Better Know a Bartender: “Flash” Gordon at Cranky Joe’s


Our second installment of a favorite feature for thirsty Fallsers and new neighbors curious about the local color. Introducing new EFL reporter Tim Reardon (Conrad Street). 

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Everybody knows that a good dive bar is all about the bartenders. Any jerk can pull a tap or take an order, but the guy who can reload your beer before you know it’s empty, whip up a spicy-sweet BBQ wing sauce on the fly, give you Jack Daniels when you ask for a chocolate-tini, and kick ass in Quizzo is what makes a dive bar special.

At Cranky Joe’s, that guy is Flash.

Joe “Flash” Gordon has been a fixture behind Cranky Joe’s taps since 2009. Every local knows Flash, but lots of newbies to the Falls, like me, might not. So as a public service, I stopped in recently to ask him a couple questions. You’re welcome, squatters.

What’s the story behind the nickname Flash?

My last name is Gordon so it pretty much came with the territory, plus everybody in this neighborhood has a nickname so, just growing up I got the nickname “Flash.”

It could be worse, there’s a lot of bad nicknames out there.

Are you from East Falls, or a transplant to the area?

Yes, born and raised in East Falls.

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How’d you get the gig here?

I was looking for a job, I know the Roberts family (Cranky Joe).  I talked to Chris (Joe’s son), started working here in 2009 and been here ever since.

I hear you make some pretty damn good wing sauce flavors, what’s your secret?

There’s no secret behind the sauce, It’s pretty basic but sometimes I make it up as I go. To be honest I think it’s more the wings than the sauce.

EastFallsLocal collage wing war 2014

What’s your secret to kicking ass in Quizzo?

I’m just full of useless trivia, I wish I retained this much in school than I do all this stupid stuff. I just remember pop culture trivia.

What do you think your best categories are in Quizzo?

Music, sports, movies, and television.

(Quizzo comes & goes at Cranky’s — if you’re a Quizzo presenter looking for a great local venue, check in with Flash about bringing back this weekly show-down on useless info)

Are you a decent dart player too? You work dart night upstairs at the bar.

I play, but I’m not great. I work Tuesdays and they needed a body on a team so I played. For a while I would shoot before I started working on Tuesdays, but not so much anymore. I make way more money working that night.

We know you can cook, but what about drinks? What do you think your best drink is?

At Cranky’s it’s mostly beer and shots, so it’s not too often someone comes in and orders a martini or something. I usually don’t have to deal with that. If you want a Coors Light and a Jack Daniels, I’m your man!

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You’re also a wrestling fan — who’s your all-time favorite wrestler?

That’s tough. Probably the hardest question you asked so far. Not to sound cliché, but Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Are you excited for WrestleMania this year?

No actually not — I think it’s gonna be terrible.

If you had to explain Cranky Joe’s in a few words to people not from the area, how would you describe it?

Cheap beer and good atmosphere. I find that most people are afraid of this place, but when they finally come in, they say it’s not what they expected or heard about. People are generally pretty friendly to outside people coming in.

What wing sauce resembles you the best?

Flash is still thinking about this one…

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Thanks, Flash, for sitting down with EFL. Swing by Cranky Joe’s “most weeknights” to say hello and tuck into a plate of their crispy (but not battered!) buffalo wings — a Wing War winner for 2015. 

EastFallsLocal collage introducing tim reardon

Meet Tim Reardon, of Conrad Street, writer, content strategist and Hunter S. Thompson aficionado.

Tim’s the newest member of the East Falls Local reporting team, covering food and drink, night life, and just about anything else we can come up with.

In his day job, he’s a Content Strategist at BrainDo LLC, a digital marketing agency that helps clients strengthen their brand through a strategic mixture of digital solutions.

Before joining BrainDo, Tim was a content producer at and covered events happening throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.

Tim and his girlfriend Katie moved to East Falls in the summer of 2015. (They love the Falls’ combination of city vibe and green space.) When he’s not channeling an African explorer, Tim’s a big fan of WWE wrestling, baseball, and soccer.

Welcome, Tim!

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GET YOUR VOICE IN THE LOCAL We’re always looking for writers, designers, photographers, cartoonists, and other creative types to help feature East Falls in new and interesting ways. Drop us a line at or keep an eye out on our Twitter feed for our next “brainstorming” mission at Cranky Joe’s, Billy Murphy’s, or other local establishment.  


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