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Jul 27, 2023 • Deep Dive

Spotlight On: McGillin's Olde Ale House

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McGillin's Olde Ale House isn’t your average pub, and that’s apparent to anyone once they step foot inside. It’s a historic gem in the heart of Philadelphia, PA. The bar's doors have been open since 1860 and hold the title of being the oldest continuously operating tavern, along with being the third oldest in the entire United States.

Philadelphia has undoubtedly changed throughout the years, but McGillin’s bar has remained true to its roots. The architecture of the building is timeless; large yellow windows complement the red bricks that make up the establishment. Multi-color flowers are perched on the window sill, and the neon sign “McGillin's Olde Ale House” hangs proudly from the top of the building.

The ambiance inside transports you back to the 1860s. Dark wood paneling, vintage photographs, and antique decorations adorn the walls, creating an authentic and cozy atmosphere. Whether you’re a regular coming in for their daily happy hour special, or you’re a first-timer, you’ll feel right at home. From the kind bartenders, to the attentive waitstaff, to the generous management team that took time out of their day to speak with us, McGillin's employees are the bread and butter of the restaurant.

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You know that feeling you have when you get together with an old friend for the first time in years and you pick up right where you left off? That is what stepping into McGillin’s feels like; comfort met with familiarity and charm met with nostalgia. You can tell this is a place where core memories are made.

“I’ve been here for 20 years and I still find something new hanging up on the walls every day. Every single picture holds some type of memory,” says Gabby Rubery, Manager of McGillin’s.

McGillin’s is known for being a place where people gather to celebrate milestones, big or small. From 21st birthdays, to engagement parties, to first dates, to having President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visit in 2016 during the DNC, to celebrating the Eagles winning the Superbowl in 2018, the bar is the perfect place to create a night to remember.

[Ed note: McGillin’s is also notorious for match-making. Many couples that have met at the bar are now happily married. Time to ditch the dating apps and head over to McGillin’s! The Manager, Gabby, even met her husband there.]

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“Any world series or playoff series here is just…epic. The place is packed, the energy is off the walls, we’re just so alive here. I’m still recovering from the 2018 Superbowl win,” says Gabby.

Thankfully, our team came hungry because the chef spoiled us. They served us crab cakes and mussels, both perfectly paired with a cold Cape May Orange Crushin’ It and Bay Daze. The food and beers at McGillin’s will not disappoint and the menu has an array of choices.

“If it’s not Orange Crushin’ It or Bay Daze that people love, it’s Coastal Evacuation”, says Gabby. “Right now, we have Orange Crushin’ It and Bay Daze on tap. They’re two great summer beers.”

Orange Crushin’ It is our OG Crushin’ It. It’s made with Citra, Mosaic, and Azacca hops, which are blended together to accentuate the flavors of fresh orange juice.

Bay Daze is one of our sour beers. Its light body and tart profile make it refreshing, with notes of cherry and lime showcasing what vacation should taste like.

[Ed note: The weather is going to be HOT this week. We’re talking TOO hot to even go to the beach. What better way to spend a 95° and sunny day than at McGillin’s drinking an ice-cold Cape May Beer?]

We sat down with the Owner, Chris Mullins to chat with him about McGillin’s and why he loves working at this Philadelphia institution.

“It’s tradition. It’s when people come through and they say “Oh my god, I haven’t been here since 1952 and it feels exactly the same” or when you hear stories about how a kid goes home for Thanksgiving and tells his family “I found the coolest bar in Center City in Philadelphia called McGillin’s” and his grandparents say they met there,” says Owner Chris Mullins. “It’s great that we’re the cool place for young people today and we also were 70 years ago for an entirely different generation.”

It’s true, McGillin’s is that cool spot to go to. Whether you’re staying out until 1:00 am on a Saturday or enjoying lunch with your family on a Wednesday afternoon, it’s a place that can be something for everyone.

“We evolve with families as they age,” says Chris. “You might have started off by coming to McGillin’s while you were in college, and then that turned into happy hours after work, and then that turned into coming for lunch with your three kids. We love being a spot that people can always come to, no matter where they are in their life.”

If you’re in the Philadelphia area this weekend, make sure to stop by McGillin’s! Enjoy one of our Cape May Beers on tap and indulge in some delicious food. Who knows – you might just meet the love of your life.