• Saturday , 20 January 2018

Era Ethiopian Bar and Restaurant Expands to Breezy Sidewalk Cafe

Photos, story by Cassie Hepler

If you know where the Philadelphia Zoo is located, Era Bar & Restaurant is about a mile from there. Where North Philly meets West Philly, you can find this hidden gem for over 15 years in Brewerytown. A fantastic new addition to the row home bar and restaurant is the outside patio space where guests can people watch, feel the summer breeze and enjoy sunsets with a medley of music rolling by in various cars.

What makes this place unique is there is something for everyone. You can be adventurous and eat your way through traditional Ethiopian cuisine, you can play pool in the throwback bar indoors, you can have a cozy meal inside on comfy leather chairs with your sweetie in the back of the restaurant, watch some TV in the full size bar area or now the option of going outside and enjoying some surprisingly fresh city air.


Ellal Aklilu reached out to Explore Philly and gave us the Ethiopian food tour of a lifetime. So do just like we did and the space suggests, sit back, grab a drink and food let the jolly good times roll!

Look for the Era Bar & Restaurant sign at the corner of 27th and Poplar streets in Brewerytown.

The outdoor dining experience will continue to expand down the street as those tables were packed all night.

The pool table which is hard to find in Philly with a full sized bar for those who like to belly up.

The back indoors dining area at Era Bar & Restaurant.

A medley or murals adorn the wall in the back dining room by lawyer and painter Michael Thomas.

A painting of the emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie.

A painting of writer Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin who has pivotal works in Ethiopian literature and is considered the Ethiopian Shakespeare.

My first Ethiopian dining experience was in Washington, D.C. as a birthday present. I recalled the delicious and colorful vegetarian medley and wanted to replicate those tastes and Ellal knew exactly what I was talking about.

The vegetarian dish of Goman (chopped greens sautéed with onions and spices), house salad (tomato, green peppers, and onions served with house dressing), Miser Lentils (spilt lentils with onions, and hot peppers –served cold) Ye’Miser Wot (splint lentils simmered in Ethiopian spices: Served hot) and Atkelt Wot (sabbage, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes sautéed with onions simmered in mild spices).

You do not use utensils to eat Ethiopian food instead you wrap it up taco style in Injera which is made with teff, a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread, however injera still takes advantage of the special properties of yeast.

Prime cut of filet-mignon tibs thinly sliced as tender cubes marinated and sautéed with a special herb sauce, yellow wine, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, rosemary, with a touch of fresh garlic.

Era’s Special Lamb Tibs were very tender marinated pieces of lamb cooked with Ethiopian special spices. sautéed with onions, tomato, jalapeno, and a touch of garlic.

Sautéed mushrooms tibs seasoned with green onions, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, and a blend of mild spices.

My personal favorite the Awaze doro tibs, grilled strips of boneless chicken breast glazed with Awaze, a flavorful berbere sauce cooked with onions, tomatoes, and jalapeno.

They have quite an impressive list of craft beer at Era Bar & Restaurant which is suggested to pair with you meal but also a medley of killer cocktails too.

Brunch outdoors will soon be packed with a menu like this. We were invited back and may take them up on that offer! Every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out the full menu.

Included in the brunch are mango mimosas with real mango juice, none of that watered down stuff.

When in Rome… Ellal suggested we try the Era Special Kitfo – Ethiopian style steak tartar, raw lean beef chopped and seasoned with Ethiopian special spices, mixed with homemade cottage cheese, herbal butter and mitmita (it can be ordered raw, medium, or well done). It was delicious, spicy and of course meaty.

And for dessert a very sweet and sugar satisfying homemade baklava with natural honey and chocolate drizzle.


Now that you know where to get amazing deals, food and expand your foodie palate, get there before it’s too trendy!

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