Oakmont Offers Twist on Traditional Pub
The Oakmont National Pub serves up craft beer and innovative food along with traditional pub favorites.
Brendan Goggin, 42, owner of the Oakmont National Pub in Havertown, has an uncanny ability to make the old and familiar into something entirely new.
After all, how many pubs feature a classically trained chief in the kitchen, or an outdoor beer garden complete with heated floors?
It is this passion for innovation that sets The Oakmont National apart from the usual pub, though it wasn’t always clear that it would work out.
“When we first moved in here, people looked at you like you had 16 heads if you didn’t have Bud or Michelob on tap,” he said.
That was 13 years ago, when Goggin purchased the bar, then known as The Iron Gate, with his brothers Peter and Garret.
Back then, The Iron Gate was “more of a shot and beer kind of place,” according to Goggin, who rechristened the pub as The Oakmont National and now serves as its primary owner.
In the years since, people have come to love The Oakmont National for its wide variety of seasonal, craft beers, as well as its unique take on traditional pub food.
“When people come in here now, you can see their eyes rotate towards the taps to see what’s new," he said."
According to Goggin, Oakmont National was on the forefront of the “gastro-pub revolution” on the east coast, which saw the rise of bars dedicated to craft beer and daring new takes on typical pub fare.
It’s hardly surprising, considering that Goggin spent two years working in a microbrewery in California (where craft brewing first began to emerge) before creating The Oakmont National.
Even now, Goggin remains a part of the craft-brewing scene. His bar has participated in Philly Beer Week for years, and he frequently invites local brewers to his pub for tastings and special events.
The bar itself is located in a building that dates back to the 1920’s, and was originally constructed as a bank. Goggin has embraced that image, incorporating the building’s original architecture and purpose into his pub.
“The building has been a little gem,” he said. “A lot of the beauty of the original building had been covered up by the previous owners, so we didn’t even know it was there when we bought it.”
Now, the high, vaulted ceilings and massive bay window that had been obscured during the building’s life as The Iron Gate are displayed proudly.
And Goggin doesn’t limit his drive to bring out the beauty of Havertown to his pub.
He currently serves as president of The Haverford Partnership for Economic Development, where he strives to make the town a better place to live and work by beautifying business districts.
Goggin is a local. He lives “a couple of blocks” from his pub, and says that his engagement with the community is his biggest advantage as a business owner.
“We’re not a big corporate place,” he said. “When people come in, I know them, and they know me. I’m really fortunate to be embedded in a great local community.”