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Food & Friends
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Eatery, Store ]
1933 Spruce St
phone: (215) 545-1722
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Reviews by woodychandler:
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Transcribed from notes dated T, 10 August 2010.
I was on a mission on this day. I had received a trade request for Sly Fox CANs and I was getting ready to head to Madison, WI that Thursday so I needed to reload and ship mos' quick. I had a list of all Beer Stores on BA Beer Fly at the time and I decided to visit as many of the ones that offered singles and sixers as I could, taking notes at each one.
My second stop of the day and I was excited by what I could see through the windows on my approach. It was a wrap-around location on the northeast corner of 20th and Spruce Streets with windows giving it a fishbowl look. Entering, the "Food" was off to the right and the cheeses were what really caught my eye. It was only because I did not have a cooler on that hot day, plus my pending trip out of town, that I did not indulge in some nice cheese. To the left was the coffee counter and beyond that, the cooler bank of ten (10) doors with seven (7) shelves each and that was what faced the 20th Street windows! Yow! The back northwest wall had thirty (30) shelves of room temperature bombers and big bottles. Inside those cooler doors were lots and lots of enticing singles and so I indulged in one, having walked all that way. It was, however, on the spendy side, so one was all and done.
01-22-2011 12:22:06 |
More by woodychandler
More User Reviews:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Food & Friends is much more than just a place to buy beer, and although there are other small markets around, this one is clean and pretty nice looking inside. But on to the beer...
There are 10 cooler doors worth of beer, with 7 of them filled with good stuff, and only one dedicated to the more mainstream beers; and a wall of big bottles on the north side. The selection is good, and you'd have to be a very avid sampler to have tasted them all, especially given the way that new beers are released these days.
The drawbacks: the wall of big bottles is divided into 3 sections with 9 bottles across each, and it's 10 levels high. That's a lot of beer! The bottles up top, however, are repeats of what's below. (Who would want them up there anyway? You'd never be able to reach them). So what's the problem? Those bottles up top are just sitting there waiting to be brought down. It's got to be warm up there, and they're in the light. So, OK, that's not so bad, but I'd certainly prefer it if they were stored in a cool area without any light exposure.
Pricing is another issue. I compared the price of 5 beers against 2 other stores and found that Food & Friends is charging more for the bigger bottles. Why? I don't know. Of the smaller bottles I looked at 2 were a few cents less, and one was only 4 cents more. But the big bottles were far more out of line. A bottle of DFH Noble Rot is $17.50 at The Beer Shoppe in Ardmore, and $18.50 at The Foodery in Roxborough, but it's $20.49 at Food & Friends. The other example doesn't seem as bad, but it's basically the same percentage... a bottle of Maine Brewing's Zoe was $9.29 versus $8.59 at Beer Heaven and $7.95 at The Beer Shoppe. Additionally, most of the larger bottles are unmarked. That's my number one complaint with all beer shops. They might be willing to put prices on bags of candy, but they won't mark the beers.
Overall, it's a great shop with a great selection of beers. Well worth a visit.
03-02-2013 14:17:24 |
More by NeroFiddled
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Very nice clean and small market, a few basics like bread, dairy, fruit, etc... Then a nice row full of mostly fridgerated beers.
Qulality is great, a handful of macros, but 95% of the beers were craft and high quality imports.
Service was so so at best. I went in here in the morning to grab breakfast stuff, and asked about the lack of prices on beers, my answer from the counter was "we are kind of in dissaray right now, you can bring things up and we will check the prices.". Ummm... No, I don't think I want to carry a bunch of beers to the front just to check prices.
Selection is excellent. Pennsylvania may have crappy liquor laws, but man they get great distribution. I saw Russian River, Lost Abbey, Bells, Founders, Troegs, Belgians, among many others.
Prices were high, I grabbed 4 twelve ounce beers and paid $12. Not totally outrageous, but I was a bit concerned with the lack of price tags.
All in all, a nice store. But come on, get your act together and price your stuff!
09-28-2012 04:28:33 |
More by flexabull
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Walking by around the corner from Rittenhouse Square, your eyes bug out when you see the wall of beer facing the big windows. By my conservative count, there were about 400 beers sold as singles in the 12 oz size, and in the cooler there were over 100 in the bomber size. The shelves held many dozens more.l
So for tasting a wide variety of beers, this place is unparalleled in my experience. As an out-of-towner, this is the 100 percent location for me. The location is also ideal if you're staying downtown. The staff were friendly, eager to help pick out beers and talk about tasting opinions.
The only downside is that most beers are not priced so you have to know the brewery as expensive or not. Which doesn't always work. Who knew Dogfish was making $26 beers! The same problem exists at the admirable Foodery, which has a great selection of singles but you have to just hold out your credit card and grin since you'll be taking home a bizarre bag of beers.
Very clean, coffee available and nice tables in the window where you can admire the beer coolers. All in all, this is THE place to start on a beer hunt in central Philly.
05-24-2012 13:35:00 |
More by mactrail
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Great shop located a few blocks from Rittenhouse. Impressive selection of craft singles, bombers, six packs. You'll also be able to find some twelve packs of macro beers. They do a pretty good job labeling the shelves with prices, and they're always willing to do a price check for you if something is unlisted. It can be pretty pricey, but that's to be expected in Philly. They offer a discount on mixed 6-packs, and sometimes they'll give you the discount even if you purchase less than 6. The staff doesn't seem like the most beer savvy group, but they've always been extremely pleasant and helpful. On multiple occasions I've asked about the availability/release dates of certain beers, and they've taken down my name and number and relayed the message to the beer manager(who actually called me later that day).
Another perk to beer shopping at Food & Friends is the awesome grocery store. They have tons of quality products at reasonable prices. Highly recommended!
08-06-2011 21:34:32 |
More by kecarl7
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Food & Friends is located by Rittenhouse square. It’s basically a small convenience store, with some grocery selection such as vegetables and snacks like hummus and pita. The beer selection is pretty good and they have some Belgians and other imports. The singles prices are good too, I picked up the Victoria Storm King yesterday for $1.50. Living in Rittenhouse, it's a nice corner store to have. I like the atmosphere, with large windows that are usually open, and the staff is quite friendly, and knowledgeable about their beers. The aisles are a bit close together, but there is a good selection of Haribo gummies! All in all, the beer selection is heavily skewed towards quality American craft and good local seasonals.
08-02-2011 16:06:31 |
More by islandboi8204
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Food & Friends is around 20th and Spruce right by where my good friend lives. Whenever I visit and didn't bring beer, I know that I will be able to grab something from inside to take in. The selection is pretty good and they have a couple of good imports including 3F last time I was there. The singles prices are good too. It's a nice corner store to have. The windows are open and bright (nice for shopping atmosphere, bad for beer), the aisles are a bit close together, but there is a good selection of snacks and Haribo gummies. The store is definitely directed towards a higher-end yuppie kind of shopper so the selection is skewed towards quality American craft and good local seasonals. When they had Hopslam, they instituted a 1-bottle limit so that it gave more people a chance to try it, which I think is nice and prevents hoarding. Good place to check out if you are walking past, but not worth a special trip.
Prices have seeming gone up as they caught on to what the competition is doing: severely marking up limited releases, not labeling bottles or shelves with prices, and withholding bottles from the shelf. I feel like the beer service here has also gone down as it used to be easier to find someone that would want to talk to you about good beer
03-15-2011 05:46:43 |
More by Soonami
quality: 3.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
I've been meaning to checkthis place out for a while and finally got the chance to do so last night. I was excited when this place opened for two reasons, another bottle shop is always welcome and competitive pricing against Hawthornes and The Foodery.
This is actually a large market in the middle of the Rittenhouse Square neigborhood of center city. This is located very close to Monks, Tria, Varga Bar and Jose Pistolas. Although they have a lot of food offerings I went straight for the beer.
They have a very large selection inuding about six or seven coolers and a bunch if racks of room temperature beers. They carry a lot of quality crafts like Russian River, Cigar City, Stillwater, Lost Abbey and many other including several Belgian and German beers. They were lacking in the lambic department however. This was all very exciting but unfortunately none of the bottles are priced so you have to bring each individual bottle upto the counter for a price check.
The people workig there aren't very knowledgeable, helpful or enthusiastic. A couple of bottle didn't register a price and instead of finding out they just said they couldn't sell them. Frustrating. In addition the place was very e pensive. My hopes of competig prices were dashed. Some of the regualr singles were okay but anyhing somewhat rare or specialy bottles were way overpriced, even more than the Foodery.
Overall I would say that this place has a very good selection but it is too expensive with poor service. A decent place to stop by if you are visiting town and going to one of the establishments listed above. If not I would suggest skipping it unless you're in a pinch.
12-14-2010 00:39:27 |
More by corby112
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Update from 11/22/09 review as of 12/6/10: The selection has increased dramatically and impressively so. Also, the beer manager (not sure of his actual title) is there a lot of the time and very helpful. I have changed my Service from a 3.5 to a 4.5 and selection from 4.0 to 4.5 as well.
Q- The place is well kept with most beers in the 4 or 5 industrial-sized refrigerators. The back wall is covered with excess stock and some other beers on display, but is out of the sunlight, so not a problem at all. They seem to turn beer around pretty quickly for a small local market with a decent selection.
S-No one will approach you when you're looking around in the beer section, but there are a few employees who I have encountered upon checkout who will offer words of wisdom. Basically, don't go in expecting to get great advice, but that doesn't mean that its not worth the trip.
S- It's no Foodery (as far as selection alone) but it does have a very solid selection for Philadelphia (non-beer distributor, that is.) They have a small selection of Belgians, but a lot of the notable ones. The American craft beer selection is good without including anything rare or any gems. Much closer to me than the Foodery of Hawthornes and definitely a good place to have in the neighborhood.
V- By Phila. standards, it is not bad at all. They offer 10% discount on 6 or more. Not great prices, but you won't find anything better in center city.
11-22-2009 06:45:36 |
More by mbudner
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Update: The selection - both in quantity of offerings and quality has greatly increased in the last year. The prices have also gone down compared to other retailers.
This new deli/convenience store/bottle shop in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Center City Philadelphia is a welcome addition.
The selection coveres about 13 doors as well as a huge floor to ceiling shelving area on the back wall. 12oz, 22oz and 4 & 6 packs of cover everything from domestic craft brews (large selection of Rogue, Victory, Southern Tier, Brooklyn) to where this place really shines, the Belgians (St. Bernardus 12 in singles, bombers and 4-packs!). They even stock your standard BMC product lines.
After a brief run through, youll see that the space is filled more with quantity of certain beers instead of expanding the selection (no less then 15+ bombers each of Flying Fish Exit 11's, St. Bernardus etc. on display) but they just opened and may be feeling out the market.
The selection is good, the prices are good and I look forward to visiting again soon.
09-03-2009 20:45:10 |
More by rfgetz
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Food & Friends in Philadelphia, PA