1712 S 10th St (10th and Watkins)
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Watkins Drinkery is owned by the same guy who owns The Dive, but it has a much different feel. Wooden walls, decent TV's and food that they actually make on the premises. Oh yea, it also doesn't smell like cigarettes and urine. That aside, it is a new bar in my area, and they offer a menu smack full of wild game spins on traditional bar/gastro pub food. It's also very dark inside. I started with the venison nachos. The picture is dark because that was all of the available light I could muster. Luckily by the time the entrees arrived, so did someone with a light on their phone, which made all of the difference in the world. The nachos were really quite good. The venison was roasted or braised so it was meltingly tender, and had a nice smokey rustic flavor, without being too gamey. I am a fan.
The bison and blue cheese burger was good, but hardly great. The blue cheese all melted out and left the bison meat, which is dangerously lean to begin with, quite dry. It was bouyed, however, by the malt vinegar mayo that came with the fries. Although, when I ordered an extra side, a different, dill flavored sauce came out which the server assured me was the same thing. It was not. Either way, next time I might just opt for a large order of fries, as they were delicious, and the best part of the entree. Perfectly crispy, crunchy and salty, with a nice hot starchy interior.
The fish and chips were touted as a favorite of the night, with a light, crispy, beer battered mahi-mahi served alongside those addictive fries. They were supposed to come with the malt vinegar aioli, but were instead served with the same dill sauce. I don't really understand how all of that worked, but I would highly recommend the malt vinegar dip instead.
There is an arcade machine with about fifty old school video games upstairs, as well as darts and pool. This will probably be the biggest draw for me. Also the upstairs bar itself is not open as of yet, so don't get tricked by the bartender downstairs telling you that beer is available up there. We patiently waited for the server upstairs while we were working off our meal on the 1942 game but she never appeared, and when we ordered drinks downstairs ten minutes later, she again reiterated that someone would come up to serve us, although they obviously hadn't. All in all, Watkins is a pretty alright spot to have in the neighborhood. Oh, and they also have this game as an option. It sounds deceptively simple to make burgers by walking across ingredients without Mr. Hotdog getting you, but it is much harder than I remembered. I had thought I would be a natural, but alas I was quickly put in my place by a much more talented female member of the group.