Best of 2014: Kate Bracaglia’s top 5 post-show brunch spots in Philly
Brunch at South Philly’s Cantina Los Caballitos (photo via the author’s Instagram: @BookishKate)

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, Key contributor Kate Bracaglia shares her favorite post-concert eateries of the year.

Live music and brunch are two things I take very seriously (as anyone stalking my Instagram might discover). There are few things I love less than being front and center at a show, feeling the vibrations wash over my entire body…except for perhaps a perfect omelet and a Bloody Mary.

On weekends when I’m NOT recovering from a post-show hangover (I swear there are some!) I’m flexible about my brunch options. Need me to wake up early to beat the crowds at Sabrina’s or Green Eggs? I’m down. Want to soak up rays while waiting for our table in Morning Glory’s “spillover” garden? Hand me my shades. Feel like classing it up for the Center City crowd at Parc or Kanella? I have just the sundress in mind.

But for the morning after a show, when your head is a little fuzzy and you need coffee, stat, I have a different game plan in mind. I need someplace unpretentious and not too crowded, where I don’t need to wait for a table and the eggs are cooked in a little extra grease. And god help us if they don’t serve alcohol (because how else are you supposed to quell your hangover??)

This year, brunching for me was a mix of discovering new places and revisiting old faves—especially after a night of partying. Here are my top 5 post-show brunch spots of 2014—check them out, but please, save me a spot at the bar.

5. Johnny Brenda’s

Low Cut Connie at Johnny Brenda's (via @BookishKate's Instagram)

Low Cut Connie at Johnny Brenda’s (via @BookishKate’s Instagram)

I frequently joke that it’s a good thing I don’t live in Fishtown, or I’d be at Johnny Brenda’s every weekend. I’m still there way too often and while in general, I’m more likely to show up for a show early and chow down on mussels and Cubano sandwiches beforehand—I remember one particular punk show this past winter where I maybe raged too hard, and in the process, lost nearly my entire purse contents, including my keys (don’t ask how I made it home that night). Luckily JBs is nothing if not reliable and the next morning I called and was able to retrieve all my stuff—and chow down on something called an Eggs Benedict Burger at the same time. It tasted even better knowing I could now get into my home.

1201 N. Frankford Ave., Fishtown

4. Cantina Los Caballitos

Yet another delicious Cantina Brunch (via @BookishKate's Instagram)

Yet another delicious Cantina Brunch (via @BookishKate’s Instagram)

Cantina is a South Philly staple and would probably be higher on my list if I didn’t drop over $100 on margaritas and Blood Marias every time I visit. The food is excellent—I refuse to order Huevos Rancheros anywhere else in the city because I know it won’t compare—and those free chips and salsa they give you are basically designed to zap post-drinking stasis. The dining room is warm and cozy and the outdoor patio the best spot for people watching on EPA (plus you can hide your sleepy eyes behind sunglasses). And while I admit I probably went to Cantina about 4375987987 times last year—my very best memory involves rolling in covered in bruises after seeing The Black Lips, and making bad jokes about blacks bean in my lips (yes, I am a total cheeseball). The last time I went here I sat next to Thurston Moore. My NoLibs friends swear Dos Segundos is just as good, but I am partial to the original.

1651 E. Passyunk Ave., South Philly

3. Silk City

The outdoor garden at Silk City (via @BookishKate's instagram)

The outdoor garden at Silk City (via @BookishKate’s instagram)

For a couple months during winter ’06, Silk City was the place to be, and I remember wearing my very best Urban Outfitters swag to dance and drink PBR. These days, I’m too old for PBR (i.e., I’m of legal drinking age) and for the most part, SC nights are not really my scene. But Silk City in the a.m.? Dream come true. The pork belly hash and smothered chicken and waffles are the type of entrees I literally dream about and their Bloodies are spot-on. And while my fave time to visit is in the summer, when you can lounge in their magical, Disneyland-esque garden (like after this year’s XPoNential Festival)—there’s also something vaguely satisfying about pulling up a chair in the lounge, knowing full-well that 9 hours ago someone was probably gyrating against this, and feeling glad your night ended better. Also the bathrooms rule.

435 Spring Garden St., Northern Liberties

2. Melrose Diner

Morning hangover cures at Melrose (via @BookishKate's instagram)

Morning hangover cures at Melrose (via @BookishKate’s instagram)

Yes, I know—I swore above no picks that don’t serve booze, but the Melrose is a special, special place that deserves an exception. A diner in the old-school sense of the word, Melrose is filled with stackable plastic drink cups and a million types of pie and regulars in sweatpants that have been coming there since the ‘70s and waitresses that call you “hon.” It’s also the very best place to drown your hangover in unlimited coffee and omelets as big as your head. After this year’s Made in America festival—when the thought of looking remotely presentable seemed too much to bear—Melrose was my destination, and it fit the bill. No one looked at me weird for having gross, unwashed hair and by the third cup of coffee I was almost ready to head back out into the fray.

1501 Snyder Ave., South Philly

1. The POPE

Comfort food at The POPE (via @BookishKate's instagram)

Comfort food at The POPE (via @BookishKate’s instagram)

In all fairness, The POPE is one of my favorite bars in Philly to go to any time, because it’s close to my house and that perfect mix of comfortable but still quality. For brunch, they open at 11 am, which means I can stumble outta bed late after raging at JBs or Boot & Saddle and still get a seat at the bar. And while the food at The POPE is never exquisite—this is basic bar food, sans hype or trendy ingredients—it’s always just right. Also, $4 Blood Marys!! But really makes this place great is the staff, and the soundtrack. They have Guided by Voices on the jukebox, and one time, on a snowy Sunday in the middle of the winter, they played an entire Kurt Vile record from start to finish. Waking up at The POPE, I know the rest of my day will rule. See you there this weekend, Philly!

1501 E. Passyunk Ave., South Philly

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