TableTalk: Have a beer by the bell

The upstairs bar at Masters in North Philadelphia.
The upstairs bar at Masters in North Philadelphia.
Posted: July 11, 2014

Next week, perhaps Tuesday, should see the opening of Independence Beer Garden, an ingenious use of the vast outdoor space ringing Dow Chemical's headquarters at Sixth and Market Streets, across from the Liberty Bell (215-922-7100). It's the old longtime home of Rohm & Haas.

Michael Schulson, who owns Center City's Sampan and Atlantic City's Izakaya, commissioned Groundswell Design Group's David Fierabend to landscape the 20,000 square feet with trees, ivy-covered pergolas, two large bars (40 taps), picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, fire pits, a projection TV under cover, and games. He is going for a laid-back atmosphere.

Top Chef alum Travis Masar will offer an American menu from lunchtime through late night.

What's new

The rowhouses around Temple University are teeming with students. What was for many years a decrepit, stucco-faced warehouse on Carlisle Street just south of Oxford, basically around the corner from the Pearl movie theater, has been turned into a bar. Masters (1535 N. Carlisle St., 215-787-9933), opening Friday, becomes effectively only the fourth Temple bar (after Draught Horse Pub, Pub Webb, and Maxi's). The first floor is pure college bar: 20 seats at the bar, plus table seating, in a vaguely industrial-looking room with multiple TVs and a cherry-red bar wall. The second floor has what owner Waylon Nelson (backed by Danny Govberg, Joe Byrne, and Robert Beggs) calls "the Study," a lounge with comfy seating for afternoons and early evenings. There's a second 20-seat bar plus table seating up there, too. It will be open from lunchtime through late night daily.

What's coming

Sal Kucuk of Leziz Turkish Cuisine, on East Passyunk Avenue just off South Street, is fixing up 216-218 South St. as a new location, effective Aug. 23. Kucuk says he will get better visibility and more space; the liquor license had been used by the property's short-lived predecessor, Mixed Plate. Kucuk is not saying what will become of the current location, at 611 E. Passyunk Ave., which opened five years ago as S&H Kebab House.

Briefly noted

The Philadelphia-shot episode of Frankenfood, the reality series featuring Tony Luke Jr. and chef Josh Capon, will appear at 10:30 p.m. Sunday on Spike. On the show, home cooks create tasty dishes by assembling disparate ingredients. Fusion, if you will. Each episode's winner gets $10,000.

Core de Roma, on South Street near Second Street, has closed after nine years. Its West Chester location remains.

Crumbs Bake Shop, the nation's largest cupcake bakery, announced the closing of all of its four dozen stores, including its last Philadelphia-area outpost - a stand at Cherry Hill Mall. Meanwhile, Bally's Atlantic City has opened Boardwalk Cupcakes, featuring sweets from its executive pastry chef and - ahem - chief cupcake officer, Deborah Pellegrino. It's set up on the Boardwalk outside the casino.


More restaurant news at www.philly.com/mike.

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