Parks, schmarks — in East Falls, we take over CASTLES! Join your neighbors Saturday October 1st for a pop-up beer garden at Undine Barge Club’s historic boathouse aka Castle Ringstetten. Plus: local artifacts to browse and buy.
When we first encountered Parks on Tap in July, the first question on our minds after “Is this Adirondack taken?” was “How can we do this in East Falls?”
The answer, when we asked local saloon tycoon Mike Murphy, truly surprised us: “If you’ve got a venue, I can make this happen.”
Helloooo, Castle Ringstetten! And the most generous and community-minded caretakers in the world, Paul and Joey. Thanks to them & Undine Barge Club members, East Falls’ll have Philly’s coolest pop-up tavern-on-the-river.
The Castle (as this boathouse is called) was built in 1875 — designed by famed architect Frank Furness, who also did the Academy of the Fine Arts downtown. Known for his bold, rather unorthodox aesthetic, Furness is often credited with being the first architect to define a purely American style. And he was a Philly boy!
Outside, Castle Ringstetten has a sweeping porch and a sprawling fenced back yard that spreads from Kelly Drive to Ridge Avenue.
Inside, it’s all dark wooden beams, stained glass, and Victorian detail.
And memorabilia. All kinds of historic plaques, photos, trophies… there’s even a baby rowing shell hanging from the ceiling. That is: a shell for babies! Apparently, club members have some kind of ceremony…?
Undine has been here on the Schuylkill for almost 150 years, there are antiques and curiosities at every corner. And pictures with faces and names you might recognize…
Redeemer Lutheran Church is another local landmark — this one, not so lucky to stand the test of time. The property was sold last year, and now the beautiful old church is being gutted for apartments.
Before demolition began, developers allowed vacating members to retrieve religious and historic items for a truly unique and special Farewell Sale for Redeemer at the beer garden. All proceeds will help pay Redeemer’s remaining legal fees from fighting to stay in East Falls.
Just browsing this cache is fascinating: pews, robes, candles, child-sized wooden chairs and desks, prayer books with family names. Some really old, solid pieces of furniture, including a narrow library table that’s perfectly scaled for a skinny hallway or foyer.
And a whole box of these big, thick, old-school American flags! They’re literally the best (ha). When you’re done checking out all of Undine’s historic stuff that’s not for sale, take a look thru Redeemer’s and maybe find something to take home.
And how about ride on a giant wooden slide?!
Back in the day, Redeemer Church used to throw a huge Fourth of July party for the whole town. There’d be food & drink & music of course but the pièce de résistance was a 30+ foot wooden slide that both kids and adults enjoyed. Kinda like the one at Smith Playground, but portable: Redeemer’s slide broke down into three parts, and was stored under a stage in the basement.
Until this Summer, when a team of us dragged it out and got it into storage. Now, we’re using the Castle’s gently sloping yard to set this 100+ year old slide up one last time before it’s scrapped or sold or somehow incorporated into maybe a local installation. (Perhaps a playground at McMichael, hmmmm..?)
Whatever — we’ll give this bad boy one last hurrah! Come scootch your butt down history this October, and raise a glass with your neighbors at the most fascinating “fortress” in town.
$25 admission includes all-you-can-eat Oktoberfest buffet by Rieker’s famous German specialty kitchen, plus all access to the unforgettable Castle Ringstetten. And a complimentary beer from Billy Murphy’s Beer Garden!
PLUS: A tasting of locally-brewed beer from the new Wissahickon Brewing Company!
Kids welcome, plenty of space to run around. Long tables provided, BYO- chairs & blankets to spread out & enjoy the lawn. Follow on Facebook for updates on music, merchandise, and more.
WHAT: Castle On Tap, a pop-up beer garden for East Falls
WHEN: Saturday October 1st, 2 pm to 7 pm
WHERE: Castle Ringstetten, 4347 Ridge Avenue (faces Kelly Drive, near Falls Bridge)
HOW: Walk, bike, drive, or row (the river’s right there!)
**INCLUDES ALL-YOU-CAN EAT Oktoberfest buffet plus 1 FREE BEER **
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR SLIDE SET-UP! We have a truck, but could use extra hands. And anyone good at jerryrigging stuff. Free beer & an EFL t-shirt. (Oh yeah, we’ll have t-shirts for sale too — a custom EFL design we’ll be unveiling for the first time.)
Brought to you by Billy Murphy’s Irish Saloon, with fine selections by local brew guru Jon Kennedy.