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":
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 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.
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.
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.
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?!?!
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!
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 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!
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.
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?!
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.
1. The 700700 N 2nd St, Philadelphia
2. PBR Bar & Grill1100 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia
3. The Republican1734 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia
4. Tavern on Broad200 S Broad St, Philadelphia
5. Drinker's West3900 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
6. McFadden's1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia
7. Mad River4100 Main St, Philadelphia
8. Kildare's Irish Pub4417 Main Street, Philadelphia
9. The Dolphin Tavern1539 S Broad St, Philadelphia
10. Fat Tuesday431 South St, Philadelphia
11. Johnny Utah's461 N 3rd St, Philadelphia
12. Kung Fu Necktie1250 N Front St, Philadelphia
13. Finnigan's Wake537 N 3rd St, Philadelphia
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.
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.
Worn-in couches, questionable smells, and cheap drinks characterize this true-to-the-name dive in South Philly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The famous dive bar has been revamped, this time with light-up floors, DJ parties, and burlesque dancers almost every night.
Bringing you some Nawlins flavor on South Street, this Mardis Gras-themed boozer serves up alcoholic slushies and drool-worthy daiquiris.
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.
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.