Come up with a list of Philadelphia bars that fit this criteria: generally inexpensive, serves great drinks, knows beer, has a chill staff and offers an impressive menu stocked with vegetarian options. Chances are good you’ll include at least one of David Frank and Stephen Simons’s establishments — Royal Tavern, Khyber Pass Pub, Cantina Los Caballitos and Cantina Dos Segundos. Add one more: Triangle Tavern.
The twisted intersection where East Passyunk meets both 10th and Reed Streets is slated for a redo soon, but the upside of the trilateral crossover is the triangular wedge of a building that for decades was home to a neighborhood institution. Shut down since the late aughts, the Triangle Tavern is now lively once again, thanks to a total revamp by Frank and Simons.
Consultant Suzanne O’Brien (who also worked on Jerry's Bar and The Trestle Inn) helped with a renovation that achieved dual goals. The interior has an undoubtedly throwback bent, with vintage pennants, posters and photos decorating wood panel walls, but the bar and adjacent dining room feel welcoming and — most importantly — clean and fresh. The menu follows the same happy dichotomy: something for everyone. Beverage expert Cristina Tessaro put together a drink list that has everything from Bud on tap to a whole slate of negronis and chef Mark McKinney is putting out food that ranges from old-school chicken Parm to seitan wings.
After a visit, we can report it turns out the new Triangle Tavern is more than just a bar with food, it’s a solid restaurant that happens to have a cool bar at front. Check out what you’ll want to eat and drink when you go.
1338 S. 10th St.; 215-800-1992
So classic, so hard to get right. McKinney avoids the pitfall of overly sweet marinara, and the tangy sauce clings to his pasta instead of sliding off. All the better to capture it on a fork with a slice of the tender, cheese-covered chicken breast ($15).
A glass petal dish overflowing with meat, cheese and pickles, most imported from Italy, plus garlic toasts to go along ($15). Choose vegetable-only for ($11).
A Triangle Tavern tradition — there used to be a cart that roamed the Avenue, offering passers-by the chance to pick up a bucket to take home. Choose either white or red, and get a large bowl of plump, grit-free mollusks and Italian bread to soak up the sauce.
Bruschetta of the Day
Toppings change daily for this trio of overflowing toasts. This standout version brought a thick layer of creamy basil mascarpone covered with rosettes of thinly-sliced proscuitto and strips of roasted peppers (price varies).
Adult Water Ice
Oh yes, they did. Turns out the Rita’s across the street isn’t going to reopen this season, so it’s the Triangle to the rescue. Get the boozy slush in regular lemon ($6 glass/$24 pitcher) or add the flavor of your choice: hibiscus, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, mango or peach ($7 glass/$29 pitcher). Word of warning — these go down extremely easy and pack a punch. If you want something lighter, or for the kids, nonalcoholic shaved ice is also available.
Signature cocktails are inspired by the bar’s history, like this mix of Purus vodka, cherry juice and mint simple syrup named after a waitress who worked at the joint for more than 40 years ($8).
The Hello, Susie
Prosecco your thing? Spark it up with Cocchi Americano rosa and a twist ($9). Or go for a pounder of PBR ($3.50), one of nine cans to go with another 10 bottles and a dozen drafts (from Rolling Rock to Founders Centennial IPA).
Six different Negronis are listed, including this locally-named option that matches Buffalo Trace bourbon with Zucca amaro, and Orchard apricot liqueur ($12).
A very decent house red and house white go for $7 per glass or $36 per carafe. A handful of bottles are also available, priced from $30-$50.
The interior is equal parts throwback, hip and family-friendly. Dinner is served from 4 PM-1 AM daily and the bar closes at 2 AM (see the full menus here). Brunch will be introduced soon.