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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sign up here for our daily Philly email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.