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Mating Magic at McGillin's Olde Ale House

Updated: Oct 23, 2021

Allison Doll Kelly & Kevin Kelly at McGillin's

Kay Scorboria decided that instead of becoming a nun she’d marry the sailor she met at McGillin’s Olde Ale House. She and the sailor, Preston, have been married almost 60 years and have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.

The Weinstein's watercolor of McGillin's

Two brothers BOTH met their wives at the historic bar near Philadelphia City Hall. Another couple who met there has a watercolor of McGillin’s Olde Ale House hanging above their bed.

Hundreds of couples have met at McGillin’s, the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia and one of the oldest in the country. In fact, more couples have met, gotten engaged and even gotten married there than anywhere else in Philadelphia.

Maybe the mating magic comes from William McGillin, who opened McGillin’s in 1860 and ran it with his wife, Catherine. The couple raised their 13 children upstairs. Or Mary Ellen and Chris Mullins, Sr, the husband and wife who took over the tavern from her father and uncle and now run it with their son, Christopher Mullins, Jr. Or perhaps it comes from the 30 beers on tap.

There is so much mating magic at McGillin’s that the 161-year-old bar has created a “Love Letters” book where couples can tell their stories. The first volume filled up quickly so the bar has created a second volume. And it’s likely to fill up quickly too.

Amanda & Kaitlyn signing Love Letters book.

The second volume was recently signed by Jen & Steve who got engaged at McGillin’s in December. And Amanda & Kaitlyn who put a ring on it in front of the tavern’s over-the-top Christmas decorations.

And this is not a new phenomenon. Allie Sedor & Joe Banks meet at a Young Civil Engineers event at McGillin’s in 2012 and were married in May 2017.

Allison Doll Kelly and Kevin Kelly met online at OKCupid in 2012 and talked for two weeks before deciding to meet in person. Her parents recommended they meet in person at McGillin’s, where her parents used to meet on Fridays for after-work drinks. They had a great first date, despite getting lost trying to find the bar. McGillin’s holds such a special place in their hearts that they had their engagement photos taken at the bar, which is located on tiny Drury Lane in Midtown Village. They wed in May 2019.

Hopefully, these young couples will have long happy marriages like Jay and Betty Dutill, who were amused when their four children, all young adults, came home raving about a bar they had “discovered” - McGillin's. The children were surprised to hear that their parents met at McGillin’s in 1977.

The Millers met at McGillin's in 1961 & return frequently.

Bill and Marie Miller met at McGillin’s in 1961. Bill was there with another girl when Marie caught his eye. He ended up in Japan with the Navy and proposed by letter. They’ve been married more than 55 years and have returned to McGillin’s with their children and grandchildren.

Jack and Helen Myers also met at McGillin’s in 1961. They married three years later. He got her a charm bracelet with a McGillin’s charm on it and she still has it more than 50 years later.

And Peggy & Barry Shanler met at the bar in the 1960s. Barry wrote Peggy’s phone number on a McGillin’s coaster. They contacted McGillin’s when they celebrated their 50th anniversary to report that they still have the coaster, as well as 2 children and three grandchildren. They have lived on 4 continents and have countless memories - thanks to the tavern.

Looking for the love of your life? It might be worth making a trip to McGillin’s Olde Ale House.


by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. Both books are full of tips. Visit for more tips. Planning a staycation? Need gifts? Go to the website for signed copies of books. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse.

Click here for more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including romantic outdoor sculptures to visit for Valentine's Day, venues for micro-weddings and how to help restaurants survive.

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