When it comes to barbecue and whiskey, Texas ain’t got nothin’ on Philly.
What do you get when you take a bar list that includes over 50 whiskeys and saddle it up to a menu which flaunts such mouth-watering delights as fried green tomatoes with tomato-bacon mayonnaise? You get the best damn bar in Philly, that’s what you get.
Our first encounter with Percy Street Barbecue, a charismatic Texan-style barbecue joint in the South Street neighborhood of Philadelphia, will not be our last – not by a long shot. The first indication you’re in the right place is the actual space you find yourself in – it’s a large drinking hall filled with sturdy wooden furniture and mammoth windows that open directly to the street. The second hint that you’re about to experience some serious pleasure is, the menus: A bar menu that bursts with over 50 whiskeys and a mind-boggling 100+ beers, and a food menu that would be the envy of any of Texas’ best barbecue hangouts.
We are greeted by Emily, an amiable expat from Connecticut and a mighty good waitress. Soon the general manager, a fella named Aric Ferrell, makes the rounds as well. Aric is the polite, knowledgeable kind of guy that every house needs. He treats us to a tipple of Colonel E.H. Taylor Tornado Surviving Whiskey – it’s his recommendation and it does not disappoint. Aric, as it turns out, knows his stuff. On April 2, 2006, a storm ripped through Kentucky, tearing apart two of Buffalo Trace’s warehouses. One was empty. The other, Warehouse C, was full of 24,000 barrels of young, far-from-release E.H. Taylor Bourbon. The walls and roof were ripped open, but the whiskey survived. In 2011, the whiskey from the top two rows of this warehouse was bottled as a special release. It is, in a word – transcendental.
We proceed to chomp down on fried green tomatoes while shoveling in fries smothered with chopped brisket and cheddar cheese. Then we’re happily interrupted by a pour of Four Roses Single Barrel – Percy Street Edition. It’s their own private stock of the precious Kentucky export. Seeing as how we brand our handcrafted whiskey stones for Four Roses, and, seeing as how they produce one of the finest bourbons available, we are smart enough not to turn it away. It turns out to be a wonderful bourbon – aged 8 years, 11 months.
So that’s the story of how perfection was ours for an afternoon – thanks to Percy Street Barbecue. The atmosphere is rich. The staff is rock-solid. And the food and whiskey, well, lets just say it’s fantastic.