Food & Drink

Philadelphia's 7 Best Cocktail Bars

Published On 02/19/2015 Published On 02/19/2015

There's nothing wrong with scarfing pizza and living in sweatpants, but once in a while it's nice to suit up, raise a pinky, and sample some magically potent mixed drinks. The drink masters at these seven cocktail bars will dish you high-end cocktails without thumbing their nose -- or suspenders or fancy mustaches -- at you.

 

The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

Rittenhouse
Be sure to wait up for a seat on weekend nights at this dimly lit, exclusive spot where the bartenders are charmingly theatrical. Ingredients and mixing are painstakingly detail-oriented -- such as the tequila-amaretto beauty that is the Aces Over 8s -- and bartenders are also willing to create something to your liking as long as you're not shouting "RUM AND COKE!" across the bar.
 

Emmanuelle

Northern Liberties
The cocktails at Emmanuelle are like gorgeous science experiments where your order may or may not be flammable. The lounge’s servers and bartenders are well-informed experts at the trade, and the Gothic architecture brings a bit of downtown NYC to the Piazza at Schmidt's, which is not an easy feat.

Charlie Was a Sinner.

Charlie was a sinner.

Market East
This cocktail lounge makes for the perfect first-date spot thanks to flattering lighting at candlelit tables along with an elegantly crafted menu, which includes the always mysterious, always changing Charlie’s Punch.

Flickr/star5112

Bourbon & Branch

Northern Liberties
The NoLibs spot offers both an array of enticing $5 Philly specials (Wicked Pissa: Narragansett pounder and a shot of Canadian Club) and plenty of house cocktails and even more whiskey specials. Try the Liberties Lemonade (whiskey, Cointreau, lemon, sugar) and dream of summertime.

The Rittenhouse

The Library Bar

Rittenhouse
The in-house bar at the Rittenhouse Hotel is a perfect place to cozy up and enjoy standby cocktails like an Old Fashioned or the hotel bar’s alternating seasonal menu. You’ll probably drop quite a few bucks here, but the overall ambience makes it well worth it.

The Good King Tavern

The Good King Tavern

Bella Vista
The unassuming tavern pairs delicious French-inspired eats with signature cocktails for all the frill of a high-end lounge with the charm of a low-key neighborhood joint. Try the Sazerac (rye whiskey, Demerara, bitters, and absinthe) with a friendly helping of cheese plate.
 

Hop Sing Laundromat

Chinatown
It's not easy to find your way into Hop Sing, but once you do, you’ll find it lives up to the hype. No photos or phone calls are allowed inside, but you can forget that sensory deprivation thanks to the hundreds of liquor options, from Johnny Drum Private Stock bourbons to 15-year-aged El Dorado.

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1. Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. 112 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (Rittenhouse)

Practically bursting with classical style and a tasteful ambiance, FM&I Co. stands out as one of the classiest bars in Rittenhouse, serving a number of finely tuned cocktails that any patron can appreciate.

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2. Emmanuelle Hancock St and Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Nolibs)

Not just a really important bible dude (probably?), Emmanuelle's also a bar from the same guy behind PYT: an intimate, back of the Piazza, 35-seat craft 'tails hideaway with a baby grand piano.

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3. Charlie was a sinner. 131 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Midtown Village)

Charlie certainly was a sinner, and a glutenous one at that. Despite its mostly vegan menu, Charlie's knocks it out of the park with decadent small plates and seemingly whimsical cocktails that hit you fast. The warm, intimate interior with its dark wood-paneled walls and plush velvet booths is the perfect setting for a date night. Take a seat on one of the tufted benches by candlelit tables and try the always mysterious Charlie’s Punch.

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4. Bourbon & Branch 705 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (Nolibs)

B&B features beer and pub fare with a fancy twist: think banh mi sliders, tikka masala mussels, etc, plus classics like fried pickles and mac-n-cheese.

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5. Library Bar 210 W Rittenhouse Sq, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (Rittenhouse)

The Library Bar is a two-room cocktail palace, cozily tucked into the ground floor of the Rittenhouse Hotel. With huge volumes of literature on display, and including a tome-like, 17 page long drink menu, make yourself comfortable in the spacious cocktail haven with a meticulously crafted Old Fashioned or seasonal option like the El Presidente with bacardi rum, red wine, vermouth, and grenadine.

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6. The Good King Tavern 614 S 7th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Italian Marketbella Vista)

The unassuming tavern pairs delicious French-inspired eats with signature cocktails for all the frill of a high-end lounge with the charm of a low-key neighborhood joint. Try the Sazerac (rye whiskey, Demerara, bitters, and absinthe) with a friendly helping of cheese plate.

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7. Hop Sing Laundromat 1029 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Chinatown)

Stop into this semi-hidden haven in Chinatown for Prohibition-inspired cocktails, accented with a speakeasy vibe. This much-hyped, semi-mysterious spot-- patrons line up down the block for a chance to sample enigmatic owner Lê's signature libations, and you can't use cell phones or cameras inside the bar (don’t think that rule won’t be enforced if someone catches you)-- offers literally hundreds of liquor options, from Johnny Drum Private Stock bourbons to 15-year aged El Dorado.

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