Food & Drink

These Are Philly's 13 Bad Decision Bars

Published On 01/22/2014 Published On 01/22/2014
Bad Decision Bars Thrillist

The Bad Decision Bar: where what starts as "I'll have one" ends with you spooning a half-eaten cheesesteak at 3am and hoping the stain on your pants is only Cheez Whiz. Philly's got more than its fair share of spots that spawn the kind of questionable choices that lead to such situations and these are our 13 best (or worst?) "Bad Decision Bars":

PBR Bar & Grill

PBR Bar & Grill

XFINITY LIVE/Stadium
The music, the mechanical bull, the rage – either because the Eagles just lost (again!) or because the drinks cost how much?! -- they all contribute to some pretty bad decisions, which start with asking the really bored/barely dressed "dancers" that work there for their numbers. Oh, and stop staring, man.
 

The Republican

South Philly
The infamously crusty couches, the cheap drinks, the... um, moderately attractive strippers, and the dancing dog make going here a great decision, until you wake up smelling like what you hope is just said cheap drinks, or crusty couches.

700 Club

The 700

NoLibs
No, not that 700 Club. Up this row home-based boozer's creaky stairs is a tiny dance floor where (usually awesome) DJs and some incredible mixed drinks are sure to have someone grabbing some part of yours and laughing about it, usually right before her boyfriend who isn't laughing about it shows up and ruins everything. Something that you totally wouldn't have to worry about if it was that 700 Club.
 

Tavern on Broad

Rittenhouse Square
They say it’s a sports bar but maybe it's a club or a 1980s fraternity house… or a bowling alley, or a disco minus all the disco. Who cares? Its wristband happy hour specials make this place a go-to for cheap boozing, at least until the guys currently living in 2010's fraternity house show up.
 

Finnigan’s Wake

NoLibs
Going to Philly's largest (and presumably only) "Irish Pub, nightclub and entertainment complex" can't possibly go wrong unless a few too many drink specials, like $1.50 Yuengling drafts, mean you find yourself at their occasional all-male strip sho.... OMG how can I unsee that?!?!

Drinker's

Drinker's

Rittenhouse Square
Judging by the name alone, this place obviously attracts a class of clientele tha... SHOTS! Gimme four shots of vodka! ...And a drink menu! Whoooooo!
 

McFadden’s

NoLibs
Beer pong tournaments; scantily clad beer tub babes; possibly apocryphal stories of sex on the dance floor; and $12 cases of Miller Lite -- though be careful, 'cause too much of the last of those things could lead to the third of them with one of the second, who was impressed by your performance in the first. But that would be a bad decision, right? Right?!

Mad River

Mad River

Manayunk
Mad drink specials (dollar beers, $5 whiskey, etc.) mean that those six Sigma Chis by the bar are getting more and more angry that the incredibly blonde co-ed they came with is grinding on you, but you don't care because: incredibly blonde co-ed grinding on you!
 

Kildare’s

Manayunk
Despite some surprisingly dope eats and a raft of drink specials (half-priced drinks!), this boozer on the shore of the Schuylkill has a little bit of the Jersey Shore inside. Though the next morning, you'll probably just ending up doing gym tan laundry. 

Kati-kill

The Dolphin Tavern

South Philly
Fingers crossed that the go-go dancer you picked up at the Dolphin is a bycatch... cause she almost definitely isn't a good one.
 

Fat Tuesday

South Street
Boozy slushies! Boozy slushies! Boozy slush... ugh, brain freeze!

Johnny Utah's

Johnny Utah’s

NoLibs
You can tell it's a country bar 'cause it's painted like a cow, and the bartenders are sooooo friendly, they'll gladly dance with cute customers instead of making you a drink, and will totally set the mechanical bull to just-fast-enough-to-make-your-girlfriend's-boobs-jiggle. Such great guys. Wait, what?!
 

Kung Fu Necktie

NoLibs/Fishtown
A chaotic mess of a row home with half-hour wait times for (pretty inexpensive craft) beer; no place to sit except a picnic table across from a pinball machine beneath a portrait of Tupac Shakur; and shows that start way later than advertised can't keep hitting this ultimate Bad Decision Bar from being one of the best decisions you'll ever make... besides washing your pants. Immediately.

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1. The 700 700 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (Nolibs)

Downstairs, a hipster bar, then up the creaky stairs lands you near their tiny dance floor with their house DJ who's spinning tunes while the bartender pours strong drinks someone else is sure to spill on your leg.

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2. PBR Bar & Grill 1100 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148 (South Philadelphia)

This western-themed boozer has a mechanical bull for you to embarrass yourself on ride and mouth-watering Tex-Mex bar eats. The music ranges from country to pop, which'll no doubt have you dancing with the gorgeous bar girls.

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3. The Republican 1734 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145 (South Philadelphia)

Worn-in couches, questionable smells, and cheap drinks characterize this true-to-the-name dive in South Philly.

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4. Tavern on Broad 200 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Center City West)

Catering to raucous fans, Tavern is a refined sports spot, with a flatscreen-equipped bar and delicious eats like smoked pulled pork in honey BBQ w/ fried onions, grilled mahi-mahi w/ chili lime, and a choice of two 1/2 lb burgers, classic or Wagyu beef.

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5. Drinker's West 3900 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (West Phillyu City)

Drinker's West has daily specials on high-lifes and PBRs, but if that doesn't tickle your fancy they have even more specials for every other day of the week, which makes drinking... easy.

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6. McFadden's 1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148 (Nolibs)

Dark and divey, this NoLibs go-to will remind you of all those college basement parties... in the best way possible. They've got a range of bar eats, plus plenty of TVs to catch a game.

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7. Mad River 4100 Main St, Philadelphia, PA 19127 (Manayunk)

A staple in the college scene, Mad River's got you covered with all kinds of dive-y goodness, rocking a dark wood interior plus plenty of drink specials.

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8. Kildare's Irish Pub 4417 Main Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127 (Manayunk)

Kildare's is your traditional Irish pub: it doesn't skimp on the brews, and you cant rent their spacious Manayunk digs for happy hours or parties.

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9. The Dolphin Tavern 1539 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

The famous dive bar has been revamped, this time with light-up floors, DJ parties, and burlesque dancers almost every night.

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10. Fat Tuesday 431 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (South Street)

Bringing you some Nawlins flavor on South Street, this Mardis Gras-themed boozer serves up alcoholic slushies and drool-worthy daiquiris.

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11. Johnny Utah's 461 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (Nolibs)

Their biggest claim to fame just may be that they are "home to one of Philly's only mechanical bulls". So. There's that. Plus girls in Daisy Dukes serving drinks and plenty of music.

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12. Kung Fu Necktie 1250 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122 (Fishtown)

This 2-floor watering hole hosts live bands most nights for a 21+ crowd, with occasional exceptions for certain shows. It feels like a hipster dive and concert venue hybrid with dim lighting, cheap drinks and pool tables. There are televisions, pinball and arcade games as well, so if you're not in the mood for a show you can always just kick it at the bar.

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13. Finnigan's Wake 537 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (Nolibs)

Plenty of beers, drink specials, and all the best in Irish pub-food for lunch and dinner await you at this NoLibs boozer.

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