If you subscribe to my weekly newsletter, you’d already know that McGillin’s Olde Ale House has re-released its commemorative 1860 IPA. The unfiltered ale, brewed by Stoudt’s, was first released in 2010 to mark the 150th anniversary of McGillin’s, the oldest continuously operated tavern in Philadelphia.
Now, it’s being brought back to mark the 25th year of McGillin’s ownership by Mary Ellen and Chris Mullins Sr.
To officially mark its rebirth, I’ll join the crew at McGillin’s on Thursday, Aug. 9 for a re-release party, along with a very special guest: the first lady of craft brewing, Carol Stoudt.
It’s a free event, and both Carol and I will be on hand from 6-8 p.m. to chat about beer and other fun stuff. And, you can grab a bottle of 1860 IPA for just $3.50, or enjoy it on draft.
This should be a fun night, and a worthy occasion. After all, McGillin’s is a city institution that’s been around longer than City Hall. And the Mullins family has done a fine job maintaining the place and decking it out with all kinds of Philly memorabilia.
The bar is at 1310 Drury Street, a tiny block just south of Chestnut that runs from 13th to Juniper.
There’s a full history of the place here, but check out this abbreviated lineage:
1860 – Irish immigrants Catherine and William McGillin open the Bell in Hand Tavern.
1871 – Date of earliest liquor license, now displayed above the bar.
1876 – John Wanamaker’s opens one block north (now Macy’s). Its sign now hangs inside the bar.
1901 – William McGillin dies, Ma McGillin takes over bar.
1910 – Bar celebrates its 50th anniversary, changes name to McGillin’s Olde Ale House.
1921-33 – Prohibition enforced. McGillin’s hires chef and serves food.
1937 – Ma McGillin dies at 90. City streets jammed for huge funeral. Her daughter, Mercedes McGillin Hooper, one of the 13 children who grew up in the room above the tavern, runs the Ale House with her nephew, Doc.
1958 – Brothers Henry Spaniak & Joe Shepaniak (they spelled it differently) buy the bar from the McGillin family.
1971 – Tennessee Williams visits the bar.
1978 – Joe Sixpack drinks at McGillin’s for the first time. Gets lost on Drury Street.
1993 – Bar sold to Henry’s daughter, Mary Ellen, and her husband, Chris Mullins Sr.
2006 – Son Chris Mullins Jr. joins his parents in operating the bar.
2010 – Bar marks its 150th anniversary during Philly Beer Week, with a visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales.
2016 – Vice President Joe Biden visits bar during Democratic National Convention.