An editor's guide to drinking around town


An editor's guide to drinking around town
An editor's guide to drinking around town


You can find a bottle shop on every corner in Philly, but if you want the choicest taps or the best Chinatown speakeasy, you need to walk out of said bottle shop and get some choice advice. Thankfully, Philly editor Adam Robb is here to do just that.
Best for Partying: Fishtown's Frankford Hall is Stephen Starr's year-round tribute to Oktoberfest, where everything you think might happen when 400 people get together to drink beer by the liter actually does

Best Club: As close as you'll get to AC without crossing the Delaware, buy a bottle to skip the block-long line and head straight to the VIP at Sansom St's subterranean spot Rumor, where two dance floors are consistently packed with all the city's shortest-skirted sorority girls

Best Bar for Work: Center City speakeasy Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co has a sign now, so you won't awkwardly lead your clients down the wrong staircase, and giant bowls of their bourbon-cinnamon-pineapple Paper Moon punch taste better when expensed

Best Cocktail Bar: Once you're buzzed through the unmarked metal gate on a deserted Chinatown street, and assuming you stick to all Hop Sing Laundromat's house rules (no calls, no photos, cash only), you'll be treated to the highest-end well in the country, and a menu of craft 'tails that are nothing but pure booze and fresh-squeezed juices

Best Drink: Speaking of Hop Sing, one of the simplest drinks to make (yet hardest to exactingly recreate) is their Henry "Box" Brown: nothing but 15yr-old El Dorado shaken with fresh-squeezed red grape juice

Best Beer Bar: Recognized globally as one of the greatest beer bars in the world, Center City Belgian tavern Monk's Cafe is so unremarkable from the outside you can walk right by it without noticing, and so committed to its 20 taps that even actual Trappist monks have remarked how perfectly it serves a brew

Best Wine Bar: The somms at the AKA Hotel's will school you on every one of their 300 terroir-driven, biodynamic wines, and pair them with a small-plates menu that includes the city's best roasted chicken w/ ricotta gnocchi

Best Brewery: Yards Brewing Company was founded by a couple local homebrewers and now produces one of the best pale ales in the country at a waterfront plant boasting a 100-seat pub, and often packs their parking lot with food trucks for all-night tastings

Best Local Beer: Naturally, the best brewery would produce the best beer. Once a hard-to-find seasonal, Trubbel de Yards is a "Tripel Dubbel" Belgian ale with hints of biscuit, caramel, and chocolate now showing up on taps everywhere from Monk's to Johnny Brenda's

Best Local Hang: A quiet French speakeasy on the back-end of The Piazza burger joint PYT, Emmanuelle's run by the city's most beloved bartender, Phoebe Esmon, who attracts Philly's finest food and drink writers, and knows their orders, too

Best Place to Day Drink: It's a little too easy to drink all afternoon at Sansom St's The Corner Foodery, getting up again and again to pair the city's best porchetta hoagie with just... one... more... beer... from the 500+ bottles filling the entryway fridges

Best Jukebox: Sip a coffee cup of hot buttered rum while pushing the jukebox's buttons to queue up some carefully-curated punk, gangsta rap, and metal selections at South St dive Tattooed Mom's

Best Outdoor Spot: Delaware River beer garden Morgan's Pier not only has the best views of any Philly beer garden, it also hosts bands and DJs booked by R5 Productions, sports a Little Baby's Ice Cream satellite stand, and brings in the city's top chefs to BBQ all Summer long

Hottest Girls: See: Best Club. Or better yet, chat up any of the hundred stiletto-teetering coeds in line outside and tell them to forget about the DJ because you know where to find the Best Jukebox in town

Easiest Place to Get Laid: The Hotel Monaco's Stratus Lounge's a rooftop bar with all the deal-sealers the rooms downstairs lack, including a massive fireplace, mirrored ceilings, and way more booze than your minibar.

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1. Frankford Hall 1210 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125 (Fishtown)

One of the only year-round beer gardens, Frankford Hall is also the most traditional German biergarten. The brick-walled Fishtown spot has a menu that features German classics like spätzle, schnitzel, and six different types of sausages. Additionally, the draft beer list has over 10 different German beer selections, all available in large, liter steins. It's especially popular in the summer months, when an opening at one of the picnic tables is harder to find than a parking spot in Fairmount.

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2. 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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3. 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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4. Monk's Cafe 264 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Rittenhouse)

This Philly beer bar will provide you with a variety of craft draft labels (Lost Abbey, Tired Hands, Port Brewing, etc) and offers an unrivaled bottle catalog, carefully cataloged in their Beer Bible. Monk's is a Philly institution, not only for its crazy-extensive collection of Belgian beers (of which there are 300+), but also for its congenial atmosphere, and way above average bar food.

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5. 135 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (Rittenhouse)

A first-floor space opening onto Rittenhouse Square,'s a stark dining room with plenty of wood banquettes/ tables plus marble counters at which to take down dinner plates like pork belly risotto fritters.

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6. Yards Brewing Company 901 N Delaware Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (Nolibs)

Founded by a couple of local homebrewers, Yards Brewing Company and now produces one of the best pale ales in the country -- as per The New York Times -- at a waterfront plant boasting a 100-seat pub. And in addition to supplying both year round and seasonal brews, Yards' parking lot is home to a variety of food trucks, perfect for all-night pairings.

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7. 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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8. The Corner Foodery 1710-12 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (Center City West)

Gourmet sandwiches and hundreds of craft beer is The Corner Foodery's DNA. Also, there are large, lacquered communal tables on which to chow down with a group of friends, when not waiting in anticipation of Executive John Taus's daily chef specials.

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9. Hotel Monaco 433 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Old City)

A jewel in Philadelphia's Old City district, Hotel Monaco Philadelphia boasts luxury suites and the famous Stratus Rooftop Lounge, equipped with an awesome fireplace. If only the Founding Fathers could ball this out of control.

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10. Rumor 1500 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Midtown Village)

Sansom St's subterranean spot Rumor sports two dance floors that are consistently packed with all the city's shortest-skirted sorority girls.

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11. Morgan's Pier 221 N Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (Old City)

At this extensive waterfront beer garden, Morgan’s Pier, some of the area’s top chefs take over the Morgan’s Pier kitchen for a four-month “experiment" every year. With outdoor seating for up to 500 people, it's one of the best spots to enjoy a casual bite to eat, craft beer, wine, and cocktails.