Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Checking in: Jerry's Bar and Bourbon & Branch in Northern Liberties

New chef at Jerry's. New life for Liberties.

Checking in: Jerry's Bar and Bourbon & Branch in Northern Liberties

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It's a challenge to take over a long-established bar, throw out the old and install the new.

Two Northern Liberties landmarks did just that.

Last year at this time, the Proud family reopened Jerry's Bar (New Market and Laurel Streets) after rebuilding it brick by brick and converting it from a corner shot-and-a-beer to a beautifully appointed pub with great food, lots of light and outdoor seating. But last month, chef Marshall Green stepped out of the kitchen to work for his family's garden business in Montgomery County.

That led to the promotion of Matt Moon, an alum of Talula's Table, The Saint James and Bishop's Collar.

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Moon just sprang his menu. Particularly recommended: the ultralight ricotta gnocchi and the fried cauliflower with tahini.

Around the corner, Liberties (705 N. Second St.) - the neighborhood's longest-running bar - got a new owner. So much for history and romance. Alex Carbonell, a chef-partner in Lola in New Hope making his downtown debut, says the seller urged him to change the name because Liberties' stock hadn't been so high in recent years.

In February, Carbonell opened it as Bourbon & Branch, after the drink; in the South, "branch" is water. 

(Insert brief rant here that there must be nearly a half-dozen local bars with "Bourbon" in the name and that there's even a well-known Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco.)

B&B does a full slate of entertainment on the second floor.

Carbonell brought in Righteous Jolly to run the bar, stocked with 80 or so whiskies and 17 beers on draft.

(Want to see something unsettling? Ask for the drink list, which is pasted within the pages of children's books.)

Carbonell's menu is priced well - $19 and under. Recommended: the spicy tuna nachos, in which tuna tartar, avocado, sriracha aioli, sweet soy, sesame seeds come out on nachos.

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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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