A bar for Devil's Pocket

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Owners Marcus Versace (left) and Andrew Wagner, also the chef, at Devil's Pocket Food & Spirits. (MICHAEL KLEIN / Philly.com)

Realtors today may toss around phrases like "Southwest Center City," "Graduate Hospital" or "Grays Ferry," but the slice of South Philly hard by the South Street Bridge has carried the name Devil's Pocket for decades.

Story goes that a priest considered the kids who lived in the area so tough that they'd steal a chain from the devil's pocket when they reached hell.

Chef Andrew Wagner and Marcus Versace could think of no other name when they took over Resurrection Ale House at Catharine Street and Grays Ferry Avenue, across from Naval Square.

Devil's Pocket Food & Spirits opens Tuesday, Oct. 21.

It's the first ownership both for Wagner, who worked for Starr restaurants for 12 years, mainly as executive chef at Jones and more recently sous chef at Continental Mid-town, and for Versace, who tended bar in the Washington Square area since 2001 (starting at Las Vegas Lounge and at Coco's for the last 10 years).

They've kept Resurrection's split-level bones, repainting and adding a clever series of pickpocket and petty-criminal-related photos and art on the walls.

To pair with a dozen beers on tap, Wagner has set up a tight opening menu: nachos, soup, chili, wings, hummus, cheddar beer mac and cheese, a few salads, a LaFrieda burger, several sandwiches, and turkey pot pie, brick chicken, smoked pork chop and burrito - all priced for the neighborhood.

This week's hours will be at 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Starting Monday, Oct. 27, it will run from 11:30 a.m. till 2 a.m. Brunch will begin in about a month, Versace said.

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