Standard Tap: Doubling the Standard

Burger Breakdown

Standard Tap - Map It!
Tomato, grilled onion, lettuce, mushrooms, and Monterey Jack cheese
Included. Fresh, salty and delicious.

The American Hipster (Americus Ironicus) is a hearty creature capable of inhabiting vast swaths of hostile urban areas. The creatures are most easily distinguished by their plaid markings and oversized eyeware. Males of the species forage for canned alcoholic libations and are most commonly seen with ample facial hair. Aside for the wildlife reserve and breeding ground known as Brooklyn, one of the best areas to see the American Hipster in its natural habitat is the area of Philadelphia known as Northern Liberties. And among the watering holes of the area, few draw the American Hipster in such numbers as Standard Tap.

Standard Tap is just older than I was when I had my first drink (10 years old) and in that time it has become one of the most beloved gastropubs in the city.  The warm colors and rich wood are a great escape from the blinding summer sun and from the frigid winters alike. With two floors, a large rooftop deck, two bars, and an assortment of rooms, the bar really does offer a seating choice for every mood. Within the walls of Standard Tap, and also on the deck if you are lucky enough to get a seat there, resides one of Philadelphia's most-acclaimed burgers.

Photo of the double standard burger at standard tap

The Burger: On a normal night you can choose from the Standard Burger or the Double Standard. The only difference between the two is that the Double Standard has 4.5 more ounces of beef. Do I need to tell you which we ordered? Both burgers come topped with grilled (not caramelized) onions, Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and sautéed mushrooms on a thick sourdough roll.

The double standard burger at standard tap

Laurence: I've been a patron of Standard Tap since it was a fledgling operation and the area had significantly fewer trucker hats and skinny pants. I don't remember the food being quite as good in the early days, but that's likely because I didn't know how to think.

Summer in the city is always better on the deck at Standard Tap and while the burger is good, I probably wouldn't go there as a first choice when in the mood for a burger. Dry is the key word to describe my meal. I ordered a medium-well burger and it came out more overdone than the makeup on a Jersey girl in a Delaware avenue club. The thick sourdough roll, which on its own was excellent bread, really didn't help the situation as it continued to suck the moisture out of my mouth much like one of those dentistry devices, or once again, a Jersey girl in a Delaware avenue club.

The mushroom, and lettuce were nice, but couldn't add enough to make the burger leave the realm of the mundane and leap like a hipster at a city-wide special into the realm of epic. The patty was spiced pleasantly, with a salty exterior, and the cheese was melted in gooey abundance over it, but I still have a mental picture of the Mojave when recalling the experience. The fries on the other hand were absolutely addicting. Seasoned with little more than salt and black pepper and with the skin left on, they are as lovely as a crackhead-free park at dusk.

All said, I still ate the burger with reckless abandon, forgetting to photograph it until little remained, and I enjoyed it. But I had hoped for much more because Standard Tap has my favorite sandwich of all time: the rare and beautiful salmon BLT. In the land of normal sandwiches this burger would be a king but in Burgerdelphia it only has one eye and is being eaten by the guy who owns American Apparel. Rating 6/10.

the standard burger at standard tap

Kyle: The Double Standard burger is not a double standard. It's not a double anything, being that it does not double the regular Standard Tap burger. It requires hipster math to claim that the double of 7 oz. is 11.5 oz., the same logic that defines irony as "coincidence," flannel as "fashionable" and PBR as "fit for human consumption." Maybe the phrase has its own meaning in Hipstervania vernacular that I don't understand, since multiplying by two is too difficult (thanks, Philadelphia public schools!) and one stroll through Fishtown makes it clear the kids don't have any standards.

Aside from the double-esque size of the patty, the Double Standard is the same sandwich as the Standard burger, coming with the same toppings and made with the same beef and spices. I've had the Standard burger many times in the past, and have found it to be juicy, tender and flavorful. Somehow, adding more of a good thing here makes it bad (a phenomenon known as the First Law of Hipster Dynamics: hipsters can be neither created nor destroyed, they can only change forms into something worse). It's difficult to properly cook a patty this size, but it's been done, so I wasn't sympathetic when the burger came out dark brown and crispy throughout. The coarsely ground beef was tasty but definitely dry, lacking the soft, crumbly texture and juiciness it's had in the past. The seasoning was mild, almost unnoticeable, another casualty of overcooking. As a point of contrast, my lady friend ordered the Standard burger medium and it was a nice pink, dripping with blood and fat, so I don't think there's been any change to the burger since my last visit a year ago.

The rest of the burger is as I recalled, topped with forgettable vegetables, buttery Monterey Jack, and an excellent hard, crunchy sourdough roll. It's a good burger, but not what I remember, and while I'd like to rate this burger higher using some clever self-referential double standard as a circular literary device that the kids will talk about while eating the very same burger in a never-ending masturbatory cycle of faux-intellectualism, I refuse to end this review in some coyly ironic fashion. We've got to have standards. The double of 7 is 14, flannel is ugly, PRB is disgusting and irony is when there's an incongruity between language and reality. Like when you have a burger called the Double Standard that isn't the double of anything.


Rating: 6/10.


Standard Tap is worth your time and has a great beer selection, but go for the Standard Burger, or something else entirely.

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