A South Philadelphia corner bar has a certain atmosphere that is matched by few other establishments. It’s a place to wind down from the stress of the day, have a beer and talk or maybe yell about the stories of the day. These are places like Sam Malone’s fictional bar “Cheers” “where everybody knows your name” and regulars are greeted with joyful but sometimes unsavory language. Readers’ Choice award winner for best bar Stogie Joe’s Tavern, 1801 E Passyunk Ave, prides itself on combining the welcoming feeling of a corner bar with the selection of a tap room, and the food of a high end restaurant.
Stogie’s wide variety of beer is a constant draw to those yearning for hoppy goodness, and the man to thank for introducing the Southside to their new favorite craft beer is manager Joey DiOrio.
“I work with our sales rep, I search beeradvocate.com a lot and ratebeers.com and our bartenders will go out to other bars and text me if something’s really good. But also you have to be diverse; you got to make sure you have a porter, an IPA, a stout, just try to have a selection,” DiOrio said in commenting on his bunch of brews.
Crescenzo Ciliberto, affectionately called “Chris Chill” by his friends and people that cannot pronounce his name, has been a vital part of the Leuzzi family-owned business working in the kitchen since the start of Stogie Joe’s Tavern in 2008. While the East Passyunk Avenue bar is still young compared to other establishments, Stogie’s has racked up an impressive amount of awards in its short time. Ciliberto credits the Leuzzi brothers for the early success as he said, “Hard work will always get it done and nothing was given to them, everybody works hard.”
The tavern’s kitchen also thrives on its ability to cook simple bar food like burgers and sandwiches and also home-cooked favorites like meatballs and crab gravy. Ciliberto believes his South Philly upbringing fostered his culinary talent, as he said “We are fortunate to grow up in South Philly; we grew up eating well.”
Brothers’ Two raised a glass in second-place, while Rosewood bought a round in third. — J.F.