With its historical homes and family friendly nature, Fairmount embodies the Danish idea of hygge (pronounced who-guh). Roughly translating to coziness or the creation of a warm atmosphere, this idea was the jumping off point for an inviting new bar, restaurant and brewery on Fairmount Avenue.
After a few bottles of wine, two restaurant running couples and friends, Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver of Mount Airy’s Earth Bread + Brewery and Julie and Stew Keener, owners of Conshohocken’s Baggataway Tavern, decided to collaborate on the concept at 1720 Fairmount.
Now the raw space has been kitted out with a whiskey barrel-lined walls, a cozy lounge, bar and dining room, as well as a sizable brewery for Baker to work his magic.
“Tom never brews the same beer twice,” Julie Keener says. “He has complete freedom to do whatever her wants back there and we’ll supplement it with guest beers. For all intents and purposes we are a brewpub but we consider ourselves a restaurant that just happens to have really good beer. You’re not going to come here and always find the same line up of an IPA, a lager and a stout.”
Known for his esoteric brewing style, Baker’s draft list includes rarely seen styles like a Baltic porter brewed with sweet-tart balsamic, and a house pale ale dry hopped with heady Amarillo hops. Six house beers are joined by four guest taps hosting local brews from PBC and some West Coast favorites via San Diego’s Alesmith. Behind the bar there’s also a focus on locally distilled spirits and small production wines.
Tapping chef Chris Galbraith, a New York import was a natural move for this beer-centric spot. “When I first got into cooking my dream was to own my own brewpub,” Galbraith explains. But it’s his fine dining background combined with a few years spent in commissary kitchens that sets his menu apart from other pubs in town.
With customizable boards featuring house-cured meats, locally sourced cheeses and vegetable options that bypass the pedestrian pickle, Galbraith’s opening line up caters to curious carnivores and adventurous vegans alike.
His wings are a take on chicken and waffles, dredged in waffle batter, tempura fried and finished with house hot sauce and maple syrup; and his sliders are made meatless with smoked mushrooms and a mayo-less slaw on housemade buns.
Plates are sharable, beers come in two sizes for sampling and the TV-free space is designed to promote togetherness, a hygge philosophy that’s welcome in this close-knit community.