Nodding Head is a small brew-pub on Samson St in Center City. It is nestled in among a lot of high class eateries and city bustle, but its second floor location makes it a quiet spot to grab a unique beer and a bite.
I did not order cocktails, though through all appearances Nodding head had a full bar that looked like it was straight out of the Winchester of Shaun of the Dead fame. Nodding head is best known for being a brewpub and winning lots of awards in Philly for their beers. Holly and I both started out with their Ich Bin ein Berliner Weisse which is as they describe it “not a hefe-weizen.” It was a wheat, but had a nice bit of sour at the end and for mine I got it with the Woodruff syrup that definitely altered the flavor and made it almost taste like a hard cider.
Round 2 involved 60 Shilling for Holly and Grog for myself. Holly enjoyed the 60 Shilling Ale (a Scotch ale) and enjoyed it despite normally liking lighter (color) beers. The grog was a great english ale which is a style I have been having more and more of lately whenever I find it.
We originally decided to come to Nodding head to try their charcuterie platter, BUT SADNESS availed as they were sold out (we later found out that they no longer serve it). We still got a great meal.
Josh:Pulled Pork Sandwich
Been on a bit of a pulled pork bend lately, but summer is the season for barbecue and it was the only thing on the menu that immediately jumped out at me. The pulled pork was probably the best I’ve had this summer (tried the pulled pork at Silk City and one other place I can’t recall). The sandwich was a good since, the pork was juicy and the barbecue sauce flavorful, and best of all they didn’t go overboard with the coleslaw (bonus points for a slice of melted cheddar too!). Instead of fries, I got potato wedges and they really exceeded my expectations. They were crisp and cooked throughout and seasoned with paprika.
Holly: Moroccan Mussels
These little beauties come in either a 1/2 pot or full pot (2lb) portion. The 1/2 pot is definitely enough food for one person, as the shellfish is accompanied by bread (an appropriately sized piece, I may add) and fries in the Belgian tradition. The Moroccan Mussels are flavored with ginger, garlic, cinnamon, tomato sauce, coriander, cumin and lemon zest–a delicious flavor adventure to the Mediterranean. The mussels were cooked well, and the broth was definitely worthy of being sopped up with the provided bread. The fries were also seasoned well, but they came with a mayonnaise dipping sauce that seamed a bit heavy for the pairing. I’m not always so hot on mayo dips for fries anyway having grown up on ketchup.
In the truest spirit of the “dive”, Nodding head is an achievement of run-down chic. The bar is made to look like the stereotype of an old pub, with somewhat tattered wallpaper and lots of wood paneling. I do happen to love the church-pews for seats and the large-scale tables. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the large case of name-sake bobble heads at the top of the stairs, and the some-what visible beer stills toward the back of the dining area. Nodding Head is surprisingly large, with a side dining room for busy days and many booths for groups. It may not necessarily be beautiful to look at or innovative in design, but the space is well planned and it never feels cramped or unwelcoming.
The Overall Experience
This was our second go at the place as a couple (Holly had been many times with friends and enjoyed it, but the one time Josh went we received HORRIBLE service, to the point that Josh never wanted to go again. We did decide to give it another go as it seemed like that fateful night had to have been a fluke. To our pleasure it definitely was. Our service this time around was great–polite, fast, and accurate (even entertaining at times).
5 dollar beers and food for around 10 dollars a person makes for an affordable outing. You could find beer for cheaper elsewhere but it’ll be PBR, Kenzinger, and Yeungling (all offense meant towards PBR) whereas at Nodding head you’re getting a great selection of craft brews in varying styles.
Overall Experience: 3/5
Will We Visit Again
Nodding Head is a great place to grab lunch or dinner for around 10 bucks and is basically Good Dog Bar as a brew-pub. While not a place to wow friends and family it is a go to for beer and burgers.