Update, Dec. 3: The Crafthouse has set an opening date of Monday, Dec. 5.
One of New Jersey’s biggest and best-known breweries is coming to Philadelphia.
Flying Fish Crafthouse is slated to open in the ground floor of the under-construction apartment tower known as The Fairmount @ Brewerytown (1363 N. 31st St.). Set at the corner of 31st and Master streets, the restaurant will feature a beer list curated by Flying Fish, and will pour a selection of special Flying Fish ales not available elsewhere.
Chef Brian Duffy, of Bar Rescue fame, is the chef-consultant for the project — he was initially listed as chef, but sources say a search for someone to fill that role is still underway. The 190-seat restaurant will serve scratch-made pub food and will feature two separate bars plus an “indoor beer garden” with picnic tables and an outdoor patio area.
Another shift from early rumors: Although there was talk of Flying Fish operating a brewpub at the location, those plans have been changed. Instead, the arrangement is similar to what happens at the Victory Beer Hall at Xfinity Live.
Somerdale-based Flying Fish opened its doors in 1996 as one of the area’s first craft breweries. Founder Gene Muller was also an internet pioneer, having set up the brewery website back in 1995, so he had a built-in fan base at launch. He built on that to become one of the state’s largest brewers, thanks to popular brews like Oktoberfish and the Exit Series, which features beers named after New Jersey Turnpike exits.
Brewerytown is poised to become Philly’s next hot neighborhood. Home to hundreds of breweries in the early 20th century, the area later fell on hard times. Recently, though, it’s been experiencing a renaissance. The median household income is now just under $38,000, up 27 percent since the year 2000. On the retail side, both Spot Gourmet Burgers and Crime + Punishment Brewing chose to open there, and a second outpost of Pizza Brain will soon join them. Residents say the PPA has actually begun ticketing cars that overstay their meters on Girard Avenue — the agency used to just ignore the block because it wasn’t popular enough to merit a sweep.
Flying Fish Crafthouse is targeting a fourth quarter 2016 opening. The Fairmount is currently leasing apartments.