zoo

philadelphia-zooPhilly is home to the nation’s oldest zoo. The charter establishing the Zoological Society of Philadelphia came into effect March 21, 1859, but due to the Civil War, it would be another 15 years before it officially opened. The zoo is easy to spot, thanks to the massive channel 6 hot air balloon, which was destroyed after this year’s bitter winter. Never fear, a new one is up and floating, and the crowds are growing as summer approaches. The Philadelphia Zoo’s 42-acre Victorian garden is home to more than 1,300 animals, many of them rare and endangered. “By connecting people with wildlife, the Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. Cheetahs, hippos, giraffes and much more make the Zoo Philadelphia’s leading family attraction with over 1.2 million visitors last year.”

 

Price: 20$ for adults, 18$ for kids age 2 to 11, and free for babies under 2 years.

Location: 34th and Zoological

Sedgley Frisbee Golf (FOLF)

sedgleyCan you dig free? This course is open to the public, parking is free, and there are no fees to play the course. Be sure to bring your own frisbee. Although it isn’t officially a BYOB, many seem to enjoy a beverage while they play, but should you choose to do so, please pick up after yourself and throw your empties where empties belong. Keep the park clean ya’ll. Some people take it really seriously, most go to relax.

Course details: Many trees and elevation changes. 3 tees/hole. Well known for tight play. Monthly tournaments year round. No water.

Location: 33rd and Reservoir Drive in Fairmount Park.

 

Please Touch Museum

please touchRemember when you would visit a museum as a youngster and all the emphasis was on keeping your hands to yourself? Throw that playbook out the window, Please Touch is hands on and awesome for children and parents alike. Since 1976, Please Touch Museum has been the Children’s Museum of Philadelphia. Over three decades and more than two million visitors later, Please Touch Museum has grown into one of the nation’s premier children’s museums by becoming experts in play. The mission of the museum is to enrich the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play, laying the foundation for a lifetime of hands-on learning and cultural                                                                                                                         awareness.  Kids can drive a real bus, sail a boat, and much more. Don’t be surprised if you see adults having just as                                                                                                       much fun  as the kids.

General Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. & Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Admission: Members: Free Under the age of one: Free Children and Adults: $17

 

Mann Center for the Performing Arts

The Mann Center is an outdoor venue with events and concerts held all year. This venue is awesome, and you can even pack a picnic and a bottle of wine. Many choose to do just that, parking their rears on the grass, rather than in the seats. Access from Brewerytown is easily bikable or walkable. The center was  founded in 1935 as the summer home for the Philadelphia Orchestra. This summer has a lineup including Phish, Lana Del Rey, Yanni, Queens of the Stone Age, and Jack Johnson to name a few. More information can be found on their websitemann center

Location: 5201 Parkside A

Prices: vary depending on the event.

 

 

 

 

The Dell Center for Music

dell musicAlthough lesser-known than the Mann Center, The Dell Center boasts 5,284 reserved seats, and can hold an additional 600 people on the lawn. It is the fourth largest venue in the city, and has been in operation for 39 years. The Dell has played host to the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Cosby, Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughn; to classic soul singers like Patti Labelle, The Whispers, Frankie Beverly, Jill Scott and Teena Marie.

 

 

Location: Ridge Avenue and Huntingdon Drive

Prices: vary depending on the event, season tickets available for 300 and 400 dollars.

 

Smith Memorial Playground

Need a spot to take the kids? Escape the heat this summer for free! This hidden gem is run by a wonderful staff and encourages creative play. Not only is it free and safe, but it also has a forty foot slide that even adults drool over. For over a hundred years, Smith Park has been a treasured destination. Smith strives to be Philadelphia’s foremost resource for play by providing opportunities for unstructured creative play for children 10 and younger.

Events:smith

Smith hosts Story Time in the Playhouse every Wednesday, year-round, at 10:30 a.m. for children 5 and younger.

Smith hosts Crafts in the Playhouse on the third Friday of the month, year-round, from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM. (5 and younger).

Strawberry Green Driving Range

Avid golfer? Amateur? Just wanting to get some stress relief? Strawberry Green is convenient, peaceful, and affordable. This driving range has a limited supply of clubs, and is an awesome way to spend your sunset, your morning, or your whole day. If you decide the driving range isn’t for you, or if your date just doesn’t get it, switch to the Disc Golf course a two minute walk down the road.

Location: 33rd Street and Reservoir Drive

Prices: 6 – 11 bucks a bucket

Schuylkill River Trail/Kelley Drive Loop

Perhaps the city’s most badass trails, and certainly it’s most scenic, the Schuylkill River Trail (10 miles) and Kelley Drive Loop (8.45 miles) offer an amazing outdoor experience smack in the middle of the city. Bikers and runners can be seen at almost all hours, and of course, this is FREE.

Fairmount Historic Houses

There are tons of historic houses, such as the Belmont Mansion,  which doubles as the Underground Railroad Museum, and a place where the founding father’s discussed the future of this country. If you can sneak your way into a wedding here, I say do it. Most of the houses/mansions offer tours, and Park Charms has packages where you can visit multiple spots in one swoop. The park originally provided refuge for wealthy families from the dust and grime of the city, as well as relief from the summer heat. Listed here are the historic houses in East Fairmount:

  • (1820) Strawberry Mansion
  • (1758) Woodford
  • (1765) Laurel Hill
  • (1798) Ormiston
  • (1810) Rockland
  • (1761) Mount Pleasant
  • (1838) Hatfield House
  • (1799) Sedgeley Porter’s House
  • (1800) Lemon Hill
  • (1815) Fairmount Water Works
  • (1860) Boathouse Row

Fairmount Park Horticulture Center

Got money? This spot is an awesome venue to host events, parties, and weddings, but it is not for the budget minded day trip. The likes of Stephen Starr love to wine and dine here. With a small pond, a creek, a wetland and a network of paths, picnics are a favorite family activity at this historic arboretum in Fairmount Park. The Display Gardens contain perennials, herbs, an accessible garden, everlastings, a demonstration garden and a vegetable garden.

Location: 100 N. Horticulture Dr.

Belmont Plateau 

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Last, but certainly not least, Belmont Plateau offers perhaps the best view of the Philadelphia skyline. For bonus points, head up there early and catch one of the best sunsets in the city, and one of the most popular “makeout” destinations in Philly.

Location: 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive

Price: Free

This is just a brief guide to your backyard. There are a plethora of trails, courts, roads, and options. If none of these options appeal to you, simply go and get lost on your own personal journey, there are plenty of places to find!

AND BREWERYTOWN – DON’T MISS PHILLY’S OWN FATNICE @BREWERYTOWN BEATS ON SATURDAY! 

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DhengiBrand Clothing – Brewerytown Born and Bred

Fashion guru Gerald Lawson is stepping up his game as DhengiBrand Clothing continues to be the streetwear of choice for urban fashion-minded Philadelphians.

As a Brewerytown revival is taking place in North Philadelphia, many stories, businesses, and brands are arriving, but some were always here. Dhengi (pronounced din-gee) Clothing is all about versatility and style that is, “Straight and to the cut. Not too flashy and never boring.” Philadelphia has long been known for its fashion flash and style, and the world is taking notice more so now than ever.

Being Dhengi never looked so fresh…

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Meet Gerald Lawson, a Brewerytown original. Born in 1975 on Newkirk Street, he is striving to show the youth that they can make things happen, and that they can achieve their dreams, despite difficult circumstances. His Philly flavor is deeply rooted in Brewerytown foundations. During the 80’s and 90’s, Gerald saw the life being sucked out of North Philly. Brewerytown was home to many influential people, but was never really represented by a brand. His hope is that if people can look at his brand, and recognize it, it reflects positively on Brewerytown.

“I recall my mother, who was block captain waking me and my siblings up to clean our street on Saturday mornings. We would pull weeds, sweep, and paint the curbs and poles white. There were many businesses throughout the neighborhood from variety and produce stores, a fish market, super-markets, bakeries, chocolate shops, shoe shops, barbershops, hair salons etc. While some of those businesses still remain, many of them have closed their doors. When the 90’s came around, the neighborhood began to lose it’s pride and commitment. Drugs and crime struck away the good and replaced it with bad. Homes that were once occupied became vacant and neglected, and as direct influence of that, the blocks subsequently suffered as well. With all that being said, the recent revival of B-Town was long overdue. The new businesses and home development has given the neighborhood a nice and necessary jolt to the arm.” – Gerald Lawson

Brewerytown played an essential role in how the DhengiBrand has evolved. Gerald was heavily influenced by the graffiti era, and how hip-hop hit North Philly during his youth. It shaped how he saw fashion, and how it pertained to him, and to the city. The entire brand, and the idea that, “Being Dhengi never looked so Clean,” was conceptualized right here in Brewerytown. The clothing has a very blue-collar but fashion bold feel. It is comfortable, yet classy. And as Gerald says DhengiBrand is, “Made for everyone even Aliens.”

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Lawson is more driven now than ever. He likes to say that DhengiBrand was born with him in 1975, but it wasn’t brought to the surface until 2003, when he put his vision into action. It hasn’t been without struggle, including a loss that he will carry with him forever. His partner and childhood friend, Kirk Alston, was tragically killed just when Dhengi began seeing its first glimpses of success. The Brand was officially launched on May 26, 2012. They were official, with a bright future. Gerald spent a lot of time behind the scenes, focusing on the business aspect, vendors, and manufacturers. Meanwhile, Kirk was putting the brand on the streets. He was a huge momentum in getting the name out there, in giving credibility to the concept. Sadly, Kirk was killed, and a large part of that energy went with him. Gerald is determined to bring back that energy, and to honor Kirk’s life in doing so. The loss of Kirk took place just before they prepared to make history in the first ever Atlantic City Fashion week. Gerald pushed forward in his honor, and he carries with him that Kirk is a part of DhengiBrands future, and DhengiBrand’s ambitions are to go global.

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As Brewerytown undergoes drastic changes, Gerald sees potential. He sees the beautification as wonderful, and something that creates a buzz for the community. He sees opportunity. DhengiBrand aspires to play a role in making Brewerytown relevant again, but this time for more positive reasons than those that virtually devastated the area in recent decades. DhengiBrands intends to trigger inspiration and conversation from the youth and the community.

“I want the best. I’m a people person. I want to teach and to learn. I want to leave a good impression; from the clothes to the conversations, I want to be an inspiration. It’s easy to be a bad influence, it is much harder to be a positive influence. I want B-town to be a place you can learn from. Look at the location! You can walk anywhere to learn from here – Fairmount Park, the Museum, the library, this is the gateway to the city.” – Gerald Lawson

With voices like yours, we hope to see a DhengiBrand Clothing shop in the neighborhood this summer. A place where fashion and community meet. See and feel the clothes and the concept for yourself, and support Brewerytown’s own: DHENGIBRAND CLOTHING.

DhengiBrand Clothing: “LiveInTheFresh” Together we succeed- apart we struggle.

Follow Dhengi:

www.dhengibrand.com

@dhengibrand

Instagram: dhbclothing

 

Biking the Brew

- Shelby Smith

Time to tighten the gears, as Brewerytown Bikes heads to Girard.

In the city of Philadelphia, biking is the way there more often than not. When parking is a mess, and one-way streets make backtracking impossible, bikes seem like the obvious route. Not to mention the environmental benefits to human energy being the only propellant.

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Fairmount Bicycles, 20th and Fairmount, sold its first bike in the summer of 2010. As a full service shop for repairs, tune-ups, flat fixes, sales, and rentals, Fairmount Bicycles has given the neighborhoods what they want: access to knowledgeable bike enthusiasts and a place to buy all the fixins’ for their commute to work or their next triathlon. The Fairmount shop has seen the likes of David Byrne and Annie Clark (St. Vincent) too, so there’s that.

Back in the spring of 2013, owner Shelly Salamon announced to her staff and the community that a second location would be opening up on the 2800 block of W. Girard in Brewerytown come spring 2014. Well guys, we’re almost there. The groundhog thinks it’s not happening, but spring is a state of mind. The new location, aptly named Brewerytown Bicycles, will cater more specifically to mountain biking and cyclocross, a hybrid between road racing and mountain bike racing. Cyclocross bikes are stouter than road bikes, with mountain bike elements for gear shifting, used particularly for cyclocross racing. The beauty of the Brewerytown/Fairmount area, is the accessibility of Fairmount Park for those who bike for sport. We all know Philly boasts one of the nation’s best municipal parks, and that Fairmount is a recurring dream of the seasonally depressed. The expansion stemmed from the base idea of delving into mountain bike rentals to diversify the cycling experience for a city on the move. The need reaches beyond the streets, we are all thrill seekers. (Though arguably biking across Philadelphia is an extreme sport.)

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The Brewerytown Bicycles shop is focusing heavily on outdoorsy themes, with the use of repurposed lumber as an internal structural façade, tree branches holding shelves, and logs still covered in bark forming tabletops. The whole aesthetic is a welcomed melding of the urban and organic with twigs and axle grease mingling in the space. Cris George, one of the managers and head mechanics, has been working at the unopened location installing the wood elements and designing the logo. He hand-burned his design into the wood for the signage and has been working on evolving the branding as the new Brewerytown shop evolves from vacancy to habitation. There’s a story of birth, growth, and life here.

On to the details: The Brewerytown Bicycles location will offer sales, rentals, and full service. They will provide any and all repairs, full tune-ups, and flat fixes. Their primary inventory will consist of off road mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes, and a light stock of the commuter and fitness bikes that have been the bread and butter at Fairmount. In addition to bicycles, bikers can find all manner of bike components there with highly informed folks on hand to point them in the right direction. Shelly and Cris are just two examples of the people who represent this developing community staple; people who bike in their sleep, people who could answer any question- even the dumb ones, people who are passionate about alternative transportation, bike polo, and the art of maintaining the livelihood of their friends and their mobility. The bike is the purest vehicle and it deserves some sex appeal and some good old fashioned attention.

Brewerytown Bicycles will sell any and all accessories such as lights, racks, fenders, baskets, and of course high-end locks.

Most bikers recognize biking as a lifestyle, identifying themselves as contributors to the cityscape in health and sustainability. The sheer cost-effectiveness of bicycles in juxtaposition with cars, or even the grand total of a month’s ride on SEPTA, is eye-opening. People who bike like to be prepared for the elements, the temperature, and a variety of road conditions and potential run-ins. Brewerytown’s got your back, and feet, with riding apparel and cycling shoes that’ll keep you dry and warm and ultimately ready to step right into work after a hellish ride in. They will also carry hydration units and racing/endurance essentials.

Brewerytown is a ‘hood where people are the focal point. Amid new shops, restaurants, and events, the people are what actually keep the area innately itself. All new projects are born out of that interest in serving the people who wake up in Brewerytown every morning, and fall asleep in Brewerytown every night. When people swing through, they see what the fuss is about. This centricity of culture is often referred to as the “heartbeat” of a region, but even heartbeats flatline. It’s more like the roots of a region. The culture of Brewerytown is at the root of the efforts poured back into it. Roots are the beginning- once planted they are difficult to dig up for fear of destroying the fruit. That’s what makes the real earthy atmosphere of the Brewerytown Bicycles shop resonate. Through growing themselves, they are inviting those around them to grow.

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Catch the opening of the shop at 28th and West Girard in the coming months. Look for notices about the official first day. In the meantime, feel free to peek into the windows and fantasize about your cycling needs being met. And as always, be kind and share the road.

Back to the Brewture

This summer, Girard Avenue is welcoming Crime and Punishment, the newest Philadelphia craft brewery that hopes to spark a revival of brewing in historic Brewerytown.

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Despite having one of the richest brewing traditions in the United States, Philadelphia is not often associated with beer. Up and coming brewers, Crime and Punishment, are determined to stir up a brewing renaissance, in the most appropriate of places, Brewerytown.

Although the official brewing history of Philadelphia is traced back to the 1740’s, some of the Founding Fathers: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, were known to brew their own personal beers…and apparently, colonists brought their thirst for alcohol with them to the New World. In fact, Arbella, a ship headed to the new world from England in 1630, arrived in the Massachusetts Bay with over 10,000 gallons of wine to supply just 700 settlers. It also carried with it three times more beer than water. Beer brewing became a staple of American life, and a symbol of Philadelphia.

By the late 1800’s, brands such as Bergner & Engel, Poth, Arnholt & Schaefer, Mueller, Baltz, Rothacker, Eble & Herter, Flach, and Burg & Pfaender were household names in Philadelphia, and just a few of the many brewers that called Brewerytown home. German influence was widespread throughout the city, and perhaps the most prominent form of this influence is evident in the brewing traditions which were largely shaped by German immigrants. Philadelphia’s brewing history runs deep, and was initially focused on ales, top-fermenting beverages known for fruitiness, bitterness, and high alcohol content. It is said that the ales being produced in Philadelphia during the 1800’s rivaled those of England. It wasn’t until 1840, that lager, a bottom-fermenting process, was introduced. It was brought by a Bavarian named John Wagner, who left Europe with lager yeast, and set up shop in Philadelphia on Poplar street. The first lager yeast, brought by Wagner, was introduced to this country via Brewerytown, and much of the industry followed suit. This style of beer forever changed American brewing processes. The beer that made “Milwaukee famous,” and became the “king of beers” in St. Louis, can trace its roots to Brewerytown–the very first home to American lager.

Fast forward to the year 1919 – and welcome to the era of prohibition. The industry that supported the livelihoods of Brewerytown’s inhabitants was devastated by the radical reforms. The blossoming factories soon became ghosthouses as people struggled to find new means of income. To this day, Philadelphia still has not recovered from Prohibition in regards to brewing. In 1860, Pennsylvania had 182 breweries compared to 1,269 nationally. In 1960, Pennsylvania had only 26 breweries statewide, and currently, Philadelphia has only 9 official breweries listed.

So, where better to brew a revival than Brewerytown? Nowhere, and Crime and Punishment intends to do just that. Brewmaster Michael Wambolt, has been brewing locally for the past five years, serving mainly friends and quenching his own thirst. As his passion for brewing grew, and his skills enhanced, it eventually dawned on him that Brewerytown didn’t actually have a brewery.

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Michael did his fair share of hopping around Philly, often surviving by couch surfing. He was first drawn to Brewerytown back in 2010, and doesn’t even recall anybody referring to it as “Brewerytown” in those days. As time moved on, and couches changed, Brewerytown always beckoned him back. The dream of brewing for a living was one that continually lurked in Michael’s mind, and eventually he started expressing that idea to the people he was serving. The idea excited those who heard, and started becoming a reality as five partners stepped up and decided to devote time, energy, and much needed money to get the idea off the ground. As the reality continues to unfold, there is an even bigger goal, to bring the brew back to Brewerytown, even if it’s as small as 3 barrels at a time…
“I love brewing beer, so it makes sense that Brewerytown kept calling me back. Well beyond that, the neighborhood’s current evolving dynamic is one that intrigues me.  I like to put myself in places where I know I can grow as a human being, and Brewerytown presented that to me in the challenge of establishing both a life, and a brewery here that appreciates and involves itself with the history and culture both in the past, present and future of Brewerytown.” – Founder – Michael Wambolt

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So just what can we expect from Brewerytown’s new brewer?

At Crime and Punishment, you can look forward to real beer, at honest prices, right on the Avenue. As a brewpub, the goal is to supply the neighborhood with reasonably priced beers for both first time craft beer drinkers, and for the most snobby of beer nerds.  Expect to see some 3 dollar pints of Blonde Ale and Kolsch, but also some 7 dollar tulips of Sour Saisons and Russian Imperial Stouts.  There are also several awesome IPA recipes in the works. The standard IPA will be a Session beer coming in at 4.5%. It will be brewed with a different hop every batch, and will be labeled the Indecent Exposure Series. Also in the lineup will be a double IPA, which will be served at an event April 5th, called 100 IBU’s to Life.  There are a bunch of other beers in the making, such as brown ales, belgian ales, porters, stouts, wheats and more. As Founder Michael Wambolt says, “We can pretty much brew anything really, and I don’t really see why not to do just that.”

As for food, Crime and Punishment is inspired by its namesake, a Russian novel, and plans to serve Russian inspired dishes.  Big soups like borsht and plav, a plethora of perogies, meats and cheeses, salads, etc.will provide a cornucopia of options for beer and food pairing. Crime and Punishment  wants to serve the community with less expensive, ethically sourced dining options, with no sacrifice in taste/flavor or experience–a place where you can be introduced to great craft beers that would make even the Founding Fathers thirsty, without getting smacked in the face with ridiculous prices.

Crime and Punishment is bringing Brewerytown Back into the Future–Back to the Brewture.

Look for Crime and Punishment coming to Girard Avenue August 1st!

Catch a sneak peak of the new location and sample some brews on April 5th at 2711 W. Girard Ave.

I LOVE BREWERYTOWN (#ilovebtown)

Just in time for a busy Spring, here is an opportunity for all to show their love for Brewerytown. This is a place with plenty of history, and there are of course, plenty of reasons people keep saying, “I love Brewerytown!”

Once an active industrial area, Brewerytown is rumored to have at one time housed more breweries than any other city in the world. This was also the home to Philadelphia’s original professional baseball team, The Athletics, and has long been known as a vibrant, working class community. The neighborhood has undergone many transformations since its origins, and its life as a brewery – town, can be traced as far back as the 1860’s.

As 2014 starts rolling into Spring, after one of the most atrocious winters in memory, Brewerytown is in the midst of a revival. With change, comes challenge, but through it all, residents new and old, are sharing what it is that makes them love this place.

“John Coltrane once walked these streets.” – Resident Submission

Recently, the MM Partners event, “I Love Brewerytown”, brought together people from the community and posed the question, “Why do you love Brewerytown?” There was a poster board for people to express all the things that made them love Brewerytown, and participants readily shared their thoughts. More importantly, it opened up the conversation as to why we all love this community.

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Brewerytown is a thriving gateway to the city that Philadelphians love to frequent, and a place many new residents are now falling in love with–a community many residents have always loved to live in. Food, shopping, parks, a recreation center, and proximity to so many other treasures in the city, are cited as just a few of the many reasons people love this community. As many new residents move in, it is important to reflect upon the history established by the pioneers of this community–the wonderful residents who make this place so special, and to respect the community, embrace it, connect to it, and share with it. In that spirit, I love Brewerytown is an opportunity for all to come together and share why this place is so special, a way to show respect for one another, and an opportunity to embrace one of Philadelphia’s finest neighborhood’s. Brewerytown is most certainly not a new place, it is a place with a lot of history, a lot of wisdom, and a lot of people who have seen this city’s transformation over the past few decades.

“The neighborhood has this history, this vibe, unlike any other place in the city.” – Resident Submission

Hearing stories from people about why they love their city and their neighborhood is compelling, because these individuals are talking about the same story we are all living, from a unique perspective, leaving a contribution that is priceless. As people share their love for for the city of Philadelphia, the surrounding community, and specifically Brewerytown, the question is now raised to you – What makes YOU love Brewerytown?

“Fairmount Park is my backyard.” – Resident Submission

Inspired by this concept, and in the spirit of community, Nicole McDonald decided to build on this idea to fuel her next project. Founder of Miss Mac Art Class, and Brewerytown resident, she invited Serbian photographer Vuk Kahvedzic to visit the neighborhood.

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“I’ve had the opportunity to experience Vuk’s travels through his photos, and was always taken aback by the portraits. From a Vietnam orphanage to the streets of Colombia, Vuk has this unique ability to capture people in their element. The Brewerytown neighborhood photos are stunning…the focus is on each person, but the streets and buildings of the neighborhood are still visible behind each individual.” – Nicole McDonald

Together, they set out to find what it is that makes people proud of their neighborhood. They found residents young and old, new and life-long, and asked each one simple question. “Why do you love Brewerytown?”

The duo began going through  the images and moments that were captured, and reflecting on the stories that pump the pulse of the people who make Brewerytown what it is. They soon realized that they had stumbled upon something amazing, and something very different from writing down a thought on a posterboard. It was real people with real lives, showing real expressions and sharing real stories of why they love their home, community, and neighbors.

2940 W. Thompson will be the home to many Brewerytown organizations and artists, including Give and Go Athletics, Icy Signs, and Miss Mac Art Class. It will also be home to one of the neighborhood’s newest art installations – the I Love Brewerytown mural. This will be a mural-collage consisting of portrait photographs that were captured of Brewerytown’s residents.

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Location for #ilovebtown mural 2940 W. Thompson

How to participate:

Beginning in April, and leading up to the unveiling of the I Love Brewerytown installation, one photo and one story will be shared daily. Neighborhood input is encouraged and appreciated, and readers are invited to participate by submitting why they love Brewerytown to missmacartclass@gmail.com. Include your neighborhood story and why you call Brewerytown home. Visuals are also encouraged, participate by tagging your Facebook and Instagram photos with the hashtag #ilovebtown. Don’t forget to spread the word! We are going to repost these photos and stories, as well as award prizes to the posts that receive the most attention. There will be art prizes (of course!) and more to be announced, so stay tuned!

About Miss Mac Art Class:

Miss Mac Art Class aims to connect local artists with youth in the neighborhood to create art and art projects. The organization views art as a tangible example of young people taking pride in their neighborhood, and a reason for the neighborhood to take pride in, and support their youth.

New to Brewerytown, and looking for a place to call home for her passion of youth and art, Nicole McDonald was immediately inspired by the neighborhood, drawn to its residents, and felt that this was the ideal place to discover and create art here in Philadelphia.

 

 

 

 

THE BEATS ARE BREWING…

wall by artist Issac Lin

wall by artist Issac Lin

…here in Brewerytown (North Philadelphia), a quiet vinyl renaissance is taking place. Tucked away just off of Girard Avenue on 29th Street, Brewerytown Beats is spinning back the hands of time, offering a wide variety of music that will suit any taste.

North Philadelphia has long been a storied gateway for music, particularly jazz and soul. It is known as one of the great American urban hubs for music, and the city that Pattie Labelle, Dizzy Gillespie, and Honey and the Bees called home. These amazing artists helped shaped the jazz and soul genre, especially the legendary John Coltrane, whose influence continues to cast a magnificent silhouette over Philadelphia, as far as the eyes can see and ears can hear.

These North Philadelphia streets were once scattered with lounges, graced by artists, and soundtracked by jazz and soul and r&b musicians who set the scene. Many still live here, and often, Beats is a place where stories of the past are shared, and vinyl of the era are proudly displayed and listened to. It is an opportunity to honor the musicians and carry on the stories that might otherwise be forgotten.

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Humbled by this deep rooted history, Max Ochester aspires to establish Beats as a gathering place for DJ’s, music connoisseurs, record collectors, record amateurs, the curious, and the new generation who has grown up in the digital age, where the pleasure and power of vinyl is often lost.

“Beats has its finger on the pulse of what people are looking for musically across the board, a way to put the music in your hands.” DJ Steven Ferrel

Max grew up in Mt Airy in the 80′s, and was inspired by the culture around him – hip-hop. He developed a deep desire to understand the music behind the music. His passion was finding the original samples used by the hip-hop artists who inspired him. This musical journey of discovery remained a staple throughout his life, and has become a full time obsession. The idea of Beats developed years ago, with a simple dream and determination to open a local record store. Through digging, sorting, trading, and reselling, Max eventually built an archive of over 10,000 albums and now has a place to house them.

“My wish would be for Beats to becomes a musical Mecca. I want to spread the love. Spread good music. Remind people that music is an experience.” – Maxwell Ochester – Owner – Brewerytown Beats

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Upon entering Brewerytown Beats, you will see an abundance of 45’s spinning, 12 inch vinyl being sorted, and cassettes ready for a Walkman or a boombox. The beats are ambitious, as are the goals of this local shop. In the months since Beats opened, it has managed to stumble upon some magic, and those who know about it are excited to see where it can go. The Mighty FlipSide Esq., of On the Beat Productions, has sponsored a comical beatdown at the shop, and recently interviewed Digable Planet’s Doodlebug AKA Cee Knowledge onsite. These are just a couple examples of what Beats aims to be. This is also evident in Brewerytown Beats record selections. Beats keeps it local, but has a wide range of funk, soul, jazz, and rock from around the globe.

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Brewerytown Beats understands that the music lovers across this city, over in Jersey, down to New Orleans and out in Seattle have helped shape this place into what it is. In a sense it is an homage to the many crate diggers, musicians, and record stores in which Max has encountered along the way, all of whom helped shape him into the collector he is. It is also a lasting tribute to the musicians whose albums fill the shelves.

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“Brewerytown Beats is an avenue to maintain the purity of vinyl, to embrace the foundation. It is a breath of fresh air, filled with options that we need, especially in the city.” – Desmond Rocdaspot West

Brewerytown Beats is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 11am – 7pm. Grab your needles, make room in your crates, dust off those tables, and prepare to break out your boom box. Music is here, it is loud, and it is ready to be played. Brewerytown Beats is hoping to play some small role in helping to honor and preserve Philadelphia’s rich history, one album at a time.

Why should people know about Brewerytown Beats? “They shouldn’t. I’ve been trying to keep it on the D.L. (laughs), but they got everything, and it re-inspires people to hear vinyl.” – DJ Osagi Og

About Brewerytown Beats:

Beats founder Peter Maxwell Ochester has a passion for music and is determined to promote vinyl culture one record at a time. Philly native, and a crate digger since he was fourteen, he has followed the music wherever it has led him, from Seattle to New Orleans, and eventually back home to Philadelphia.

Records are classified by their RPM’s (rotations per minute), but Beats prefers to view it as “recycled rotations”. This is giving records a new life, a new home, a new audience, and continuing the tangible tradition of a true album experience that is often lost in this digital age.

Brewerytown Beats
1207 N 29th St,
Philadelphia, PA 19121
brewerytownbeats@gmail.com

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The Beats are Brewing…

Entering A New High Point In Brewerytown

 

Come on in, we're open

Come on in, we’re open

When Meg Hagele opened High Point Cafe in July 2005, she brought her Seattle brand of coffee expertise to her home neighborhood of Mount Airy. Kitty-corner from Weavers Way seemed a slam dunk location for a great little coffee shop. She found out quickly how true the ‘little’ part was — something she’s finally starting to alleviate with a forthcoming wholesale operation a few blocks over and a new coffee shop that opened here in Brewerytown last week.

Latte for one at the original High Point Cafe on Carpenter Lane in Mount Airy

Latte for one at the original High Point Cafe on Carpenter Lane in Mount Airy

But High Point was not the first cafe Hagele opened. After working for years at the original location of Seattle’s Caffe Ladro — the popular roaster and coffeehouse now has fourteen across that city and its suburbs — she opened Cafe Besalu, a bakery and cafe in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. She came home to Philadelphia in 2005 and hit the ground running.

It became clear early on that High Point would need more than the cozy space they kept on Carpenter Lane, but they marched on, cranking out baked goods and fresh brew to a growing cast of regulars. “Oh we were busting at the seems,” she remembers with a laugh.

In October 2008, as the Phillies marched on themselves toward a World Series title, the doors to a second High Point Cafe opened in SEPTA’s historic Allen(s) Lane train station. “The Allens Lane space opened to relieve a little of that built up overflow,” Hagele says, pointing out that it’s within a mile of the original.

Of course a second location will build on that audience with one of its own when it’s serving the same cranberry orange scones and bleu cheese walnut biscuits, double lattes and shots-in-the-dark (a coffee with a shot of espresso) … oh, and those cr√™pes. Ham and cheddar and caramelized onions? “French toast” with eggs, cinnamon sugar, and bacon? Yeah. Now there were two crowded places.

So after several years of kicking tires, Hagele and her handpicked coffee roaster Stephane Rowley got the space they needed for real expansion, a former office building in Mount Airy where their wholesale baking and coffee roasting needs will serve not just their own two locations, but other cafes including some who’ve already lined up. Not long after this, a vacancy opened the former Mugshots Coffeehouse on Girard Avenue in Brewerytown.

“Our expansion plan did not include a third location,” Hagele says. “But I saw a photo of the space with the arched ceiling and thought, ‘I’ll come down for a visit, you know, as a courtesy’.” The former Leins building wooed her and she was sold.

Beautiful details abound inside the new High Point Cafe on Girard Avenue

Beautiful details abound inside the new High Point Cafe on Girard Avenue

“The vibrancy of Girard Avenue as a commercial corridor is really important,” she observes, recognizing it as the backbone of a community oriented neighborhood. “That’s what High Point is.”

More over, she recognized Brewerytown’s proximity to Center City as a major asset for her growing business. “Potential clients have always looked at us in Mount Airy as being out in the sticks, so it’s important to us to have a place in a more urban setting.”

And they’ve already got that showcase humming. Last Sunday, High Point opened at 2831 W. Girard Ave., initiating a set of new regulars — and even some old ones. “In coming down here during the buildout (her brother doubles as her contractor), I saw Max [from Brewerytown Beats] and Dan [from Icy Signs] and thought, hey, these guys are already my regulars from Mount Airy!” Seeing the familiar faces, she wasn’t sure if all of Mount Airy was coming to Brewerytown with her.

Considering Mount Airy’s known as a beautiful part of town with lots of small businesses, bringing a little bit of that beauty to Brewerytown’s not a bad thing. And the growing neighborhood around the new High Point Cafe is happy to help continue growing her business.

Come in out of the cold and warm up with a hot coffee

Come in out of the cold and warm up with a hot coffee

A Free Concert to Benefit The John Coltrane House

Brewerytown Living, The John Coltrane House and Philadelphia Jazz Project are proud to announce a John Coltrane tribute and benefit concert taking place July 18th from 6-8pm at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 31st Street and Girard Avenue in Brewerytown. The concert is also being sponsored by the local Brewerytown businesses and nonprofits MMPartners, RyBrew, Shifty’s Tacos, Dhengi Brand, GAMBA, Fairmount CDC and Give and Go Athletics. Saint Benjamin’s Brewery is also a sponsor.

Free to the public, this concert will feature performances of Coltrane’s music by Alfie Politt and his band, and is intended to both build awareness and raise funds for The John Coltrane House. Local restaurants Shifty’s Tacos and Rybrew will provide food, and Saint Benjamin Brewing Company will provide beer to taste.

The John Coltrane House is a National Historic Landmark, and is located at 1511 N 33rd Street in Brewerytown. The legendary saxophonist purchased it in 1952. After his passing, the house was lived in by his mother as well as his Cousin Mary, who was also the title of a well-known composition of Coltrane’s. The house fell into disrepair over recent decades, and now the recently formed non-profit The John Coltrane House, led by Lenora Early, is working to restore it and open it to the public as a museum and center for Jazz studies.

All the concert details and updates can be found at this link.

LOTS of Activities in Brewerytown this Week!

Spring weather has returned to our beautiful city, but Brewerytown is getting hot! Just this week there are 3 fun, FREE, events in and around the neighborhood.

  • Thursday May 16th at 6pm; Khari Mateen will perform at veteran’s memorial Park, 31st & Girard; Khari played last year and simply crushed it; his jazzy, soulful, funky sound is 100% unique and should not be missed.
  • Also on Thursday the 16th, once the concert is done, you can take a short walk down to 22nd & Fairmount for the first Night Market of the year.
  • Luckily, Friday is an off day so you can rest up, because Saturday is the 5th annual Brewerytown Spring Festival! This year’s festival will feature 25 (!) food trucks, as well as live music, BEER, magic, children’s activities, a raffle and more! The festival takes place on the 2600-2800 blocks of West Girard Avenue.

Return of the Brewerytown Food Truck Roundup

Remember last year’s Brewerytown Food Truck Roundup? The 20+ individual trucks, live music, big crowds, super huge amounts of fun on a an acre sized lot at the corner of 27th & Girard? Well, we are teaming up with the Philadelphia Mobile Food Association to do it again! This time the Roundup will be held in conjunction with the Brewerytown Spring Festival on May 18th. The Spring Festival features LOTS of artisans selling their handmade goods,live music and more! It will unfold over the 2700 and 2800 blocks from 12-5pm. We’ll have more details about the Roundup, and the Spring Festival as the the date gets closer, so stay tuned…

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