The Bottom Line
During the early evening, Morgans Pier is a lovely place to enjoy craft beer, tasty appetizers and burgers, and take in one of the best views in the city. By night the Pier turns into a packed dance party, often featuring famous DJs and live music. It is one of the first new places to breath life back into Delaware Avenue/ Columbus Boulevard, where decaying scrubs and violence had taken their toll. Morgan's Pier makes it possible to enjoy the waterfront again.
Address: 221 North Columbus Boulevard
Phone: (215) 279-7134
Hours of Operation: Monday thru Friday 4pm - 2am, Saturday and Sunday 12pm - 2am, Kitchen is open till 11
Sitting just beneath the Ben Franklin Bridge, In front of a sea of yachts is Morgan's Pier, named for George C. Morgan, one of the construction workers who helped erect the bridge. Still unfinished, he decided to traverse the width of the river by tightroping along a thin beam. He reached Camden and was fired on the spot. Morgan's Pier has an old-time feel to it, perhaps as a nod to the era when the bridge was built, in 1926. The flooring is made of wooden boardwalk planks, the seating is mostly rusted iron antique lawn chairs, and the climate control is provided by powerful metal fan combined with the river breeze to produce a misty cooling effect.
The Pier was a the brain-child of Sean Agnew of R5 Productions, David Pianka of Making Time and Four Corners Management of Union Transfer, Lucy's Hat-shop, Drinkers and many other establishments throughout the city. Four Corners handles the food, and R5 and Pianka handle the entertainment. They wanted something different from other Delaware Avenue clubs. A low-key place to enjoy drinks and food during the early evening, and a really fun place to hang out and dance at night, without the cheesy music, outdated dress codes and gun violence.
The menu is described as "foodie picnic," and is surprisingly excellent. The simple burgers are addictive and at $7.50 are priced well below the citywide average. The french fries are made from the same legendary potatoes as McDonalds fries. The Lamb Kabobs are served on metal screwing and a grilled to perfection. They are accompanied by a thick, creamy yogurt sauce. The Tuna Burger is a 4oz portion of slightly seared tuna dressed with mayo and pickles. The Watermelon and Feta Salad and Avocado and Tomato Salad are both refreshing and satisfying. The Snack Bacon is an usual snack consisting solely of thick cut maple bacon served lukewarm ( I recommend ordering it with a side of smokey scotch).
They also have a hot dog cart that stays open even after the kitchen closes to help you out if you've had a bit too much to drink. Wednesday through Sunday Little baby's Ice Cream sets of shop from their Ice Cream Tricycle. The cart belongs to Jeff Zigga, a long time employee of R5 productions. he makes "hand-made super-premium ice cream," as well as vegan ice cream. There are two bars, one which serves a rotating selection of craft beer like the Neshaminy Belgian Triple, and A large main hair next to the dance floor that features speciality cocktails like the Michelada, and the Watermelon Ricky.
The pier is outfitted with a top-notch sound system, and features a plethora of DJ acts as well as the occasional live band. One of the co-owners, David Pianka, is an internationally known DJ who has been throwing the wildly successful Making Time parties for over 10 years. Morgan's Pier has hosted/ will host LCD Sound System's James Murphy, Diplo, Questlove and many others.
Morgan's Pier is a much needed addition to Philadelphia. I would be happy if it only succeeded at providing a pleasant place to enjoy beer and burgers, or at being a dance club, but it does both exceptionally well.