Six sensational bar snacks
Salt cod fanatics with bacalao-averse buddies should swing by 13th and Drury for this accessible take on the versatile ingredient. Using buttermilk, flour and cornmeal, chef John Taus creates a right-proper hush puppy, but instead of offering them as an accompaniment for seafood, he whips the stuff right in. The honey thyme butter served on the side nails that elusive tweener ground between sweet and savory.
The Corner, 102 S. 13th St., 215-735-7500, thephillycorner.com
Bar eats are rarely even half-healthy, so it's heartening that Pennsport's Industry provides a little greenery with which to soak up the gin. Of course, chef Pat Szoke's snack is still definitively porktastic. He starts with confit pig ears, sliced into strips and fried. Then, using a leaf of Boston bibb as a tortilla, he tops those chewy-crisp slivers with radish, carrot, English cuke, red onion and a generous dousing of chef's-best-friend Frank's Red Hot.
The Industry, 1401 E. Moyamensing Ave., 215-271-9500, theindustrybar.com.
Though the moniker of this Point Breeze beer bar — yes, the one with the giant rusty fish tin hanging from it — has many believing every item on the menu contains grandpop's favorite war ration, there's really only one. Between two white-bread coasters, Scott Schroeder layers dijonaise, lettuce, shaved onion, loads of black pepper and a fancy canned Spanish sardine for a thematic bite that'll set you back just two bills.
American Sardine Bar, 1800 Federal St., 215-334-2337, americansardinebar.com.
One of the friendliest bars in West Philly, the Ethiopian hang Gojjo drapes East African flavor over the most Philly-accented sandwich of them all. Berbere, a vital spice blend in East African cooking, lends a distinct chili-and-garlic personality to queso-laden steak or chicken laid out on a long roll. Don't leave Baltimore Avenue wit-out it.
Gojjo, 4540 Baltimore Ave., 215-386-1444, gojjos.com.
Vedge's Rich Landau says it's sometimes difficult for him to keep the ingredients for this happy-hour favorite in stock, they sell so swiftly. Skip out early and get to the vegan stronghold's bar for these four-dollar wonders: plancha-grilled seitan, sticky with scratch-made gochujang dressing, folded up in a tortilla with red cabbage and a kimchi- and sambal-spiced mayo.
Vedge, 1221 Locust St., 215-320-7500, vedgerestaurant.com.
It's no alchemical mystery as to why the popcorn at Old City's NOLA-lovin' bar is so good — it's simply hot Cajun-spiced kernels drizzled in enough supernaturally delicious Benton's bacon grease to produce CSI-style stains on the outside of a brown paper bag. Though we haven't yet attempted to sneak a sack of this stuff into the nearby Ritz theaters, we've definitely debated it.
Khyber Pass Pub, 56 S. Second St., 215-238-5888, khyberpasspub.com.