A reader checked in the other day, wondering why the northeast corner of 22nd & Lombard is a parking lot. Considering its stellar Fitler Square location, one would think that developers would have picked this 60′x68′ property up years ago and constructed new homes on this site, probably with some garages to boot.
Prime parking lot
The parking lot was (as you can imagine) home to buildings at one point. Back in 1959, Joseph Tompkins petitioned the ZBA for permission to tear down the existing buildings, which consisted of three dwellings that were so substandard “that would not warrant the cost of putting them in first class shape,” and a dilapidated former harness shop on the corner. The ZBA approved, and the parking lot has persisted for over fifty years.
Meanwhile, across the street from this surface lot is one of our favorite bars in Philadelphia, the phenomenal Doobies. In business for 36 years at this location, according to their Facebook page, this spot has held a special place in our hearts and minds since our college days.
Back in 1930, there was a pharmacy on this corner
In 1959, as a parking lot was about to appear across the street, a bar was operating here
Another angle, this time in 1964
Shot of the bar in 2000
A recent shot
The exterior of the building has undergone some serious renovations in the past few years, with stucco replacing what looked to be rotting wood siding. After a recent visit, however, we came to realization that the interior has remained more or less the same since the first time we visited many years ago. True, the smokeeater has been dormant for a couple of years, but the board games and the copious number of David Bowie albums in the juke box remain. Not to mention the lengthy and creative menu provided out of a teeny tiny kitchen space. And did we mention the extremely reasonable prices for pitchers and the tremendous service?
Man, all this talk about parking lots in Fitler Square is making us thirsty…