American Sardine Bar in Point Breeze is celebrating 4 years.
Remember way back when (say, five years ago) when long-time residents of Point Breeze tried to stop real estate developer John Longacre from turning the former Wander Inn into a craft beer bar? Their fears of gentrification delayed the opening of American Sardine Bar by at least a year.
But open it did, and fans of Longacre’s landmark South Philly Tap Room a few blocks away now had another place to drink high-end beer from cans and curb their munchies with fried PB&J sandwiches. Things haven’t gotten much easier for Longacre–what with community members trying to shut down his Point Breeze Beer Garden this summer–but at least the Sardine Bar still stands, four years after opening.
And so tomorrow, starting at noon, Sardine staff and friends will celebrate the bar’s anniversary (and its tenacity) with a party. The kitchen will whip up a fanciful menu and guests will play games, compete for prizes and tipple a spectacular draft list.
Notice the PBC Kenzinger at the bottom – an easy-to-obtain local flagship that we can only presume is being kept on amidst the headliners as a gesture of friendship for the brewers who named one of their first beers “Newbold” after the new name Longacre gave to the SPTR neighborhood with good intentions yet over the objection of some residents.
Call it what you will, Newbold, Point Breeze and much of South Philly have become commercial and residential magnets for Longacre’s clientele and their friends, and PBC engenders that modern street cred, as do Longacre’s cluster of three establishments (the Brew bottle shop moved in nearby).
Certainly playing into the fears of his critics, Longacre told Craig LaBan in 2012, “I have no idea why hipsters like going into bad neighborhoods and obscure locations, but I’m glad they come. … I know I feel safe here. Plus, I’m more of a danger to myself.”