Everyone enjoys a nice beer garden… for three or four weeks out of the year. The rest of the time it’s too cold, too windy or it’s pissing down with rain. So an indoor beer garden? We say why not, and so does Philadelphia hospitality figure Avram Hornik. As the creative mind behind Winterfest and the 2013 PHS Pop-Up Garden events, Hornik saw how outdoor spaces created the perfect convivial atmosphere, and wondered if he couldn’t recreate some of that magic on a year-round basis.
William Street Common is now open for business, and the beer garden influences are immediately apparent. The main visual features are sturdy communal seating which has been fashioned from turn-of-the-century storage locker doors and reclaimed timber, with a main dining area seating 100 and a 50-seater bar area that offers vintage arcade games for free. The festival spirit extends further than the décor, too. A flat pricing system has been used for drinks, and the food selections (available for brunch, lunch and dinner) have been kept to a minimum, with a few well-chosen favourites using premium local ingredients preferred to a long list. Another aspect of William Street Common that merits a mention is the employment policy: the minimum wage is $15 an hour, with a 20% service charge on all menu items matched by the house, plus an extra 5% of sales going towards staff perks. Sounds like Philadelphia’s servers will be beating a path to the door of this place along with the customers.