Tuesday, September 24 2019 11:37

Phoenixville: Dawn to Dusk

Written by Carol Metzker

Jog, meander or bike up Phoenixville’s Bridge Street. It’s hopping everywhere you look.

Images courtesy Mercedes Thomas


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Young professionals and empty nesters are flocking to Phoenixville because of the town’s easy lifestyle. Millennials are scaling the climbing wall at The Point, enjoying car-free pub crawls and chilling at the annual Phoenixville VegFest.

No longer flying south to escape snow shovels and summer lawnmowers, retirees are staying put near family and friends in Phoenix Village and picking up novels at the new book store.

They come for fun. They stay, say some, because of each other. The mix of generations is creating a strong community spirit.


Starting Out

Steel City Coffee House & Brewery

To experience Phoenixville’s fun from different perspectives, my 20-something-year-old companion and I (admittedly around double that) parked the car and started walking.

Our first stop: local favorite Steel City Coffee House & Brewery. Our fellow coffee drinkers at the café included a young man clicking away at his laptop, parents with strollers and older shoppers taking a break.

I asked co-owner Laura Vernola which features attract younger and older patrons. Was it the handcrafted food, including a shelf of vegan baked goodies? Its third wave coffee with artisanal sourcing, roasting and blending? The new in-house nano-brewed beer (think micro-micro-brewed) and live entertainment ranging from a Philadelphia Main Line Ukulele Group concert to Sunday afternoon poetry slam?

“Both groups say it’s the community aspect,” she said. “They like that Steel City is a community hub for every generation.”

Besides the news that Steel City is no longer BYOB—now serving their own Steel Mill Stout, Maple Springs Vineyard wines and Manatawny Still Works spirits—the coffeehouse and brewery has mega plans for a Collegeville location associated with Ursinus College. Still an artistic community hub, Phoenixville will be the smaller satellite site.


Signs of the Time

As we strolled we continued window shopping and stopping whenever something caught our eye or tempted our tastebuds. Sadly, we were too early for a show at the Colonial Theater.

Reads & Company Bookshop

The new Reads & Company Bookshop drew us in with their sidewalk sign, “A Day Without Books is Like … Just Kidding! We have no idea.” The curated collection of books for sale was as divine as the atmosphere—ornate ceiling, sensational lighting and, at the back, a space where the young at heart can sit inside a rocket ship to get lost in a book.

Down the street, the chalkboard sign at the door of Vintner’s Table, “Wine and Gelato,” had me at the get-go. What kind of wine does go with gelato?

Inside, the shop’s marble counter, long wooden tables and white brick fireplace that could all have been in Tuscany left me lingering. The hazelnut gelato imported from Italy—a delight to both of us—and the lure of pairing events such as cannoli, gelato or cupcakes and wine caused a return visit.

This tasting room was opened in January by the Folino Estate Winery, a vineyard and restaurant in Berks County owned by the Folino family. The answer to the wine and gelato question, by the way is … any kind you like, but Vintner’s Table’s recommendation is sparkling red or dolce bianco.


Good Living

Offering quick, easy access between home and shops, services, restaurants and bars are Phoenixville’s new luxury apartments. Young professionals working from home or shared offices at WorkSpace on Bridge Street and older jetsetters who need access to larger cities without living in one can choose from The Point at Phoenixville or Phoenix Village.

The Point at Phoenixville, formerly Riverworks, offers amenities coveted by both age groups: dog spa, work-out room, pool, grilling stations and more. What they don’t have inside the complex—and they’re not missing much—is accessible by foot at the center of town just minutes away.

Phoenix Village boasts of residents ages 21 to 80+. One step out its front door and they’re on Bridge Street where umpteen awesome options for food and entertainment await. On the other hand, staying at home there is fun—pool parties and popular, holiday ugly sweater contests bring together multi-generational residents who have forged strong friendships.

Continuing our tour of the town, the Eco-Store captured our attention with sustainable and resource-saving products. My friend hovered over plant-based cellphone covers and glass and stainless steel straws. I left the shop with a wooden drying rack and small whisk broom like my grandmother had—useful no matter your age.


Dawn, Dusk and Midnight

What might be Phoenixville’s most talked about attribute is its vast list of places to imbibe. There are restaurants and bars to meet anyone’s taste from breakfast to midnight snacks.

We chose a spot at one of the newer additions to the scene, Sedona Taphouse, and headed for the deck overlooking Bridge Street. Packed on weekends, it has an outdoor bar, two flat-screen televisions and fire pits to light up cool nights.

From the Southwest-inspired menu, I selected a seafood and avocado sandwich and bright pink cactus lemonade. My companion dug into the Beyond Burger with all the trimmings on a gluten-free bun, which she said was definitely “on point” as the best veggie burger she’d had. She also tried a $2 four-ounce beer—perfect for light lunches or when sampling a few. It was thumbs up for Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ Sips of Sunshine, a slightly fruity, slightly tangy double IPA.

Long after morning larks have turned in and families playing with giant Jenga blocks have gone home, night owls are at Bistro on Bridge. At 10 p.m. or later, take the staircase past the tap handle-chandelier to the Analog Room, where the garage door opens to the outdoor rooftop bar. Its parked vintage VW bus—whose journey by crane to the building top created a buzz—might no longer roll but it still rocks. Now the 20s and 30s crowds pick up canned beer from the bus, kick back at picnic tables and listen to live music or tunes from a vinyl collection once treasured by boomers.


And Old Favorites


Every trip to Phoenixville should include stops at old favorites as well as the latest things—that’s what keeps folks coming back for more.

A must stop before its December 7 closing this year is beloved Majolica, the place that started the restaurant renaissance in Phoenixville about 15 years ago. Chef/owner Andrew Deery is hanging up his apron, so make sure to have a last meal there. Or a first, if you haven’t had the pleasure.

Another early mainstay includes a branch of Iron Hill Brewery at the opposite end of Bridge Street from Majolica. Iron Hill was among the first spots to grab a beer in this town, now so well known for topping the national charts with breweries per capita.

Iron Hill Brewery

And for an authentic Irish pub experience, head for Molly Maguire’s—one of the first authentic Irish pubs in the area. You’ll find three floors and three patios filled with good cheer—great food, full bar, plenty of craft beer—even when it’s not St. Patrick’s Day.

And for your chocolate fix, Bridge Street Chocolates has gourmet goodies galore.

Whether you’re a millennial or a boomer and your quest is for hot coffee and croissants at dawn or cool open-mic jazz and cold brew at dusk at a place that’s brand new or an old favorite, the town named after the firebird is soaring.

For more on Phoenixville, check out PhoenixvilleFirst.org.


Whet Your Whistle in Phoenixville

Come thirsty and often to Phoenixville, and visit its extraordinary variety of breweries, taprooms, bottleshops, distilleries and more. The range of choices is staggering … and enticing. We took a look and found a few places of note … just to get you started.



Crowded Castle Brewing Company–Check out their quality craft beers brewed on-site, along with ciders, wine and craft liqueurs made in Pennsylvania. Their Oktoberfest Märzen is a hit and perfect for the season. 240-242 Bridge St. CrowdedCastle.com.

Iron Hill Brewery–It’s that time of year … for Pumpkin Ale … and Hipster IPA. Or try the Philly Special IPA paired with Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls. Does it get any better or more local? 130 Bridge St. IronHillBrewery.com.

Rebel Hill–While they focus on IPA, saison and stout, they appreciate and brew all styles. On the menu: Time Rider, a West Coast-style IPA; The Anniversary, an imperial chocolate stout; and Human Qualities, a pink guava sour IPA. 420 Schuylkill Rd. RebelHillBrewing.com.

Root Down Brewing Company–A really cool space serving great beer and great food, plus wine and ciders. Try the award-winning Bine IPA, Hoppy Digital unfiltered pale ale, and Grit, an American grassroots lager. Cheers! 1 N. Main St. RootDownBrewing.com.

Sly Fox Brewing Company–It’s all about the beer here, and they’ve crafted more than 100 varieties since 1995. Try Pikeland Pils, a German-style pilsner; O’Reilly’s Stout, an Irish-style dry stout; or Rt. 113 IPA, an India pale ale. 520 Kinberton Rd. SlyFoxBeer.com.

Stable 12 Brewery–Enjoy a pint or grab a flight with one of these: Stable Hand, a blend of fresh kettle sour with saison, or the new “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”-themed beer and New England-styled IPA, called Dayman. 368 Bridge St. Stable12.com.

Steel City Coffee House & Brewery–Their new nano-brews are a steady rotation of three varieties, some incorporating their renowned coffee. Also serving Maple Springs Vineyard wines and Manatawny Still Works whiskey, gin and vodka. 203 Bridge St. SteelCityCoffeeHouse.com.


Taprooms, Bottleshops, Distilleries & More

Bistro on Bridge–Their “Crafty Draft List” not only carries a diverse selection of craft beers, but an assortment of wines and cocktails on draft as well. The Analog Room is a funky roof-top beer garden overlooking the heart of downtown. 208-212 Bridge St. BistroOnBridge.com.

The Foodery–Lots of bottled beer as well as 17 beer tap lines with “Pegas” Growler fillers, two draft wine lines, a nitro beer line, nitro coffee line and draft kombucha line. 325 Bridge St. FooderyBeer.com.

Molly Maguire’s

Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant & Pub–Their Draft Board has rotating seasonals as well as Dogfish 60 Minute IPA, Harp Lager, Magners Irish Cider and more. 197 Bridge St. MollyMaguiresPhoenixville.com.

Rec Room–One of the locations for Conshohocken Brewing Co., now pouring: Blood Money Blood Orange IPA, Puddlers Row Extra Special Bitter and Sly Fox saison Vos to name just a few. 230 Bridge St. ConshohockenBrewing.com/RecRoomMain.

Sedona Taphouse–Extensive craft beer lineup, beers on tap, plus wine, spirits and food at this new addition. Current draft list includes Mango Cart Fruit Beer, Poplar Pils German Pilsner and Pacífico Clara American Lager. 131 Bridge St. SedonaTaphouse.com.

Bluebird Distilling–The main location and working distillery plus cocktail bar. All their spirits are made from scratch here—whiskey, gin, vodka, bourbon, rum—you name it. And the cocktail program mixes classic methods with new age innovation. 100 Bridge St. BluebirdDistilling.com.


Phoenixville Events

Phoenixville Food Truck Festival 2019
October 5
Over 30 food trucks plus other vendors. Main & Bridge Sts. Free parking with free shuttle. Noon to 6 pm. PhoenixvilleFirst.org.

Phoenixville Kiwanis KidsFest
October 5
Entertainment, food, family selfie booth, scarecrow contest and prizes. Reeves Park, 2nd Ave., 8 to 3. Phoenixvillekiwanis.org

The Colonial Theatre
October 3–December 14
Point Entertainment Presents … Oct. 3, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Oct. 24, Mat Kearney, “City of Black And White Revisited Acoustic Tour;” Dec. 14, A Night with The Lovemaster Craig Shoemaker. On Oct. 4, Joe Bob Briggs presents “How Rednecks Saved Hollywood” Live; Oct. 11, Found Footage Festival with Joe Pickett (The Onion) and Nick Prueher (Late Show with David Letterman). 227 Bridge St. 610-917-1228; TheColonialTheatre.com.

Phoenixville Pumpkinfest
October 19
Derby races, a carnival, crafts, live music and more. Crawl the town sampling pumpkin treats and products from local businesses, carve a mini-pumpkin, or compete in a pie eating contest. Bridge & Main Sts. 10:30 to 4. 484-928-0562; PhoenixvillePumpkinFest.com.

Halloween Parade & Trunk or Treat
October 23
Come downtown for the festivities which begin at 6. 610-933-8801; Phoenixville.org.

33rd Annual Phoenixville Run
October 26
A 5k and 10k course where costumes and leashed dogs are welcome. Free post-race refreshments for runners. Benefits Citizen Advocacy of Chester County. Reeves Park, 2nd Ave. & Main St. 8:30. $30–$35. PhoenixvilleChamber.org.

Fall Festival at Phoenixville Hospital
October 26
Lots of activities for kids, free health screenings, DaVinci Robot, music, food and fun. Hospital parking lot, 140 Nutt Rd. TowerHealth.org.

Theatre Organ Society of DE Valley
October 27, November 17, December 1
Oct. 27, Halloween Silent Movie, “The Golem” with Wayne Zimmerman; Nov. 17, concert with Ron Rhode; Dec. 1, Holiday Concert. The Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St. 2 pm. $5–$10. 610-917-1228; TOSDV.org.

Phoenixville Harvest Festival
October 31–November 3
Fun all weekend long: night market on Thursday, then a craft carnival, movie in Reeves Park, haunted tours, beer garden, pet parade and pet day and more. Held throughout town. Info at PhoenixvilleHarvestFestival.com.

“Empty Bowls” Event
November 1
Buy soup and bread served in a bowl handcrafted by an area artist and help fight hunger. Benefits PACS. Technical College High School, Pickering Campus, Charlestown Rd. 4:30 to 7:30. 610-933-1105; PACSPhx.org.

Phoenixville Bed Races
November 2
Teams build a bed on wheels and race down 3rd Ave. to win the title of “Fastest Bed,” raising funds and awareness for organizations that provide a bed for the homeless: Ann’s Heart, Good Samaritan Services and Phoenixville Women’s Outreach. PXVBedRaces.org.

Phoenixville’s Wine, Wit & Wisdom
November 7
The annual library benefit. Wine tasting, dinner, silent auction and popular guest speakers (tbd). Rivercrest Golf Club & Preserve, 100 Golf Club Dr. 5:45 to 9. 610-933-3013, ext. 131; PhoenixvilleLibrary.org.

Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce 2019 Charity Gala, “Roaring 20s”
November 23
Dinner, dancing and silent auction with great items. Benefits Barnstone Art for Kids. Rivercrest Golf Club & Preserve, 100 Golf Club Dr. 5:30. Visit website to register. 610-933-3070; PhoenixvilleChamber.org.

Holiday Parade & Winter Shopping Market
December 6
A new tradition this year—the Winter Wonderland Village in the Main & Bridge Street Parking Lot. Starting at 5 pm, visitors can holiday shop, grab a snack and watch the parade, 7 pm, starting on the 200 block of Bridge St. Tree lighting follows. 610-933-2154; PhoenixvilleFirst.org.

Annual Candlelight Holiday Tour
December 7
Decorated homes and churches, crafts, music, refreshments. Benefits Ann’s Heart Code Blue Shelter and Firebird Theatre. $25. 3 to 7. Details 610-933-9181;

Santa House
December 7–22, weekends
Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Phoenixville, Santa will be visiting his Phoenixville house every weekend in December leading up to Christmas.

16th Annual Firebird Festival
December 7
Burning of the Firebird at Veteran’s Park, 192 Mowere Rd. 4 to 11 pm. 610-933-9199; FirebirdFestival.com.

Illuminaria Shopping Night
December 11
A night of shopping illuminated by the soft glow of holiday luminaria. PhoenixvilleFirst.org.

A Taste of Phoenixville
January 16, 2020
A premier food, wine, beer event. Live music. Benefits the Good Samaritan Shelter. Franklin Commons, 400 Franklin Ave. 6 to 10. 610-933-9305;

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