Listen, You Gentrifier Scum: You Shut Your Piehole About Doobies And You Shut It Right Now

Real talk: Whatever you think of the general-interest blog scene in this town, and outlets such as the one you are reading right now, and all the ways they are compromised, and could be better, and the antipathy you may feel towards the medium in general, they are nothing compared to the real estate blogs in Philly these days. Ever since the dearly departed Brownstoner came around for one year and tried to show everyone how it’s done — apparently to no avail whatsoever — each and every Philly real estate blog that has come in its wake has sucked big fat bleeding donkey dicks. They’re either shadow PR mouthpieces for people who are realtors themselves (suck it, Naked Philly) or they’re Olive Garden-esque chain blogs with no real presence in town other than a poor editor locked up in a room somewhere (Spikol, we’re gonna try and have a job ready for you when Curbed goes all Phillyist on us), or, most often, they just plain suck at life.

Like today, when some piece of shit site called wrote a thing about venerable dive Doobies:

Over at 22nd and Lombard in the Fitler Square sub-neighborhood of Rittenhouse, you’ll come across a hideously unfortunate-looking commercial building on the intersection’s northwest corner. For the longest time, the space, which was clearly an operating bar, judging by its outdoor patio furniture, was nameless. Or at least it was to those that never frequented the establishment. I’m sure the dive has always had its regulars who likely knew the name of the place they frequented, but the space’s uninviting facade, characteristically closed off to the public realm, wasn’t exactly screaming for newcomers to come in and grab a drink or meal. To put it mildly, the bar, judgment on its atmosphere and food/drinks aside, has been known as an eyesore in a neighborhood known for its quaint corner stores and outdoor eateries.

Greg Meckstroth! Yes, you, the author of this post! We’re calling you out because this shit needs to be in your Google results! What, have you been here for like five fucking minutes? DO YOU KNOW THE LEGACY OF TRUE SCHOOL DEEP PHILLY WEIRDO VIBES THAT IS CONTAINED WITHIN THE WALLS OF DOOBIES? Well, of course you don’t. We’ve got PECO bills laying around for longer than you’ve been here. Doobies is a landmark (a landmark, by the way, THAT HAS NO APOSTROPHE. BECAUSE IT’S NAMED IN HONOR OF SMOKING JOINTS). Of course it’s filthy. So is your mom. And so is the bougie nature that threatens this thing about which we all need to get a little more protective: Philly’s longstanding beautiful weirdness. We don’t mean to harp on this, but it’s true: For every transplant that comes here with their Rubbermaid tub filled with laptop chargers and Dwell magazines and copies of the PDT Cocktail Book, essential particles of that weirdness are squeezed out. We are speaking of matter and space. There is only so much. And yes, the transplants bring many good things. We are not xenophobes. But this shit needs to be managed. Otherwise, it’s… this.

And I guess we can’t leave it up to everyone to just get around to doing the right thing. So between the Call Me Maybe Real Estate Lady and this, it’s like, fuck you. We’ve been baited enough. I guess we really are going to have to start a real estate blog now. Inquiries welcome.

Update: Follow-up post here.

42 Responses to “Listen, You Gentrifier Scum: You Shut Your Piehole About Doobies And You Shut It Right Now”

  1. friendlynerd Says:

    I admit I thought it was pretty weird that they never put a sign back up after they took down that driftwood-looking stuff from the facade years ago. They do have a sign up now, though, which must have been very recent. Looks nice. To call the place an eyesore is definitely over the top, sign or no sign.

  2. Amarikah Says:

    Ugh. I hadn’t thought they could do a more cringe-worthy, uncomfortable (bleaching!) post than “Now, let’s exploit those white folks for better schools!”

  3. Lance Ducotte Says:

    I have my pitchfork ready. say the word and we’ll march on this fuck. you know, after we stop in for a special or three

  4. tsarstruck Says:

    If I could say anything bad about Doobies it’d be about that sign, but I can’t because Doobies can do no wrong. NO WRONG AT ALL.

  5. roma258 Says:

    “Gentrifier Scum” would make for a great band name.

  6. R. Vance Says:

    nah, the place sucks.

  7. muffin_artist Says:

    Hey, am I the only person old enough to remember when Doobies gained some fame thanks to Sarah “The Slacker Handbook” Dunn? I heart the ’90s.

  8. Sandy Smith Says:

    That’s MR. Piece-of-Shit Site to you, thankyouverymuch.

    And may I suggest you go back to editing class and learn about the proper placement of the possessive apostrophe. I think you’ll find it properly included where it belongs in the article.

    When I edited this story, I missed a bit of wordplay in the headline as Greg originally wrote it; my alteration makes it seem like he was critical of Doobies’ (please note possessive apostrophe, it’s correct here) inside when the “dive” he was dissing was the change on its outside. I think they make the place look worse than it used to too.

    They could, for instance, have given it the Dirty Frank’s treatment. Now that would have been a touch of class.

    By the way, I’m a transplant too, and also a native Midwesterner. But I’ve spent 28 years here now, so I may as well be a native.

    As for that other story: Over the top? You bet. Got you reading, didn’t it? It’s a shame that we can’t make our schools better, it seems, unless affluent (and in this context, largely white) families take an interest in them. The success stories I’m aware of where that wasn’t the case remain the exception rather than the rule. So now that we have those affluent families moving back in, we have a golden moment to harness their interest in good schools for the betterment of all. Let’s not waste it.

    –Sandy Smith, Editor, Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

  9. tsarstruck Says:

    Sandy, congrats on getting me to read Philadelphia Real Estate Blog once. I’ll make sure not to make that mistake again. Thanks!

  10. Kyle Andrews Says:

    Whoa, blast from the past!

  11. Fake Name Says:

    So closing Doobies is going to fix the schools? Or is reading a real estate blog going to do it?

  12. 1980CHAMPS Says:

    So its 6:15pm and Philebs still has this hilarious story up. Man that Old City coffee will make you rage like you went through some of Walter White’s blue meth.

  13. 1980CHAMPS Says:

    Also Brownstoner was nothing amazing. NP, for all its flaws, is a more consistent site. People need to stop the boner shit anytime something from New York City does a Philly version.

  14. Shawn Kilroy Says:


  15. Tyler Woods Says:

    When people attack minor grammar or punctuation mistakes as a way of whatever showing they’re smarter than the other person, that’s the the height of internet trollery.

    What other story? And you published something over the top to get clicks? I guess that’s only a mildly assholic move since it seems like many in the media do it, but to then admit to it honestly and explain that it was the whole idea betrays that the idea of doing that is not even shameful to you, which is a whole other order of magnitude greater on the asshole spectrum.

    That and your entire attitude in this post makes me think that you are a world-class, PR-indoctrinated, media ethicless, ass hole. It is fitting then that Sweeney calls your blog a piece of shit.

    Unrelated: Whoever said “Gentrifier Scum” would be a great band name, is totally right.

  16. Sandy Smith Says:

    Neither, and nobody anywhere has said that Doobies should be shut down. The best we can do in this medium is get people talking about the issue.

  17. Sandy Smith Says:

    If you say so. I’m usually not that over-the-top, if you’ve read the stuff I’ve written in various places over the years.

    And maybe I shouldn’t engage in a pissing contest, but if someone else is going to make an issue of punctuation – read the original post again – then the topic’s fair game.

  18. Tyler Woods Says:

    Fair game I guess but mostly if you have nothing else to say. You should’ve told Sweeney to just fuck off and let you do your thing in peace without some angry blogger getting up in your business over some shitty bar.

    But no, you attacked his punctuation instead. By the way, you fucking went to Harvard? If you wanted people to know you’re smarter than Philebrity why didn’t you just say that?

    Lastly what is this shit about schools? Is your point that gentrification is good cause gentrifiers care about public education and pay taxes? Cause– and I don’t want to get into a debate about public schools — if that’s the argument then doesn’t it follow that every single low-revenue producing thing should be knocked down and only high tax-revenue producing things should go up? Could anyone actually justify that? And would anyone actually want to live in the craven dystopia such a philosophy would create? I think that’s what this post is about.

  19. Sandy Smith Says:

    I guess because, as you obviously did in response to what I wrote, I’d rather they found that out for themselves than having me shove it in their faces. I don’t hide it, true, but I don’t feel a need to shout it either.
    The funny thing is, as i reflected on this on the El home, a lot of the blogosphere is over the top. GroJLart, a blogger on architecture who’s worth reading because he knows his – er, *stuff* – uses a Grade A shtick to get folks thinking about the issues he tries to raise about Philadelphia buildings and the way we (mis)treat the built environment. And certainly just about none of what appears above would have been printed in what they used to call “a family newspaper.” (I’m old enough to remember when that term was used without quote marks around it.) That’s part of the (still, relatively) freewheeling nature of online media. I’m just glad to be part of the fray.
    And God knows the last thing I’d want to see is a uniformly upper-middle-class simulacrum of Philadelphia where the real one used to sit. I actually fear that will be the ultimate outcome of what are otherwise IMO positive trends around here of late. I’ll agree that this isn’t the place to carry on a debate on education and social class, but if you’re interested, we will be running something else on the subject on our blog in the very near future – and I promise you it will be more measured in tone and approach, because I won’t be writing it. :-)

  20. Tyler Woods Says:

    So to recap: you don’t want people to know you’re smarter than they are, you just realized this evening that the internet does not adhere to the same rules as print, you don’t actually see things that make Philadelphia more interesting as “turds,” and you want to have a measured debate on education in Philadelphia.

    So in light of this your original post would read something more like:

    You’re punctuation’s wrong, but really who cares it doesn’t mean you’re any worse of a writer or thinker than me.

    The story’s over the top but that’s the nature of the beast.

    Doobies is cool, they’re doing their thing and I’ll do mine.

    I’m not going to right here say some dubious, right-wing, mildly racist shit about education and rich white people.

    –Sandy Smith, Editor, Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

  21. Greg Meckstroth Says:

    It wouldn’t matter if there was a flower shop in the confines of the building, the critique applies to all buildings, regardless of use. You seem to be confusing the piece’s point – it is not an attack on the building’s user, it is an opinion on the facade. Could you imagine if every building in Center City had a windowless facade similar to Doobies? What kind of a ‘city’ would that be? You are right, I do not know the history of everything Philly. But what I DO know is Philly’s great history with urban planning. Do you know that history? What makes Philly so great, so unique, is its urban planning past and its hyper-pedestrian orientation, unique scale, small blocks, corner bars and restaurants – its great public realm. If more bars and restaurants had facades like Doobies, that public realm would be ruined. We ought to protect that unique public realm whenever possible. With dive bars, Dirty Franks offers a much better solution to having a closed off facade – murals, or other features that bring presence to the corner. I’d recommend reading The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs to understand basic tenets of urbanism and what makes a great city function. Then, maybe, you could understand the general crux behind this opinion piece.

  22. Greg Meckstroth Says:

    I would also recommend walking the streets of Center City, other ‘hoods and note which places make for great neighborhoods, which places people seem to respond to. Other notable places that lack poor urbanism traits include Trader Joes (lack of an entrance off the street), the Convention Center (incredibly monotonous facade), the new Family Dollar in Northern Liberties (the entrance is off the parking garage, they have turned their back to the street), etc.
    It is just basic city building/city planning principles here. No attack on the uses.

  23. 1980CHAMPS Says:

    I thought this was solid until you brought up Jane Jacobs. No reason to act like her shits obscure to anyone anymore. She’s like Radiohead for anyone that gives a shit about cities.

  24. 1980CHAMPS Says:

    I think “You’re punctuation’s wrong” is an even better name than Gentrifier Scum. Funnier on more levels.

  25. philebrity Says:

    I saw them at City Gardens in ’89 with Monster Piss.

  26. GroJlart Rhaandarite Says:

    I like Doobies just fine but bashing real estate bloggers is dumb. There is an audience (a small one) for those blogs, and real estate folks are going to have all the latest info about real estate… therefore they are valuable to regular shitbags like me who are interested despite not being involved in the business.
    So they don’t like the look of a bar you like… who gives a shit? I don’t get the whole emotional attachment to a place you get drunk. Its like how people go crazy over fancy bathrooms even though all you’re gonna do in there is take a big dump. I like McGlinchey’s, but I’m not gonna go crazy to defend some place that I go to drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and piss my face off. Who fucking cares?
    I’ve been hard up for stories before, but even I don’t make negative posts about other blogs, even ones that have openly called me out. Though I may talk about some inane nonsense on my blog (which you guys refuse to acknowledge the existence of btw), that shit is too low for me, and I’m pretty fucking low.

  27. Daniel Olsovsky Says:

    DEEP PHILLY WEIRDO VIBES, AMEN! I was just in there last night w/ my GF
    and dog, we played Honky Dory in its entirety & watched star trek. Oh! you pretty things.

    “All the strangers came today, and it looks as though they’re here to

  28. Doobies Bar Says:

    Thanks to whoever it was defending us in this article!! I can’t find your name anywhere, but we love you!! :-)

  29. Amarikah Says:

    Aw, GroJlart, I was going to tell you I nominated Philaphilia for a Philebrity award last year but I checked and I didn’t. Sorry, I was very drunk.

  30. philebrity Says:

    More on all of this here:

  31. Pat Branch Says:

    hahahahahahahaha. urban gentrifier snob snapped & pwned!

  32. Pat Branch Says:

    stop it! my sides are hurting! &, lawdy, how did she magically turn a debate about a beloved bar’s facade into some limping treatise on public education???

  33. Pat Branch Says:

    look patti! i ran over here to fuss it up, too! : )

  34. Margit Detweiler Says:

    This is HI-larious. And I miss Doobies. Boy do I ever.

  35. Jean Drumm Says:

    Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the
    mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different
    beauty. One person may even perceive deformity, where another is
    sensible of beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own
    sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others. (Hume 1757,

  36. Mike McGettigan Says:

    Er, does anybody here actually go to bars or think about row house type buildings for ten minutes?

    1) Bars with big windows on big exposed corners can be a pain in the butt. Half the tables are hard to sit at thanks to glare. People lean stuff against the windows and crack them. It’s lots of glass to clean. I personally don’t want to have to make or avoid eye contact when downing a Yards. A lot of the “open-air” bars and clubs are kind of a drag on the streetscape with music and screaming escaping out…

    2) Er, ever heard of load-bearing walls? It’s no picnic trying to remove big chunks of brickwork that ACTUALLY SUPPORT the upper floors. It’s costly and in some cases impossible.

    3) This harping about the gayborhood and its loverly bars what sprawl onto the sidewalk, or Franks’ murals. Geez, there’s more than one kind of aesthetic out there. Greg, there are scores of bars with smallish windows, that don’t provide eye candy to soothe you as you stroll by, and Philly’s public realm is doing fine.

    4) Let’s have sense of context and proportion. Want to fix the corner? Slow down the traffic. Blow up that 7-11 which keeps the bike lane clogged and hurts all the indy bizes around and which is a staging area for beggars and muggers. Then see if you can get Trader Joe’s to put a damn front door on Market Street.

    5) Doobie’s is a great little bar, they hold down the corner, and yes, they’re not an aquarium. Get over it. And next time you try to write something, take more than five minutes. Maybe read it aloud once or twice. Oh, there’s this place on Sansom Street, Fergie’s. Go after them next, then Monk’s… then, oh, yeah, the other day I walked past the Academy of Music and couldn’t see inside; there was little to capture my gazelle-like attention span.

    I guess we better put a mural on it, like putting a bird on it would be in Portland.

    6) What the fuck is “hyper-pedestrian orientation”? Is it a streetscape that caters to agitated walkers who write a little bit and own a Jane Jacobs book or three? Yeah that’s it, that’s the ticket.

    7) Philly’s urban planning past is, er, not so great. I-95. Demolished half our Furness stuff. Penn Center. Ed Bacon’s various high rise crap. Penn’s Non-Landing. The Chestnut Street Transitway.

    AND– thank Christ we didn’t complete: The Delaware Tramway. The Market Street Monorail. DisneyQuest. The Crosstown Expressway. The South Street Expressway Bridge. Megacity. Ed Bacon’s three-level traffic circle which would have left only City Hall tower standing in a freeway interchange. The Chinatown Expressway Connector.

    Doobies is like the Parthenon compared to that raft of ugly crap–if even half got built we’d make Detroit look like Mayberry.

    — Michael J. McGettigan
    prop., Trophy Bikes University City
    Northern Liberties
    (both fronted with tons of glass, duh)

  37. Evan Says:

    Kudos to Philebrity for having the moxie to call someone out on their BS like this.

    Someone working for philadelphia real estate clearly doesn’t understand Doobies. You don’t like the facade? It isn’t inviting? You think it’s an eyesore to the community? Then guess what, you aren’t in the right freaking community. Being a realty blog I assume you are sad that you’re a poor salesperson who isn’t able to sell the true worth of a place. The looks detract people
    who don’t know better from wanting to live nearby? Good. While your commission check will have to wait those people can go somewhere else.
    Bring on the folks that understand the worth of a place like Doobies. A
    place that isn’t just *in* the neighborhood, it helps define the

    Doobies isn’t “some place you go to get drunk” it’s where
    you go to have a good night with good people. I’ve known people who have lived in that neighborhood for years. Hell, I know people who live in that neighborhood BECAUSE OF DOOBIES. The essence of the place itself attracts the loyal customer base of a particular breed like they have enjoyed for years on end. People become regulars by being brought in by regulars or by having the chutzpa to man up and walk their ass into the place that isn’t longing for impulse business with murals begging for attention or large windows desperately trying to show off the crowds inside.

    Doobies’ long time staff, ownership and patrons have given the place a life of its own. “Can you imagine if every place in Philly looked like this?” What a stupid f’ing question. No I can’t imagine that, but can you imagine if all of Philly looked like ANY single place? You’ve got to learn that it’s okay to have a less than inviting facade because that just makes it that much better to know there’s still a successful business that survives by being a good place with good people. This bar, this piece of the Philadelphia chapter of so many peoples’ lives, is well missed by any of its patrons who find themselves pulled away from Philly. When those lost patrons come back to the city to visit you know where they go? They visit a piece of home – they go to Doobies.

    So forget your fancy facades that help sell homes to people who could happily live anywhere in Philly. Screw your themed bars, modern wanna-be bars, trendy flash-in-the-pan bars… Screw having yet another shoddy mural like Dirty Franks and the rest of the city. I’ll take my “keep out” appearance, my amazing staff, my perfect assortment of patrons, food, drink and music. If Philly had a last call I’d take a Doobies, simple

  38. Doobies Bar Says:

    What an amazing tribute to us, Evan! Thanks for your heartfelt words. I wholeheartedly agree with you. :-)

  39. Doobies Bar Says:

    :-) our special ROCKS, doesn’t it??

  40. Doobies Bar Says:

    So I finally know…thanks Joey for being on our side!! You are SUPER!!

  41. Doobies Bar Says:

    Thanks Michael! Hey…I know some really stupid people that sneaked in here…if they can do it, we can do it too!! (outside the sorely missed Kennel Club, many years ago).

  42. barrygster Says:

    You’ll rescue Liz Spikol from Curbed…because is so much better than Eater, right?

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