The Absolute Best Bars in Philadelphia Right Now
From swanky cocktail lounges to dive bars, these are the best places to grab a drink in Philly right now.
If there’s one thing this town loves, it’s a good drink. With warmer weather and more outdoor imbibing options than ever, it’s the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with Philadelphia’s best watering holes—as well as newcomers to the bar scene. From romantic cocktail bars to eclectic dives to Francophile-forward wine bars, there’s something for everyone. So take a look at our picks for the best bars in Philly right now.
Whether you know your wine or can only identify whether it’s red or white, Le Caveau is a more-than-worthy retreat. The cozy wine bar above The Good King Tavern is big on natural wine bottles and new discoveries, dividing the wine menu according to pours from “France” and “Not France.” It’s a dim, moody spot rich with inviting corners where you could easily end up staying until last call. Wine-friendly bites like cheese and a “French hot dog” (it involves a baguette) make a visit complete.
Try fresh cocktails with a side of mid-century swank at Fishtown’s R&D, the space formerly known as Root that has since gotten a drink-focused makeover from the same team behind concepts like Suraya, Pizzeria Beddia, and Condesa. R&D manages to be moody and seductive without taking itself too seriously. Its high-end vibe is paired with some fun and kitsch on the menu, from tiki drinks to classic espresso martinis. When you get hungry, bar snacks include bruschetta, hummus, smash burgers, and lemon-marinated olives.
Franky Bradley’s is the move whether you want to see a drag show, dance the night away, or throw back a few Kenzingers amid Medieval-inspired decor. The multi-level bar on Chancellor Street is the perfect blend of bar and club, complete with a food menu of hearty pub fare (think mac n’ cheese, fries, burgers, wings, and more). For drinks, you have plenty of cans and bottles to choose from, plus a few wines and fruity cocktails like the Franky’s Punch, made with rum, rosé, lime, and pineapple.
The rooftop ambiance and endless city views make Bok Bar essential for any South Philly bar crawl, but you could also stay a while and make it the night’s first and last stop. Warm-weather cocktails, local cans, and curated wines (by the glass or by the bottle) always fit right in with the scenery. Bok Bar’s programming has really evolved over the years, and now you can catch DJs, trivia nights, drag shows, workshops, or even some rooftop yoga throughout the week. When it comes to food, keep an eye on the calendar for local chef collabs, or head to Irwin’s, also located in the Bok building, for Sicilian fare.
Old City Beer Garden
Everyone loves the chill backyard vibe at Old City Beer Garden, home to a few lawn games and a whole lot of beer and seltzer cans. This casual outdoor spot has been one of Philly’s larger al fresco watering holes even before the beer garden boom of more recent years, and luckily it offers a nice bit of range, too—you can go from strong sour cocktails to easy-drinking favorites to jello shots all in one night. You can also feed yourself on the cheaper side with tacos, wings, sammies, and other snacks all under $10.
This barber-shop-turned-speakeasy finally has a foothold in Philly, where it opened last fall to serve top-notch cocktails and grilled cheese to the masses. The bar offers a large lounge set-up that’s fun for a night out when you want to dance and have some late-night bites. As far as drinks go, you can go as high or low as you like—we’re talking Miller High Life on the same sheet as $500 bottles of champagne. Thankfully there’s a lot in the middle, too, including seasonal cocktails, happy hour specials, and even a few zero-proof options.
How to book: Via website
Bloomsday offers a cheerful bottle shop, wine bar, and cafe hybrid in Headhouse Square, along with a simple-and-tasty menu of food to enjoy with your drinks. For wine lovers you’ll find events and plenty of interesting bottles in the shop, plus Bloomsday’s own Dumpster Juice Vermut, from the bar’s line of craft vermouths, that regularly sells out. If cocktails are more your style, you’ll always find something seasonal and on-point, from warm weather spritzes to off-menu espresso martinis.
Comfy, cozy, and welcoming, The Lunar Inn is a neighborhood favorite for cocktails, natural wine, good bar food, and lazy weekend brunches. True to its neighborhood, the offerings at Lunar Inn can please a wide range of tastes and styles, whether you’re looking to chill with friends over cans of PBR, locally brewed drafts, global wines, or carefully crafted cocktails. Whatever you get, consider ending the night with the so-called Fancy Nightcap: a two-ounce pour of your choice of amaro or vermouth.
Tattooed Mom has long been one of Philly’s favorite dive bars, from the iconic Strange Girls and Snake Boys mural outside to the sticker-plastered bumper car inside. Aside from the ambiance, you’ll also find vegan bar food, great people, bottles, and pop rocket cocktails. Keep tabs on Instagram to spot food specials and other events, plus an extra chance to marvel at all the bric-a-brac that makes up the ultra-eclectic, multi-story bar.
American Sardine Bar
This is one of Philly’s quintessential bars for relaxed sips, which are best enjoyed on a patio chair in the bar’s backyard. You can expect tried-and-true drafts alongside newer seasonal releases and local specialties, as well as flavorful cocktails that pack a punch, from the special flavor whiskey sours to their gin mule counterparts. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, peruse the food menu to find items like pickled egg and a tin fish board featuring sardines, of course.
How to book: Via website
Visit the only sports bar in Chinatown for a fantastic menu of surprising bar grub, plus no less than 60 beer taps. You can slowly make your way through that list at Bar-Ly’s daily happy hour which runs from 3 to 6 pm, even on weekends. Being a sports bar, you can catch the game while noshing on an eclectic menu that includes Peking duck sliders, veggie fajitas, and 10-piece wings.
Cockatoo is a newer addition to the gay bar scene, featuring Latin street food paired with a welcoming menu of wine, cocktails, and beer. Cockatoo also has one of the better happy hour iterations in Center City, with discounted drinks from 8-10 pm Wednesday through Friday, then a special weekend happy hour from 3-5 pm, where you can score $10 specialty cocktails, $9 prosecco, and $6 beers to your heart’s content.
Visit Dahlak’s laid-back outdoor patio—now outfitted to accommodate all kinds of weather—for outdoor dining and drinking. This Eri-Ethiopian restaurant’s summery cocktails pack a punch, and options like the tequila Blue Crush or the Henny Punch, are best enjoyed outdoors with stir-fry sirloin tibs, a spicy sauteed dish served with peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
Devil’s Den’s ever-changing draft list is full of unexpected domestic and imported brews, while the bottled menu offers an extensive collection that you’ll need a few minutes to sift through. Seasonal cocktail lovers will also be happy here, and since this is Philly, Devil’s Den also offers three City Wides to pick from. The spot boasts excellent bar nibbles including $12 wings, $7 skewers, and other savory bites.
Frankford Hall is one of Philly’s prettiest and biggest year-round outdoor bars, giving you a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and score a seat by the fire pits (and make s’mores) when temps cool down. Massive German drafts, bottles, and beer cocktails and floats make up the lengthy bar menu, which goes big on German specialties as well as hoppy and tart options.
Hawthornes Beer Cafe
Hawthorne’s is a welcoming one-stop shop for all your bar needs: a sizable outdoor beer garden, a big ol’ TV to watch the latest, a massive all-day food menu, and plenty of craft beer and seasonal cocktails. It’s the perfect laidback spot for digging into the likes of fried chicken and waffles and truffle grilled cheese sandwiches while trying to stay ahead on all the latest bar offerings. The drink menu is full of rare imports and unusual finds, so there’s always something new to try.
Lloyd Whiskey Bar
This laidback and subtly The Shining-themed whiskey bar offers fresh cocktails, local drafts, and a vast selection of whiskeys selected from across the globe. The spot also features a pub menu to keep you going through rounds of flights. Try one of the Boilermaker selections, which gets you a beer and a one-ounce pour, like an elevated version of the Philly Special.
Sample some of the best spirits to come out of Philadelphia, from Blue Coat Gin to Vieux Carre Absinthe, at Philadelphia Distilling. The beautiful facility begs you to linger with tufted leather sofas and exposed brick walls for an airy, bright, and ultra-stylish destination any time day or night. Be sure to try one of the seltzer-gin cocktails or a family flight of bourbon, rye, and American whiskies.
After more than two decades in business, Standard Tap is still going strong and offering a stellar selection of local craft beers on draft, natural wine, and plays on classic cocktails. Beer lovers rejoice at Standard Tap’s lovingly curated selection of locally made brews, from classics like Yards Brawler and PBC’s Kenzinger to Sly Fox Dry Stout and Troegs Hop Horizon.
Writer's Block Rehab
Writer’s Block is perfect if you like to drink and also feel like you’re in an aesthetically pleasing wood-paneled library. The actual space has a way more modern feel, but the statement wallpaper of bookshelves is a great meeting of old and new. Decor aside, Writer’s Block is the go-to for light bites and fun cocktails (and mocktails), each with an esoteric reference for a name. It’s an ideal ice breaker for meeting and mingling.