Brick & Mortar, otherwise known as BAM, is a gastropub serving classic American fare, craft beer, and cocktails in the Callowhill/Center City area. The architecture and decor is cool, hip, or whatever the appropriate word is in this situation. (The windows could seriously use a cleaning though.) They have those unisex bathrooms with shared sinks that people seem to like. The Old Fashioned is a killer too. I saw a few of my friends order those back to back at our dinner last night.
Since I’m not a whiskey girl, I’ll focus on the food. Spoilers: The food is good for a pub, but average at best for a restaurant. The menu is boring and unimaginative. I tried their daily beef noodle soup, which was mostly spaghetti pasta in a nondescript broth with some chunks of beef. They should have called it leftover pasta in surprise. The tuna tartare was sweet, with hints of spice, and priced accordingly. I tried someone’s fish and chips and found the homemade chips (potato chips, not fries) overtly salty. The fish was coated in olive seasoning, which I am unreasonably bias against so I won’t count it against them.
Our hostess and server were very nice. Their politeness and professionalism, along with some of the prices made BAM seem like it could pass as an upscale restaurant.
Now that I have done my fare share of what one might call a review, let me get to my true intention, which I will call a restaurant rant review (or RRR for short). The bartender was extremely rude to me. I did not complain to the manager or whatever because who wants to be one of those? It was not the fault of BAM that I experienced such unpleasantries anyhow.
I’ll now get on my soapbox for therapeutic reasons. I added this little story to a Yelp review as well:
I asked to to pay for my drink when the bartender looked at me sternly and snapped, “No! Right at this very second?” I was confused by the sarcastic tone and timidly replied, “No, not this very second.” I half expected him to smile or laugh, but he was serious and walked away coldly and served drinks to some other people. I realized he was probably in the middle of a lot of drink orders. I tried to let that sink in. I just caught him at a bad time, in the middle of a thought perhaps. Maybe he thought I was interrupting him, which was not my intention. I only ordered 1 drink and was hoping to just pay for it whenever, since I was standing around anyway. There were about 15 people at the bar, half of which were my friends as we were waiting to be seated for dinner. The atmosphere seemed positive and quiet, but perhaps the bartender was having an especially stressful day. He continued to be quite cold and angry, but did eventually come to take my money. At that point, I had retreated away from the bar a little because I was afraid he would snap at me again. There was another bartender there, who seemed really nice.
It probably shouldn’t have bothered me as much as it did. I probably wouldn’t have taken it to heart if someone had snapped at me in a South Philly corner bar.
Let’s recap a little here. I can see someone coming to BAM for a couple of drinks or a quick bite if they are in the neighborhood. Why my friends chose to come here for a formal birthday dinner, I’m unsure. The food is unimaginatively, plainly American fare. They do have the space to accommodate large parties and some skillfully crafted cocktails, which is nice. There are plenty of restaurants in the area that surpass BAM in terms of quality and service.
Take my restaurant rant reviews with a grain of salt.