The Royal Tavern, at 937 E. Passyunk Ave, is owned by the folks who own the Khyber in Old City and the pair of Cantinas, one in Northern Liberties one in South Philly. We used to go to the Royal Tavern more often before some of the pubs near our house opened or became known to us. It's presence was one of the reasons we chose the location of our house; cool pubs with great, affordable food within walking distance. They have a small but thoughtful beerlist with about 8 taps and perhaps 30 bottles. The draft list last night included Yards ESA, Golden Draak, and the one my wife and I both chose, Arcadia Ales' Whitsun, which our server described as an English wheat with honey and some hoppiness. It was a delightful summery type beer. Our server was very friendly, by the way, but we don't go to the Royal Tavern for the service--which in my past experience has been provided by slow and aloof hipsters--or the beer--the South Philly Taproom has a much better and bigger list. We go for the Royal angus burger, which they claim is the best in Philly. I for one, will not argue.
A well seasoned 8 ounce patty well proportioned to the decent roll it comes on, this carnivore's delight is topped with smoked gouda, long hot peppers, chile mayo, and bacon. It comes with amazing fries and a delicious malt vineger aioli for dipping. I can't tell you how fantastic this burger is. For me, it's better than Jose Garces's Village Whisky King burger and also much cheaper, at $10 including the fries vs. Whisky King at $26 and no fries. Even Village Whisky's cheaper burgers without foie gras will run you at least $16 with fries, and 2 more bucks for the Sly Fox dipping sauce. But I digress. The Royal Tavern burger is so addictive, I had a burger on Friday night at Eulogy (see previous post) and still couldn't pass it up. It's salty, spicy, smoky, fresh, juicy, an orgy for the taste buds, if you will. I only have two issues with it. I ordered it medium rare and it was cooked unevenly, it was medium rare in parts but some bites were more like medium well. I haven't had this problem in the past, though. Also, the long hots. As my grandpop says, "I like them but they don't like me."
Their other food is solid, too, e.g. they do decent brunch stuff and the meatloaf sandwich is fun, but if you are able to go only once, please order the burger.