East Kensington is now home to one of the best new bars in town. A collaboration between Cary Borish, Mike Parsell, and Jon Medlinsky, Martha (named for its location on York & Martha Streets) is really pretty special in a very unassuming way.

I went for their soft opening this past Friday, and I spoke to Mike Parsell, a local developer who I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past, about the redevelopment of the building:

I can tell you that we used a high percentage of salvaged materials for the build out, without it looking too much like "reclaimed wood". The bar itself is made from beams in the old ceiling and we milled it on site, it never left the building. All the mahogany trim is from a Cecil Baker condo we renovated last year. We also tried to make the building as Environmentally friendly as we could under our budget which included a high degree of insulation, an efficient radiant floor heating system, and LED light bulbs where possible.”


The space is beautifully repurposed. I am always drawn to good design, which is one of the reasons I chose my profession. Not to mention, there is balcony seating, a fireplace, and a record player for music where everyone is invited to pick and play a record. Coming in time for spring (or the occasional warm winter night like Friday was) will be the addition of outdoor seating.


The bar offers a 24 line draft system, of which only 10 pour beer. The other taps include drinks like wine, kombucha, & cocktails featuring local spirits. The food menu appears to be a very simple selection of vegetables, cheeses, and charcuterie. That may seem familiar, but what strikes me about their menu is that they’re serving something so familiar, that has been pushed all too far aside that it seems like a rare menu item - Hoagies! Hoagies, being a local Philadelphia term for the sandwich, were once a staple to our city, but seem to have long been overlooked. Martha chefs serve these Philly favorites made with many local ingredients, including local rolls from Philly Bread.


Just to add more beauty and small artful touches, the lighting is low and warm and the menu is softly  projected on the wall. This makes it incredibly easy to read, and also guarantees everything on it is accurate up to the minute. This, in addition to their gorgeous instagram feed (@marthakensington) just really seals the deal with this place. Martha is more than a neighborhood bar, Mike, Cary and Jon have made it a destination worth the trip.

Michael Garden Headshot
Phone: 215-500-2981
Dated: December 17th 2015
Views: 3,100
About Michael: Michael’s real estate practice is focused on quality properties in established and developing neig...

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Michael Garden
2200 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA