Proper Brick Oven becomes a beer-drinker's paradise 

"There are so many amazing local breweries popping up. It's important to me that we focus on them."

For 63 years, Tambellini Seventh Street Ristorante was a fixture in Downtown's Cultural District, where it celebrated the Italian-American culinary tradition. But the restaurant closed in February, to be replaced with something a bit more American-Italian: pizza and beer.

"You can't go wrong with pizza and a beer, can you?" says Jason Lockney, who along with partner Suzanne Hrach is opening Proper Brick Oven and Taproom. "There are places you can get great pizza and places you can get beer, but we want to do both."

Lockney oversees the rotating list of 30 taps. Twenty of those are dedicated to what Lockney describes as local, though "regional" might be a more accurate description: Beers from both eastern Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes area are in the mix.

Still, it's an impressive array of styles and breweries.

"There are so many amazing local breweries popping up. It's important to me that we focus on them," Lockney says.

The other 10 taps will dispense experimental or unfamiliar beers. Customers can also expect to find a small selection of beer in bottles and cans. Lockney says this concession is "mostly for people who want Bud or Coors Light. We don't want to kick people out who want them — but you're going to have to ask for it."

There will be exceptions to the macro-in-the-bottle/craft-on-tap rule, however. Some craft beers that are difficult to order by the keg will be sold in cans: Lockney already has his eyes set on Elysian Brewing Company's Imperial Pumpkin Ale for the fall.

And if you're not a fan of beer? Hrach is compiling a wine list that, according to the establishment's website, "you won't see at other local bars." The duo boasts of working on a cocktail list they say will rival that of other nearby eateries.

As Lockney puts it, "We really want to push the limits of what you'll see Downtown."


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