Khyber Pass Pub

When seeking vegan-friendly bars, I think I am pretty easy to please.  I basically require just a few simple things:

  1. Craft beer on tap
  2. Vegan items clearly labeled on the menu, so I don’t have to play a game of 20 Questions with the waitstaff
  3. More than 1 vegan choice, excluding hummus, “garden salads”, and portabello mushroom sandwiches. I’ve had enough of all three in my lifetime, thank you very much

One particular chain of bar/restaurants in Philly always fulfills all three of those requirements.  I’m talking about the Royal Tavern and both Cantina locations (Dos Segundas and Los Caballitos.)  The head chef at all three locations, Mark McKinney, does a splendid job of giving us vegans a plethora of delicious menu options.  The recently revamped Khyber Pass Pub is the 4th, and possibly the best of the bunch in my humble opinion!

I strolled up to Old City this past Monday for an evening of food and drink at the Khyber.  The Khyber used to be primarily a music venue with a decent bar.  The first time I went there was more than a half-decade ago – to see Andy Rourke, formerly of The Smiths, spin records.  It happened to be the first time I tried a Victory Hop Devil; I deemed it too hoppy for my tastes at the time (oh, how the times have changed.)

The new Khyber has replaced the music floor with dining tables.  They now boast 20 tap lines and 2 hand pumps for cask-conditioned beer – everything from local favorites like Yards Philly Pale Ale or Victory Storm King to West Coast IPAs like Ballast Point Big Eye or Port Brewing High Tide.  And the food menu – still in “preview” mode for now, is Southern-style, with a bunch of vegan options.

Normally I’d go with seitan po boys or the veggie sausage sandwich – two mainstays on the still-new menu.  On this evening, however, I chose to start with one of the daily specials: Vegan Sausage & Mustard Greens Soup.

The soup was very hearty and tasty.  The sausage reminded me of the vegan chorizo you can purchase at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  The greens and tomato broth complimented it well.

For my entree, I chose to go with the Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.

The mashed potatoes had a really raw (in a good way), un-processed feel to them.  As you can see by the crappy iPhone photo I took, it doesn’t look like the perfectly blended commercial junk you get in the supermarket.  This was a real mashup of potatoes and soy milk.  I think the gravy could be a tad thicker, but overall the taste was spot on (not overly salty, like some veg-gravies can be.)

The pulled pork sandwich itself was a soft bun surrounding a mound of slightly sweet but also tangy seitan covered in some sort of cole slaw.  I’m not a big cole slaw fan – in fact, I don’t like most white, veganaise-y things, but even I found this to be delicious.

I was too stuffed between the beer and food that I had no room for dessert.  They do offer cakes from Vegan Treats in the event that I ever leave room in my stomach during a future visit.

Previously, my go-to, never-dissapoints, vegan-friendly Philly pubs were Local 44 and Memphis Taproom, but I now have to make room for a third.  (It also helps that the Khyber Pass Pub is merely 2.5 miles away from my house, making for a pretty pleasant walk through Philadelphia.) I highly recommend it to any vegans looking for hearty pub food and a few tasty pints.

9 Responses

  1. I’m a 10 minute walk from here and I haven’t been yet. It sounds really delicious, especially the mashed potatoes and gravy, which is something I rarely have unless I make it myself. I will get over there this weekend.

    Do you happen to know if Memphis Taproom still has vegan desserts?


  2. Glad to hear the food was good. I havnt been since it got revamped but have been wanting to go. Do you know if they have a good happy hour there by chance?

    Yah Memphis (at least last time I was there) carries a chocolate cake from them that is vegan. Its never on the menu but its alright. A friend use to work there and got us some to try a whiles back.


  3. Mm this looks great! I totally hear you on having consumed your portion of portobello mushrooms for life already, I feel the same way. Here in SF it’s a wild mix… some places are really good with vegan options, others are total misses… kind of surprising, actually, how many resist pubs putting vegan options on the menu. Well, if you guys are around my neck of the wood, drop me a note and we go have a few pints in my favorite places! (I’m just getting back into home brewing after a long hiatus.. love this blog!)


  4. kevin

    Eric: happy hour at Khyber is 4-6 7 days a week, $2 off all drafts, and pitcher specials. This week it’s great lakes Edmund Fitzgerald porter for $10. Domestic bottles and other drinks are a buck off.


  5. this place looks great. better than any vegan-friendly pubs we have in LA. most of our options are salad (with the exception of tony’s, but there it’s pretty much JUST sausages). i would kill for a craft beer with some vegan mashed potatoes.

    i’m adding this to the list of places to visit someday.


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