Tavern on Camac; These are the People in Your Gayborhood

Tavern on Camac Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tavern on Camac on a blurry night.

Tavern on Camac

We’re in Philly at Tavern on Camac, the wet cough of a homeless man punctuates the sound of the city while a cool night’s breeze tugs at the hems of our coats (at least, I hope it’s a breeze and not the cough).   http://www.tavernoncamac.com/#!the-tavern/c1jj0 

We’re outside, debating our chances of getting a table in Downtown Philadelphia’s, Tavern on Camac, in the Gayborhood on a Thursday, which also happens to be Dine out for AIDS charity night. We figure our chances of finding a table are about zero percent. Like peace in the Middle East or sober Johnny Manziel, probably not going to happen. We figure what do we have to lose, go down the stairs, gulp, enter and… it’s empty?

Dine Out For Life by ACTION AIDS poster, 2015 Philadelphia, PA
We want YOU, to dine out for life.

It’s like week old fish – 10 % off discount day at the sushi bar, no one is here. A server glides over and efficiently seats us in the other room, where the sole inhabitants, a table of six men celebrate for unknown reasons. Perhaps they’ve killed all the other patrons and stacked them in grisly, heap, inside the maintenance room and are celebrating a job well done.

If such a grim fate is awaiting us, we can only hope that we will at least get our beers first. Dying without first having a drink, is rather quite uncivilized, surely these men will recognize our civilized discourse, and find that such contented company would be worth sparing after all. It worked! We receive our Uber Pils double style American Pilsners brewed by Heavy Seas Beer in Baltimore, Maryland and are allowed to drink and dine unmolested as the men celebrate on.

Small Craft Uber Pils at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Tavern on Camac
Beer me.

Say Cheese

Another pair of people tempt fate and are seated in the room. I wonder how long until they disappear. Easily distracted we’re now thinking about food. Wondering if you’ll be cut into grisly people bits and stacked in an unsanitary manner in the maintenance room of a trendy Tavern on Camac is quite famishing business.

We order a Tavern on Camac cheese board. Because we’re pretentious dicks, as members of such an exclusive guild we’re obligated to always start a meal with a cheese board… Unless you plan on finishing with a cheese board for dessert in which case, you may replace a cheese board with a tableside prepared Caesar salad. The eternal order of pretentious dicks has spoken.

Aged Cheddar Cheese with apple, fig jam, cranberry honey & toasted baguettes at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Tavern on Camac
We’re board at Tavern on Camac.

Coming in at $9.00 freaking dollars this cheese board was the best bargain we found in Philly all week. The cheese board consisted of a fist sized chunk of aged cheddar, half of a sliced, green, apple, spiced, candied, walnuts, toasted, sliced, baguette, cranberry honey and fig jam. For $9 freaking dollars, in downtown Phila-freakin-delphia, at night. You can’t walk eight fucking feet in downtown Philadelphia without losing nine bucks to panhandlers. This cheese board is a pretentious dick travel tip worth remembering.

Spiced, candied almonds at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Tavern on Camac
Deez nuts at Tavern on Camac.

Fishy business

Up next two courses: Chicken sandwich with fries and Tavern on Camac’s play on fish & chips. The Sandwich: seasoned, chopped chicken breast is cloaked in cheddar and topped with lettuce and tomato. It’s perfectly serviceable if not very memorable. This sandwich is very typical bar food with textbook fries, although exceptionally seasoned and served on a better than typical baguette.

Chicken Sandwich & Fries at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Tavern on Camac
Tavern on Camac, winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Tavern on Camac’s take on fish & chips was amusing if not technically proficient. Beer, battered, fried wolf fish, served with potato latkes and spicy pickles. At first glance, this seemed exceptional. The batter looks crispy and has reached optimum, golden brown. Tavern on Camac’s potato latkes too looked crispy and appropriately golden, until my fork pierced the beer batter to obtain my first bite.

Philly Tar Fish copy
Tavern on Camac’s spicy pickles are good.

Gush… Water’s pouring out of the now pierced fish batter. Served on a wood slab there is no lip or edge to hide the fish & latkes from the gush of water. The once appropriately crispy fish batter & latkes are now soaked, limp, and decidedly not crispy. I’ve never experienced that before, my only thought is that maybe the fish was frozen when they fried it? That might explain the moisture, but doesn’t explain why in God’s name would anyone do that?

Our take

Tavern on Camac located at 234 Camac has fairly friendly service and a fairly serviceable bar menu with a trendy atmosphere in a classic tavern. Their prices are fair with the exception of the pretentious cheese course, which is of course this week’s pretentious dick’s travel tip to remember.

Operating since 1920 as a gay establishment, Tavern on Camac could be the longest operating gay bar in Philadelphia. Connected to a Piano Bar and a Nightclub, they also earn this week’s nomination for Best Gay Stereotype. Like a dude with no body hair and a handlebar mustache named Lance in yoga pants and a wife beater. They’re here, they’re queer, we’re used to it.

Coming soon: Philadelphia’s Pizzaria Nomad, we’re mething with your head.

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