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Philadelphia's Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in the City of Brotherly Love Paperback – April 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Best Dive Bars
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Gamble Guides (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935439200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935439202
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian McManus is the music editor and a contributing food writer at Philadelphia Weekly. He’s written for Houston Press, San Francisco Weekly, Chicago Reader, Cleveland Scene, and Spin magazine. His drinking and diving began while on tour with his garage punk band, continued during his years as a chef in Houston, Texas, and hasn’t slowed, much to the eternal dismay of his wife. He orders chili anytime it’s on a menu, and drinks Old Grand-Dad whiskey unironically. He has a twin brother who he hopes to one day hit up for a liver transplant.

Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By South Philly Bookie on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, I like the book. It's entertaining, informative, witty and fun. It's also a great guide for Philly drinkers who wish to expand horizons (sleazy as those horizons might be). However, there are some glaring problems with the book that I just can`t ignore. First of all, there are so many typos and misspellings that it makes you wonder if the proofreading was done by one of the toothless old men under the bar at one of the author's two-beer-bottle-rated establishments. Give the guy some light!

Next, the author refers to the white-haired, chain-smoking owner of the Dolphin Tavern as Mama (p.63). Well let me tell you this, no one in the fifty some odd years that she and her late husband owned the place has anyone ever called that woman "Mama." Nor Ma, Mommy or Mother. It's MOM! And yes, there is a difference.

Most egregiously, dude calls Frank Sinatra a racist (Dirty Frank's, p.22). Oh, yes he does! (In the same sentence, he calls Frank Rizzo a racist but later softens the slur to "allegedly racist" [Tailhook Tavern, p.165].) Now, the master crooner/swordsman might have been a lot of unflattering things in his life--overly opinionated, truculent, gangster wannabe, a drunk--but I think it's pretty much common knowledge that he was not a racist. In fact, as he gained fame Sinatra refused to play venues that would not allow blacks, and he became Mafia-like threatening to hotel clerks who refused rooms to black members of his crew. The guy campaigned for JFK (for Chrissakes!). The author better hope Sinatra's overly opinionated, truculent, gangster wannabe daughters don't slap him with a lawsuit--or in the head.

Less egregiously, but for the record: Shunk Street in South Philadelphia is not tiny (Rosewood Bar, p.72).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on June 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
It took me a while to admit that I was a good reviewer for this book. I have a sentimental attachment to the sort of bars that would let an underage me sit quietly and have a few cold ones. In the Brooklyn of my youth, these bars tended to be a bit, um, downscale and so was bred an affection that persists.
I don't know how McManus came to his subject, but I am awed by his perception and his feel for the genre. He understands, for instance, that McGlinchey's is not merely a rat-pound for surly post-pubescents, but a genuine dive. He catches the spirit of the Westbury and the Republican perfectly. He picks up on the essential joyfulness of Doobie's and addictive bent of the Locust Bar.
It's impressive that McManus understands that our city's abundance of low-life joints is connected to the antique system of liquor regulation in the state of Pennsylvania. But the real value of the book is, that along with being a very civilized read, it's a handy guide to a certain kind of pub crawl for a certain type of drinker. You know who you are, so get your copy and we'll talk it over some afternoon at Ray's Happy Birthday Bar.

Lynn Hoffman, author of The Short Course in Beer
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By Brian'o on July 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I respect the authors body of work and there are some great bars listed. Yet there really is much to say about a bar unless your there to experience it yourself. Its a great guide, but the reviews are a bit redundant. Not much to read, but a great guide for exploring.
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