Drop Everything: A Beer Hall with a Playground has Opened in NoLibs
Dreams really do come true at Craft Hall.
We are always looking for fun (and socially acceptable) opportunities to drink with our kids in tow. Parks on Tap—the roving family-friendly beer garden—is one of the highlights of warmer months, and we really begin to miss it during those dark, cold winter weekends. But our dark days are over, because the company behind Parks on Tap—FCM Hospitality—are clearly geniuses out to make our lives better.
Newly opened Craft Hall—located at 901 N. Delaware Avenue in Northern Liberties—is like nothing Philly has ever seen, but is like everything parents have always dreamed. The massive space boasts two full bars, a tasty menu featuring Lost Bread Co., a working brewery, and—oh yeah—an indoor playground.
Past the main hall, a smaller area with a stage and its own bar (so parents don’t ever need to leave their kids unattended to order their craft selections) is dominated by a fabulous multilevel pirate ship. Kids can climb, slide, and swing to their hearts’ content while their mac n’ cheese is being cooked and you and your adult companions enjoy your beverages. In addition to the very large play structure, there are also lawn games, Pop-a-Shot, Skee-ball, and… wait for it…old school Nintendo! I’m talking Donkey Kong, Mario, Tecmo Bowl, and more. I know, I can hardly believe it either. There are also old-timey typewriters the kids can play on for some reason, because why not?
In addition to regular bar seating and high-top tables, you can take a seat in a whimsical porch swing (against an artfully-arranged wall of doors), or even bring your drink aboard the pirate ship if you are feeling so inclined.
When we went opening weekend, the play area (and the hall, in general) was already a huge hit, and based on our friends’ reactions when we told them about this magical wonderland, its popularity will only grow.
If you somehow get bored playing all the games and going on alcohol-fueled swashbuckling adventures, you can walk over to the giant windows that look into the kitchen and brewery—watch the bread being baked, food being cooked, and even the beer brewing in the on-site Mainstay Independent Brewing Company. This is not just a fun feature, it is a deliberate effort to honor the process of authentic food making and share that with the community. There are plans to offer interactive tours of the brewery and bakery in the future.
Craft Hall will exclusively sell drafts of Mainstay, but also has cocktails, wine, and other canned sprits (we had spiked seltzer, which was delightful). The menu features Executive Chef Justin Koenig’s twists on classics like fried chicken sandwiches, wings, and pulled pork—plus vegan options. It also incorporates Lost Bread Co. elements—including all sandwich buns, plus options like a gourmet soft pretzel and a bread-and-cheese board. And, of course, there is a kids’ menu “for mateys 12 and under” with crowdpleasers like hot dogs, grilled cheese, sliders, mac n’ cheese, and more kiddie favorites.
Craft Hall is located at 901 N. Delaware Avenue in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. It is open Wednesdays and Thursday from 4 pm – 12 am, Fridays from 4 pm— 2 am, Saturdays from 10 am—2 am, and Sundays from 10 am – 12 am; but the little ones have to be out by 9 pm.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.