The Farmers' Cabinet
Active Beers: 27
Beer Ratings: 97
Beer Avg: 3.86
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 23 | Reviews: 21 | Show All Ratings:
4.06/5 rDev +1.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 2.75 | food: 4 | $$$$
Whatever happened to the Farmers' Cabinet?? Too many shakeups and issues, I guess...
My first visit years ago was super impressive. I was now looking forward for more rare European taps and their own house brews but guess what? They're all gone.
On my second visit, they had Ballast Point Big Eye and Two Brothers listed under the "adventurous" section, and Sierra Torpedo as a "seasonal". Belhaven Wee Heavy and Coronado Brown are "house favorites". You got the picture, right? This place looks like a Taco Mac now, as far as beer is concerned.
The bottle menu still looks good, and the cocktails are stunning indeed (if pricey and small). Still same great service and beautiful atmosphere. But really, where is the beer?
The Farmers' Cabinet has got to be the classiest, coolest beer-focused establishment in the Philadelphia area. You wouldn't know from the outside, but step inside and it's like entering Das Kabinet des Dr Caligari.
The place reminds me of Death & Co. in NYC and other speakeasies... cool decor, lots of wood, dim lights, candles... romance and flirtation. Staff looks mighty dapper, with bow-ties and vests and well-groomed moustaches.
There is a beer bar upfront, a martini bar on the other side and a large (LARGE!) dining room past the bars. The entire joint was quiet and nice when we visited on an early Monday afternoon, and service was swift (not sure how knowledgeable the bartender was about beer, though, and I think he poured too much head). Only negatives would be how hot it was inside (the cabinet needs more A/C) and the loud music, slightly off place for an empty bar.
Selection is exceptional indeed, if only because they carry the rarest beers from Europe. I had a tequila-barreled Mikkeller Black, The Bruery Cuir and Beer Here Dark Hops. Also saw Brewdog Tokio '09, Evil Twin Yang, Baladin Super on tap. Beers are expensive but worth- where else can you get these bizarre brews on tap? I like their small pours (around 6-8 oz) because it allows me to try a bunch of stuff, even though they go for about $1 per ounce.
Food is good, almost very good. Lots of cheeses and charcuterie and pairing boards and all of that you expect in this kind of bar. The wife ordered deviled duck eggs and a cheese fondue; next time I will order from the meat-heavy menu.
We left the Cabinet intensely impressed. Sure, it is pricey (at least for Philly), but oh-so-worth. I need more!
04-29-2013 15:07:17 | More by DoubleSimcoe
4.44/5 rDev +10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Okay, but what about that spot right there? (pointing). Wait for the red light (break in traffic), jolt out, back up quickly, and park (everything in its right place). Dance the meter man settling up, and a ½ block walk. Yes, it’s that easy...
Off to the left, a dinged, dented, & stained copper sheet panel topped bar of straight, with a plank wood base, phat beam footrest, and seating for a baker’s dozen on stools tightly fit. The barback is a wall of wide old wood planks with 5 alternating height boxes mounted, each box holding 5 taps with non descript handles, and lined atop with bottles, books, candles, jars, pieces, etc. They’re seemingly held by ropes from above, which they are in fact, not, and there are boards riding the ropes affixed along the way up listing tap selections, origin, price, & ABV. A basin runs the length below, and there’s shelved glassware of all sizes & shapes tucked down under. Meat & cheese preppish area concealed up front, with implements of kitchen tooling and pickled things jarred.
Block slate tilings, brown walls, light in this light or lack thereof, and a darker brown ceiling with inlayed spots. Large front windows to both sides of closed off doors curtained; their horizontal windows atop burlap sacked up. Mounted lanterns on the ends of the bar, Alt length drop Bali mason jar lamps that must be a pain in the ass to light above, candle lighting on a strung rope set over the open room area, and wide candles in holders along the bar; the light by which I write.
A single barrel table up front along the windows, a bar counter slab over barrels off the wall behind me, and another barrel table on the end. Behind me in a don’t trip and fall slight step down next room, is another bar, similar to this one but an ‘L’, seating 15 on stools. ‘Mixology 101’ fixings on the bar. And the barback a split of a wallpapered wall and a nook of liquor 4 shelved end to end and tiered below. A pair of barrel tables sit forward the bar and another one to the rear.
Mesh framing divider conceals a room to the rear. A long row of tables in the center pushed together seating 40, a handful more to the left seating another 20, and a single table to the rear past a rack of barrels. Wood beams suspended above with candles, and the walls holding bottles bottles bottles; the length of 6 loooong shelves with more intermittent candlings. Other pieces about include a mounted stuffed grouse, a bison head, antlers, framed mirrorings in places, prints, animal skins, and a piano in the corner. Latice mesh framings hiding more bottled selections.
And up in the far corner, a back room events space, of sorts, I was there once for the ‘Philly Beer Week Session Beer’ event. You know, the one where Don Russell lost his fucking mind and denounced session beer as being “a farce, completely unnecessary, and flying in the face of the good beer we all drank when we first got into craft beer”. Yeah, good times.
23 beers on tap just now, a mix & match collection of mostly imports; Belgian (Dupont Posca Rustica, Kermok Bink Bloesem, a Vapeur Saison de Pipaix), Scandanavian (Nogne O Two Captains, HaandBryggeriet Dark Force, Kissmeyer No. 1 Stockholm Syndrome IPA, Omnipollo Mazarin), German (Gaffel Kolsch, Spezial Rauchbier Lager, Ettaler Kloster Dunkel, Schlenkerla Fastenbier), UK (Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2011 & J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2011 on calvados, Thornbridge St Petersburg Imperial Stout, Porterhouse An Brain Blasta & Porterhouse Oyster House), and elsewhere (De Molen Vuur & Vlam, Ca L’Arenys Guinen River, Hopfenstark Captain Swing, Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale, Baladin Noel), and the lone American craft beer offering, the Dock Street/Thiriez La Biere Des Amis collab. Say, where are the house beers hiding? Oh, I see, that’s too bad; that Gose I had during PBW was monsterously good. Drafts are served in large & small format, the latter for about $2 less. I drank shortys of the De Molen Vuur & Vlam, Ca L’Arenys Guinen River, & Dock Street/Thiriez La Biere Des Amis.
And a bottle list of 200+, divied by stylings (sour & funky, lovely & bright, malt forward, bold Belgian style beauties, earthy & complex, snifter worthy, distinguished, wildcards, smokey, brutally bitter/bitter/mildly bitter, refreshing, wheat, welcoming & sessionable, spiced and/or fruity), and 2 dozen + wines, a dozen ciders & meads, and cocktails cocktails cocktails; it’s a good list.
All the low lighting & old tyme music got me thinking that it was very reminiscent of the Bookstore Speakeasy, and that was before I ran into the Paultender, who talked of the LoverBeer BeerBrugna (ale with plums in oak barrels), as he does, and so we did (tasty). The place is pricey pricey, although my benchmark Orval runs a cool $9. Good house; Witz fed the meter, so I guess we’re on the hook for another hour…
12-05-2012 22:29:51 | More by slander
3.05/5 rDev -23.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$$
I went here after reading reviews from BA. Then I come here to write a review and read the last 3 reviews here and it is something like I'm going to write.
Reviews I didn't read before I went.
All not so hot & all within the last month.
What's up with that?!
Where to start?
I sought out the Farmer's Cabinet on a Fri for lunch. After entering thru a curtain, I was introduced to the darkest joint, I had ever been in. I literally could not see a foot in front of me. I asked to go to a restroom and the waitress, said right down the steps over there....and I just stood there for about 30 secs trying to see the steps. Finally I was led there.
When I came back I wanted to sit at the bar but it was going to be too dark to read what I expected, from BA reviews, to be a great beer and lunch, menu.
Luckily---there was a seat by an open doorway, to the street, where a little daylight sifted thru.
Btw ---my seat was a round no back stool and my table was a "chic", barrel. Both uncomfortable but I guess, that is what you get when someone is trying to be a hip spot. My exact seat is in the BA picture up there. There is a barrel in front of that stool.
What was unlucky were, ironically,,,the beer and lunch menus.
It was beer week and they were boasting their Danish Craft beers. I came for Belgians and/or these new great American beers out there. I guess it was too bad I WASN'T there for Danish beers. This might be a diff review.
Now----they did have an array of Belg beers..(None on tap of note. Hoegarden and Stella, I think, were there), but they were wayyyy out there and very difficult to decipher. The print was, (purposely), made hard to read with a very fancy font I had a couple good ones (St Feuillion Cru and a Roch 8). If I went back, I'd check a few others out.
The food menu was ridiculous.
Has anyone ever heard of a "Hirame Crudo"? That's a lunch entre'. Lots of choices like that.
I wound up eating a soft pretzel.
I can't tell ya much about the inside because, even from where I sat...looking back into the place...all I could see was the end of the bar, nearest me.
I like the oldtime music.
I like where the Farmers Cabinet sits. Right across the stree from the Forest Theater.
I liked my seat looking out the open door onto a busy street...albeit, an uncomfortable seat and, heh, again---eating off of a,"chic and hip", barrel.
I also would go back again just to try a few more diff beers. This time, tho---I'd know what I'm getting into.
06-06-2012 21:05:47 | More by Dennycurr
3.4/5 rDev -15.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$$
Went here for the Mikkeller tap takeover as part of Philly Beer Week. 20+ taps of yummy Denmark craft. As such, did not get to try any of their house brews.
The Farmers' Cabinet begs the question....is it possible for a place to be simply too hipster? This one has it all....waiters and bartenders forced to wear suspenders with old-timey facial hair, mason jar lights, taxidermy on the wall, and even a (not-bad, though loud) Dixieland brass band in the corner. Very dimly lit, and surprisingly large, with several tables and two levels, not to mention roomy bathrooms. Clearly they are trying really hard here.
And the bottle selection is significantly extensive and unique, with a huge selection of European craft beers and quality domestics, all put into groups by style with name and abv easily seen. That said, 9 bucks for a standard pour from the tap is a little high, and though there's an option of a 7 buck pour as well, none of the servers bothered pointing this out (That being said....Mikkeller often costs you 8 bucks for a 12 oz bottle anyway, so I guess 9 at a restaurant for a similar pour is no biggie). Little expensive perhaps, but the variety and quality of the curating is impressive.
Where the place kind of gets my goat a little bit is the quality of the food. Obviously they're attempting to go high end here, offering a quality dining experience along with the beer, but the charcuterie plate was meager and ridiculously overpriced, as are most of the smaller courses (12 bucks for a single marrow bone? c'mon). And my main course veal at 27 bucks was small, and overcooked, with a negligible carrot garnish. Mass produced wedding catering food came to mind.
I'd return for the beer and maybe a Bavarian Pretzel or two, but would not eat the food. There's potential here, but how about less focus on the atmosphere, more on the vittles, guys?
06-04-2012 00:30:05 | More by dmgnyc
2.93/5 rDev -26.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 1 | $$$$
A hop, skip, and a jump away from The Boilermaker, whatever that's worth? Located in the heart of downtown Philly, The Farmers Cabinet is kinda unassuming from the outside, you would never expect this is a bar, except for the small chalkboard outside boasting the upcoming beer events.
Once inside, after going through a large tapestry, I am took away to old style bars located in Europe from the Victorian Era. A lot to look at, dimly lit with some candle light and some dimly lit regular lighting throughout. The front room consists of two bars, beer bar to the left seating 15 or so, a small walkway leading into a cocktail bar serving overpriced booze. To the left of the cocktails an upstairs seating area for larger parties and downstairs are some nice roomy bathrooms.
To the right of the beer bar area is a larger seating area for smaller parties surrounded by walls of open, old beer bottles from everywhere. It's impressive looking.
The bar area is very old looking in a beautiful way with shit I could not describe, but there was a lot of wood. There is about 20 or so taps coming out from the wall in groups of four or five designated by country of origin. Small pours ranged in the 7 dollar range large pours 9 beans and up. Very expensive, but it is all imports and the house made beers by Terry which are a bit steep.
A nice impressive bottle list with a lot of stuff being not available. How hard is it to cross off some beers on the bottle list? The Bartender looked like the figure on the a Heady Topper can, hair and all. While obviously home schooled or just different, he fits the part for the feel of this bar. He was also pretty well versed in all things beer and fermentation and all that. Very detailed when pointing towards all the bullshit overpriced "food" that i will get into later. He did his job.
If you eat here regularly or more than twice, you are either a moron, a 1%er, or just don't know any better. I won't be eating here again and here is why. Portions and price. Insanely overpriced food that would not fill the belly of an ant.
I went with some friends well versed in all things food. We got some stuff including a cheese/charchuterie match up with a lot of additions along with a bottle of Fantome Saison which was delicious.
Worst Char 'board' in Philadelphia by far. 1st off, it's not served on a board, it's served on a slate which is a fail and nasty as well. When the bartender pointed to each type of meat I had a hard time seeing what he was pointing at, and I have 20/20 vision and I was sitting 2 feet from the plate, I swear i could not see anything.
Maybe I am going a bit extreme there. But the following is not extreme. Remember in Goodfellas, when Henry Hill was serving time in prison with Paulie. "Paulie was doing a year for contempt and had a wonderful system for garlic. He used a razor and sliced it so thin, it would liquefy in the pan with a little bit of oil. It’s a very good system."
Remember how thin those garlic slices were in the movie, that's how thin and sized the meat portions were, a TOTAL FUCKING FAILURE. The cheese was also portioned out weak, as well as the bread points to put this shit on. Oh yeah , they drizzled some 'special' honey on the bottom of the slate getting in the way of everything. They also sprinkled some tapioka powder on the plates, whoop de fucking do. The best thing i had all night were the beets which were quite tasty, but probably cost 10 beans. You would have to spend at least 100 beans here to fill your belly.
I don't know what's going on with this place. I like the idea, but it's sort of like your at the casino in this place, no sense of time while money goes quick. For the food portions we ordered, especially the meat/cheese portions, there was at least a 1000% mark up from your local grocer, and the product was not all that special, except the beets.
05-31-2012 04:21:14 | More by BARFLYB
2.34/5 rDev -41.6%
vibe: 1 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | $$$$
I will open with the positives. Obviously, the decor is really nice, a lot of thought went into the concept and design. Nice quality beverages -- house beers are good, imports are focused and unique and the cocktails are nice.
My last visit there with my wife I had spent near $40 within 10 minutes and had barely sat down. Draft beer prices are indicated on a big chalkboard for each size pour, for example, $9 / $7 is listed for a given beer. You have to figure the "large" pour would be at least a pint, especially for the house IPA. No, large pours were about 8-10oz taking head size into account. A house freakin IPA close to $10 for half a pint, and none of this is indicated. Bartenders take forever. You’re surrounded by trouser-wearing hipsters and edgy early 30s people, and a freakin dixieland brass trio, or something, blaring repetitive chord progressions endlessly.
I don’t mind spending a lot on good beer. I’ve bought more than my share of bottles on ebay, had massively expensive drinking nights in Belgium, small tastings where $1k plus was spent on just a handful of bottles. That said, I won’t tolerate a place that blatantly rips people off and replaces all customary courtesies you expect from a restaurant/bar with aesthetics and style. Cocktails are $13+ and are 95% ice. Oh but it’s fancy special ice! Fuck off. Don’t bother with this place, I’d much rather hang out at my shitty neighborhood bar with $1 Yeungling pours than shovel money into this snotty, prick establishment that’s all style and no substance.
05-14-2012 01:26:41 | More by JAXSON
4.1/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$$
This place is a dimly lit, small pub. Like an upscale 1700s place that has old style wooden tables and a bench seat and is lit by candlelight (although not solely by candlelight as there are backlights behind the bottle displays)
The selection of beer is very expensive and unique. They have a selection of De Molen beers on tap as well as some of their house beers and a few other imports. Luckily, the bottle prices are listed-but they are extremely expensive. They had the only keg in the US of Mooi and Machtig-which is a huge offering.
The waitress was very helpful and let us keep a copy of the menu. She did well in reccomending my mother a beer that fit her limited palate.
Speaking of which-the food menu was rpetty limited. We had blueberry pancakes, which were very good, but expensive. The other food there was kinda weird and trendy.
04-25-2012 01:03:16 | More by PittBeerGirl
4.5/5 rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
The Farmers Cabinet is a great find in Philly.
The interior is clad in old boards, candle-lit mason jars, a cooper-clad bar, antiques, and burlap. A very friendly and knowledgeable barkeep is always a plus especially at a place with such a great tap line-up. Upon our visit they had close to a dozen De Struise beers on tap as well as some of thier house-made brews. Happy hour pricing from 4-6 on thier own beers @$4.00 each. Great deal for Philly.
In the background it would seem there would be some oldster cranking away on the gramaphone as the hits from way WAY back keep the vibe chill. We're talking ragtime favorites, but it really works here.
The place is clean, quite, upscale, and rustic.
Western-Americana-chic? Maybe a bit full of schtick, but very well done and a lot of fun.
04-10-2012 00:08:48 | More by brewandbbq
4.63/5 rDev +15.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$$
You walk into the establishment through some hanging burlap like curtains from the front door. You immediately notice how dark the place is as it is mostly lit with candles in mason jars. There is a smallish bar in the front where the beers are poured. There is another small bar that has the liquors just on the other side. There is a long restaurant section of the back of the bar area, and on one wall is a large beer bottle collection. There are plenty of barrels around, and burlap is hanging too. The music is from the 30's and 40's. The vibe here is very cool.
The beer list is definitely unique for Philly. There are several house beers brewed at a brewery in Alexandria VA. On my two stops in they had the Field Hop Grisette, French Country Ale, and Layover in Berlin. The Field Hop and Country Ale were outstanding. There are about 20 beers on tap from Italy, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and England. The beers we had were fresh and not served too cold. The beers come in small 8-10oz glasses, and the costs range from $7-$10 a glass which is expensive.
Service was very friendly and prompt. Any questions about the house beers were fully answered, and the bartender knew the beers he was serving. Only food we had was the pretzel which was very good.
For me this place is a nice change up from the typical Philly bar scene, but it is very expensive so the number of beers here will be limited in a session. The house beers are worth the trip.
02-03-2012 14:32:28 | More by Gavage
2.35/5 rDev -41.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | food: 3 | $$$$
Was excited to try this place with some friends. We were there on a Thursday night.. Place was empty. The restaurant is very dark, lit by candlelight and has a an old 1930s farmhouse/barn feel to it. Old ragtime music plays in the background. We sat at a long table and waited for a long time before we were waited on. This is were it got bad fast. My 3 friends order Double Jack and Bruery Cuir and some De Dolle x2IPA. The waiter came back and told us that all 3 of the beers were out.. my friends scrambled to order some other beer cause they didn't want to wait for the guy to come back so they ordered the small glasses (7oz) of some beer for $7.
We got our beer, and finished them rather quickly. The waiter didn't come back to refill our orders for like 15 minutes. Even though he walked by us twice (briskly) and did not stop. We sat with empty glasses. Nobody was there! Really annoying. When we ordered food he proceeded to tell us the 2 dishes we ordered on the menu were sold out as well. Ridiculous! My one friend wanted to leave. Food was fine but at that point everyone was just pissed. The waiter also gave me a wrong beer. At least he gave that to me free. Then when the bill came we were really pissed. Won't be going back
11-21-2011 16:08:27 | More by Kaydogg
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The Farmers' Cabinet in Philadelphia, PA
90 out of 100 based on 23 user ratings.