First Look: My Parents’ Basement, Avondale

It’s called My Parents’ Basement. It’s a new beer bar and restaurant with a comic book shop inside. The motto is “Your Friendly Neighbohood Comic Book Bar.” And as you might guess from all that, it’s the brainchild of beer geeks and comic nerds. But when friends Dave DeFeo, Tim Ensor and Lawson Wright decided to combine their obsessions under one roof, they did it with a playful attitude and some surprising touches.

The look: The trio took over the Tudor Revival-style building in Avondale Estates that was once home to the James Joyce Irish Pub, claimed the dark wood millwork, brought in matching fixtures for the shop, and built a sturdy, shiny L-shaped bar to anchor the sprawling space. A large covered front patio features a pair of stacked stone fireplaces, and there are free video games in the bar area. Overall, though, the look is more Hog’s Head Pub than Star Wars.

The scene: One recent Friday evening, there was a wait for a table and the air-conditioning wasn’t quite keeping up with the milling crowd, which ranged from wilding children in superhero costumes to neighborly barflies and women who make passes at men who wear glasses.

The food: The menu of snacks, salads, sandwiches, sides and sweets, is a little chefy and a little clever, with a good bit of dude food. Look for the likes of foot-long pimento cheese toast ($7) and Chicken-IN-Waffles ($6), which is fried chicken-stuffed waffles topped with maple mustard seeds. A salami and butter sandwich ($10) is layered with neighboring Pine Street Market’s saucisson sec French-style salami and bread-and-butter pickles. The grilled Kimcheese ($10) sandwich is made with local Simply Seoul kimchi. The old school Flat Top Brisket cheeseburger ($11) is predictably popular. But the South Philly Special with Cheez Whiz ($12) seems to be the early fave.

The drinks: The deft draft list ($5-$10) reflects Ensor’s previous experience as beer manager at Decatur’s Brick Store Pub and Leon’s Full Service. Current local offerings include several beers from nearby Decatur and Avondale breweries, Blue Tarp, Three Taverns and Wild Heaven, plus two locally brewed soft drinks, Monday Night ginger soda and Red Hare root beer. On the cocktail menu ($8-$9), find classics such as an Old Fashioned and a French 75.

The extras: Weekend brunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, with huevos rancheros ($11) and shrimp and grits ($11) on offer.

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