Johnny Brendas is a bar, restaurant, and music venue located in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. The building dates from the late 19th century, and while the performance space has been completely redesigned, it maintains the feel of an elegant, iconic historical social hall with design elements reminiscent of a turn of the century burlesque club or theater.
Featuring a world-class sound system, and a balcony (a rarity for a room its size), it is unlike any performance space in Philadelphia, and quite possibly the country.
Philadelphia native and professional boxer John Imbrenda, who fought as Johnny Brenda in the ring, first opened his tavern in 1967. When John retired from the bar in 2003, he sold it to the owners of the Standard Tap, a bar that was an early part of the renaissance of neighboring Northern Liberties. Upon purchase, the new owners of Johnny Brendas immediately renovated the bar, but retained much of the original aesthetic: the red and white sign on the outside, the linoleum floors, and the 1960s wood paneled walls.
Built on a philosophy of supporting the local community, Johnny Brendas serves all-draft high quality beer from local brewers as well as an array of Mediterranean small plates and grilled sandwiches, using fresh ingredients supplied from area farmers.
This dedication to operating an uncompromising establishment combined with presenting great live music from respected national and local acts like the Thurston Moore, The Walkmen, Vashti Bunyan, Clinic, The National, Okkervil River, Dr. Dog, Icy Demons, Little Brother, and others is quickly establishing Johnny Brendas reputation as a truly world-class music venue.