Neighborhood guide: Spending time in the Eraserhood

140825_graffiti
The windows of an old factory a covered over in graffiti. Picture taken from Spring Garden looking north near 11th St. Graffiti around Philadelphia as seen on Monday, August 25, 2014. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

A neighborhood not often shined upon, and certainly not mentioned enough, is the “Eraserhood,” which gave inspiration to David Lynch’s 1977 film "Eraserhead."

This small section in Philadelphia is located on the east side of Broad Street along Spring Garden and borders Fairmount and Center City. For one thing, this area has a significant industrial feel to it. From underpasses to empty buildings, the neighborhood can make people think it’s desolate, but it certainly isn’t.

With its restaurants of varying cuisines, whiskey bars, easy transportation access, and venues to rock out at, this area is the perfect place to spend a day. Whatever attraction you're seeking, the Eraserhood will satisfy you one way or another.

Flavors to Savor

  • Parada Maimon, a Dominican diner open from breakfast through dinner, at 12th and Callowhill Streets, where Billy G's was previously.

 

Bufad Pizza (1240 Spring Garden St.)

If what you're looking for is not your typical pie, Bufad Pizza is a must. This restaurant sells a variety of wood-fired pizza styles you don't see every day, such as a Brussels sprouts pie with taleggio cheese, speck and scallions, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It's also BYOB so bring your favorite bottle and try out one of these fascinating pies.

Prohibition Taproom (501 N. 13th St.)

If you see a red sign shining bright with the word "bar" just off of Spring Garden Street, you’ve arrived at the right spot. This gastropub serves a wide variety of delicious pub food, and a menu rotating specials to choose from. As for the beer list… It’s huge. The ever-changing draft menu highlights the local beer scene and national craft selections, giving you plenty to choose from. If you’re not a fan of draft beers, their bar also has a bottle, cocktail, and wine menu.

The Institute (549 N. 12 St.)

Nestled on the corner of 12th and Green Streets, this bar is a great spot to post up on a week night. They boast a rotating draft menu and occasionally host tap takeover nights. One major annual event you don't want to miss is the Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin Festival – a pumpkin beer festival featuring over 100 beers made from the orange gourd.

W/N W/N (931 Spring Garden St.)

Something new on the scene is this coffee/cocktail bar. I’s the perfect hangout for that group of friends who enjoy casually sipping on an espresso or a craft cocktail on any night. You can expect local food and beverages – the smell of Elixr and ReAnimator coffee beans fill the space. There’s a humble but delicious menu of drinks, including beer on tap. Their small, rotating menu is meant to keep the shop’s waste to a minimum – the name actually stands for “waste not, want not.”  

Sazon (941 Spring Garden St.)

Some say chocolate is the way to a woman’s heart. Well, if that’s the case, this Venezuelan restaurant will bring her joy. This cozy spot will satisfy anyone's sweet tooth. It has a wide variety of decadent treats like truffles and hot cacaos that are created by chocolate alchemist Robert F. Campell. If chocolate isn’t your thing, the restaurant has great savory great dishes, such as empanadas, corn patties, and cultural dinners, with many vegetarian options created by chef Judith Suzarra-Campell.

Llama Tooth (1033 Spring Garden St.) 

Llama Tooth’s location mere yards away from Union Transfer and is great place to have a romantic dinner or just grab a drink with friends. From BBQ pork mac n’ cheese, burgers topped with crabcakes, and a rather large bottle list, this New American restaurant is a great spot.

Café Lift (428 N. 13th St.)

If you’re tired of the typical brunch menus being offered throughout the city, Café Lift is one to consider. The food list is not only huge, but it also includes choices such as burgers, huevos rancheros, crab bisque, Italian sausage paninis, and so much more.

Vice Coffee Versa Tattoos (1031 Spring Garden St.)

Coffee spots are in short supply around this area. You know what else is in short supply here? Tattoo shops. Oh, yeah, bookstores too. With Vice landing on Spring Garden Street a little under a year ago, we now have a haven for all three of these things.

Entertainment for your ears, eyes, and legs

Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden St.)

Arguably one of the best venues in the city. Not only does the venue host popular bands like Interpol and Phantogram, but it also supports the local music scene. Don’t worry about losing your spot to get a another beer during a show – cocktail waitresses are at your service in to 21+ sections.

The Trestle Inn (339 N. 11th St.)

Shake what your mama gave you and enjoy some cocktails at this whiskey and go-go bar. This place will take you back to the 1960s-70s with some classy drink choices, as well as some music to twist those hips to. Every Wednesday night the bar hosts Spirit of Wednesday, which highlights a specific spirit for the night. Taste a sample, and enjoy a smooth beverage created by the bartender on site.  

Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.)

This literal underground venue hosts intimate concerts with up-and-coming artists and smaller comedy acts. Bands like The Drums, Mac McDeMarco, and Finch are just some of the bands who have taken the stage at this fairly new venue.

District N9ne (460 N. 9th St.)

This nightclub is a popular spot for shows for the 18+ folks and it's open late LATE until 3 a.m. Popular electronic DJ acts often pass through this recently rennovated venue.

PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th St.)

Originally home to Diplo’s Mad Decent Studios, the building transformed into PhilaMOCA and hosts numerous showings of art, independent films, and local bands of all genres. 

Transportation

With all the fine venues and restaurants, travel is essential. Numerous SEPTA lines run along Spring Garden and its surrounding streets, making it easy to go in all different directions. Broad Street also gives an underground transportation option with the subway. If you’re into walking, Northern Liberties is no more than a 30-minute walk from here, as well as Center City, North Philadelphia, and Fairmount. If you bike, cut that feet travel down to half the time. 

Pleasure for the eyes

The music/art venues speak for themselves, but just walking around the area you'll also see numerous murals. Check out the "It Was All A Dream" mural off of 10th and Spring Garden Streets; get a picture at the legendary 76er Dr. J mural at 1200 Ridge Avenue; or even check out a painting by local Philadelphia artist NoseGo located on 13th Street south of Spring Garden. 

Continue Reading