Philly food and drink scene

Grey Lodge and Bridgewater’s Pub closing for good as COVID bans strike key Philly beer bars

For both venues, the final blow was Philly’s latest ban on indoor dining.

As of Nov. 20, indoor dining will be prohibited in Philadelphia, while outdoor dining becomes less and less appealing because of the weather

As of Nov. 20, indoor dining will be prohibited in Philadelphia, while outdoor dining becomes less and less appealing because of the weather

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital
danya

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It’s the end of the line for the Grey Lodge Pub. The Mayfair tavern, one of Philadelphia’s first craft beer bars and a pivotal player in the city’s beer scene, is closing for good, owner Mike “Scoats” Scotese announced Thursday.

Also closing for good this week is Bridgewater’s Pub in 30th Street Station, which for 21 years served an impressive selection of beer to University City customers, plus offered hot, full-service meals to travelers passing through.

For both venues, the final blow was Mayor Jim Kenney’s ban on indoor dining, which goes into effect 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20.

Scotese said that though he was “gutted,” he was also glad to have had the opportunity to run Grey Lodge. “I feel very grateful,” he told Billy Penn. “A lot of strangers became lifelong friends, some even became family”he posted on FB. “It has been a great run. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

It’s unclear what will happen next to the building at 6235 Frankford Ave., which will be put up for sale, Scotese said.

The space had been a bar for about a half century before he took over in 1996. After Scotese overhauled the tap system and added options from then-newcomers like Yards Brewing, Victory Brewing, Dogfish Head and Flying Fish, the out-of-the-way bar became an unlikely stop on must-visit lists for beer geeks across the nation.

Locally famous for its annual beer-for-breakfast Groundhog Day party, and regular “Friday the Firkinteenth” events, Grey Lodge never let craft beer fame overshadow its neighborhood roots.

Mike 'Scoats' Scotese (Left) holds the Philly Beer Week Hammer of Glory outside Grey Lodge Pub in 2015

Mike 'Scoats' Scotese (Left) holds the Philly Beer Week Hammer of Glory outside Grey Lodge Pub in 2015

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Sister project Lucky Cat Brewing, located next door, will continue operating, Scotese said. Four-packs from the nano-brewery will be available for pickup at Grey Lodge’s address on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Otherwise, the bar is done.

Bridgewater’s Pub will remain open for takeout through Dec. 4, proprietors posted on Facebook, thanking customers for making the small “train station bar” into more than just a commuter bar.

Restrictions to control the pandemic have upended the hospitality industry across the country and state, with hundreds of thousands of food service workers rendered jobless.

Philadelphia has already lost many popular destinations, from Cheu Noodle Bar to Boot & Saddle, Poi Dog to Farmicia, and many more. Others are expected to shutter as winter weather makes outdoor seating less desirable and the virus surges, making indoor dining less safe and cutting off the trickle of revenue business owners had been depending on.

The situation, said Jim Kirk, owner of Kite & Key in Callowhill, “is going to destroy our industry.”

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