Let it have its name. Kung Fu Necktie, like most businesses sheltered in the shadowy world beneath the Market-Frankford line, has just as much personality as the characters you often find along this trail.
The newest extension to the Fishtown-Kensington bar crawl, KFN is housed in the former Penalty Box, a locals’ pub that once crawled with blue-collars. After it served its final time, two owners from NYC's Lit Lounge struck up with a third partner and snagged the up-and-coming corner.
Artists Jimmy "Chickenhead" Herman, Erik Foss and Dave Schwartz rehabbed the dive with tables crafted from bowling alley lanes, red booths, checkered tile and a long, slick bar. For the upstairs, they're planning a gallery space, while the main floor steadies with weekend shows and DJ sets. Brews come cheap, with Philadelphia Brewing Company's Kenzinger the clear signature choice.
Placed in such a strategic location as Front and Thompson, KFN is a quick train ride, trolley hop or bike commute away. It's only a few blocks from other major bar scene destinations, perfect for that to-and-fro that an evening of vibe-chasing entails. The sass and cheek is all here, though. It'll remind you of the underground bar from Dirty Dancing, as re-imagined by the ancestors of Jules Verne. There's no single modifier for this place. Call me if you think of one.
Bathrooms are labeled—“balls” for the lads, “boobs” for the chesty. A picnic-style table is set across from a pinball machine, watched over by a large portrait of Tupac Shakur. Perhaps even holier, there's a stage in the back that doubles as both a performing space for musical acts and as a platform for the wondrous sport of bumper pool. Play something, and play it well. Stop texting. Do this bar right and act like a adventurous-tale-toting patron, and for the love of the shadow world—quit riffing on the name already.
Kung Fu Necktie
1250 N. Front St.