Searching Google to find an appropriate picture for this blog entry breaks my heart. I type in “Brittingham’s” and before I can finish what I want to look for, the words “sold” and “closed” pop up. I have many pictures of my own, but most are from so long ago that I can’t even log onto Facebook and grab them off one of my albums.
I first learned about the new ownership and renovations of my favorite pub back in February when I asked Jamison if they’d be back there anytime soon. “I hear they’re closing,” someone said that night. Yes, they did just close a few days ago but they’ll be open again in August apparently. With a brand new layout and new owners. My little pub with chocolate/banana liqueur drinks and personal memories bursting through their walls will no longer exist. It took me a while to write this because I wanted to point out some of my favorite times at Brittingham’s. But, I can’t think of any that aren’t too incriminating to anyone.
The first time I came the pub in Plymouth Meeting was 2004. The Glengarry Bhoys were playing and I was so excited to finally check out this venue where so many of the bands I know perform. It was small and crowded, but we always managed to reserve a great table anytime we showed up there. I made plenty of friends just by attending shows at Brittingham’s- a lot of the tables were long/community style and more often than not, you ended up sitting with someone you didn’t know. And the next time I showed up, I’d be sure to invite that person to sit with me.
“Hey, we have a table at Britt’s for (insert band name here), wanna sit with us?” A phrase I said countless times.
I’ve see the Bhoys there, Brother, Seven Nations, Scythian, Searson, Seamus Kennedy, The High Kings and Greenwich Meantime. And even though I live in the area now, I’ve also seen the inside of every hotel in the area because some nights my friends and I were just too tired to drive back to York. Yeah…York, PA. About two hours from Plymouth Meeting. But, we never missed a Britt’s show and as soon as I spotted the Lukoil gas station at the corner of Germantown Pike and Chemical Road, I knew we were close to the pub. It was time to freshen up my makeup and make sure I had deodorant on. There would be plenty of dancing to be had as soon as someone handed me a shot of whiskey…and someone always did.
When I moved to the Philly area, one of the selling points was how close my apartment would be to Brittingham’s. Bonus points- with no car, I could easily take a bus from my place to there (and almost always find a ride home). Unfortunately, by the time I got here in 2008, most of my bands no longer played there. But on the plus side, all the bands I never heard of but played there regularly were now close enough that I could go check them out. And even though I didn’t get to see as many bands perform there once I did move to the area, Brittingham’s became a regular dinner spot.
“If this place ever goes out of business, I’m buying it,” I said at least once every time I was there. Unfortunately, I never did get around to making an offer. And with what money anyway?!
Last week, Brittingham’s Facebook page posted a list of items from the bar for sale- tables, chairs, kitchen stuff. I emailed and asked about the artwork behind the main stage. I didn’t care what piece I bought, just so I had one of them. But, the new owners told me they would be giving all of that to the Brittingham’s family. Anything they didn’t want would try to be incorporated into the newly renovated pub.
So, I’m a little bummed I didn’t get to say goodbye to my favorite spot. If anyone asks what my favorite place in the whole world is, I tell them- it’s a tossup between Brittingham’s and studio 8H where Saturday Night Live is filmed. I’ve been to both many times but only one let me drink, sing and yell across the room to a friend sitting a few feet away.
“You are a stranger but once at Brittingham’s, and we welcome you back with open arms.”