in

The Ultimate Guide to Philadelphia Bars

Whether you live in Philly or are just visiting for a few days, stopping by a few bars and restaurants is something you won’t want to miss.

This city is full of amazing things to eat, drink, and experience, and what better way to end a day than by having a few drinks at a local bar?

When trying to find a bar though, you never really know what the atmosphere is like, that’s why I’ve compiled my favorite bars into one list.

group of happy friends wearing facemasks while drinking cold beer in philadelphia

So, what are you looking for? A casual spot to knock back a beer? Or some live music and wine?

Whatever it is, you’ll know exactly where to go after perusing this list. Keep reading to learn a bit about each spot!


Monk’s Cafe

264 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: (215) 545-7005
Visit Website

If you like beer, make sure you head over to Monk’s Cafe. In service for over 23 years, it’s no surprise this spot is a local favorite.

With world-class beers, numerous draughts, and bottled beers, you’ll always have something to try here.

Monk’s Cafe serves cocktails and wine in addition to the plentiful beer options. They also have a fairly extensive food menu as well, in case you get hungry.

And, if you can’t decide what to order, check out their Beer Bible!


Tattooed Mom

530 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 238-9880
Visit Website

This local Philly bar is a great place to let loose in a unique interior. Take a look at Tattooed Mom. Vibrantly decorated, covered in art, with candy on the bar, a sticky art machine upstairs, and pool tables scattered throughout, this is a bar unlike any other.

Tattooed Mom’s drink list has innovative cocktails like the pop rocket or cosmo cloud. They also have beer if you’re looking for something simple. And if you’re hungry, check out their food menu with vegan options!


Oscar’s Tavern

1524 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: (215) 972-9938
Visit Website

When you’re in the mood for an old-school bar feel, head over to Oscar’s Tavern. With a laid-back atmosphere, this is perfect for enjoying some food and drinks.

Complete with a jukebox and cozy interior, you’ll always feel welcome.

As a popular spot, it’s no surprise Oscar’s Tavern has numerous great reviews about the drinks, service, and company.

Be sure to try their long island iced teas, any draft, or a cheesesteak when you’re there!


Hop Sing Laundromat

1029 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-629-0444
Visit Website

Any out-of-towner should stop at the Hop Sing Laundromat to taste the uniquely crafted cocktails and spirits and experience the aura of exclusivity here.

Located right in Chinatown, this bar serves the best cocktails in Philadelphia.

The cocktails have an unusual mix of ingredients, e.g., flower-infused gin and Vietnamese coffee, but create the best flavors.

In fact, rumor has it that the bar serves the best Pisco sour in Philadelphia. 

Unlike most Philly bars, Hop Sing Laundromat has a set of rules every visitor must adhere to. You must provide an ID for scanning and surrender your mobile phone and hat (if wearing one).

Also, you’re not allowed to take photos at the bar. 


Friday Saturday Sunday

261 S 21st St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-546-4232
Visit Website

Located off Rittenhouse Square, Friday Saturday Sunday is a great hangout spot for people looking for an all-purpose bar.

The joint underwent a massive overhaul after Chad and Hanna Williams decided to take over the Rittenhouse institution.

The spot has since become an American powerhouse serving many cocktails and wines. In fact, you can follow Paul MacDonald, the bartender, to know what’s on the cocktail menu. 

The two-story building boasts plenty of drinking space downstairs, while upstairs is reserved for dinner only.

The marble bar, black and white tiling, and ever-changing cocktail make this bar stand out.


Bob and Barbara’s Lounge

1509 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Phone: (215) 545-4511
Visit Website

Another good place to listen to some live music while you enjoy a couple drinks is Bob and Barbara’s Lounge. Featuring jazz in an upbeat and energetic atmosphere, this is a great spot to unwind.

Known for their wide variety of drinks and low prices, it’s no wonder people love Bob and Barbara’s Lounge. They have everyday specials like $5 beers and more.

Be sure to eat beforehand as they have a very limited food menu. Don’t forget to try their most popular special: $4 for a PBR and a shot of Jim Beam!


Ranstead Room

2013 Ranstead St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-563-3330
Visit Website

Located about half a mile off Ranstead Street (look for the RR logo along the street), Ranstead Room is another great place to try classic cocktail combos.

There are plenty of options to try, from throwbacks like flips and smashes and seasonal mixtures like the winter blend of sloe gin, cognac, lemon, Madeira, and blackberry.

See also  Where to Eat Breakfast this Week in Philly

In addition to the rich cocktail selection, you’re treated to themed food combos thanks to Stephen Starr, a renowned restauranter in the U.S. and overseas.

The bar gets pretty full, and visitors only gain entry when another visitor exits.

Once you’re let in, you’ll be led to an alligator-print barstool or a leather banquette in the dimly-lit barroom and given a list of cocktails to choose from.

You may order straight from the menu or ask the bartender to whip a choice cocktail for you.


Standard Tap

901 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: 215-238-0630
Visit Website

Want to experience Philly’s culture in its entirety? Head to Standard Tap Bar, an entertainment joint that has remained true to the city’s roots.

Located in Northern Liberties, Standard Tap is where you must stop for a glass of draft beer. It has 21 beer varieties served from the tap and two hand pumps daily.

The Standard Tap bar stands out because its beer offerings are locally sourced.

The draft beers are from local farmers and growers based in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.


Johnny Brenda’s

1201 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: (215) 739-9684
Visit Website

If you like music, you’ll love Johnny Brenda’s. Though it’s a bar, this spot doubles as a venue for indie rock artists.

Serving craft beers and small plates in a two-level building, this is a great spot to celebrate after a long week.

With a rotating list of craft draft beers, to-go packs, and seasonal cocktails, you’ll have something new to try every time you go to Johnny Brenda’s. Don’t forget to try their appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees too!


R&D Cocktail Bar

1206 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: 215-515-3452
Visit Website

R&D Cocktail Bar is one spot you must visit if you are looking for the best cocktail bar in Philly.

It recently transformed from a wine bar into a full-fledged cocktail bar hence its new name, R&D Cocktail Bar. 

Its prime location makes it an excellent hangout spot when waiting to dine at Suraya or stroll in the bustling Fishtown neighborhood.

The bar spots deep amber lighting, velvet-like decor, and candles, making it a great place for a first date. 

In addition to the vast selection of cocktails courtesy of barman Aaron Deary, you’ll love the food menu, which changes by season.

You’re treated to tasty bar snacks like smash burgers, bruschetta, lemon-marinated olives, whipped ricotta, and hummus. 


Le Caveau

614 S 7th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
|Phone: 215-625-3700
Visit Website

Le Caveau is another chill-out spot in South Philly. Located above the famous Good King Tavern, the wine bar is a great hangout place for French-inspired wine offerings.

I found the ambiance dark and moody, with inviting hidden corners that could lure you into staying till the last hour, especially when trying its French-inspired wine selection. 

The bar’s wine menu features a mix of French-inspired and non-French wines, comprising natural wines and new discoveries.

They’re great for pairing with wine-friendly bites like chips, French hot dogs, charcuterie, and salted chocolate mousse on Le Caveau’s short snack menu.

You could visit the bar on Tuesday nights for a more flavorful experience when the bar has a monthly themed menu.


Fountain Porter

1601 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Phone: 215-305-8338
Visit Website

If you want a more laid-back place to hang out, head to the Fountain Porter bar. Located on Philly’s South Street, the bar makes a great neighborhood bar with affordable beers and snacks.

You can choose craft beers from 20 varieties, including Rodenbach Sour, PBC Cider, Stillwater Saison, and more served from taps.

There are natural wines, too and you can get burgers for as little as $6. The snack menu is equally tasty as you can choose meats, local pickles, and cheeses for $1.50-$12.


Philadelphia Distilling

25 E Allen St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: 215-671-0346
Visit Website

In addition to producing famous beer varieties like Bluecoat, Penn 1681 Vodka, and Vieux Carré Absinthe, Philadelphia Distilling has a full-fledged bar.

The company sits in a 13000-square-foot warehouse in Fishtown with big hang-out areas.

It opens its doors to the public for tours, but if visiting to take booze, you may head to the patio, bar, or a spacious lounge fitted with leather furniture.

The bartenders will gladly whip a cocktail featuring the company’s signature spirits. 

The bar also has a food menu offering seasonal foods like Philly’s signature Brussels sprouts soaked in balsamic vinegar dish and steak-frites, grain sliders, and pierogies with onion rings. 


1 Tippling Place

2006 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Visit Website

If you’re looking for an exquisite cocktail bar, 1 Tippling Place won’t disappoint you.

Featured as one of the best cocktail bars in the country by Food and Wine Magazine, the bar is known for whipping signature craft cocktails you won’t find elsewhere. 

The bar boasts a lengthy cocktail menu credited to a bartender who the famous Sasha Petraske trained. You can taste pre-Prohibition cocktails and modern blends like the Paper Plane.

Be sure to order the bar’s best sellers- Kilt Lifter ($12), a cocktail made from apple cider, scotch, honey, and lemon, and the Mexican Strawberry cocktail, which contains tequila, lime, strawberry, and mint.


Murph’s Bar

202 E Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: 215-425-1847
Visit Website

This old dive bar still oozes life even after many years of operation. Located in Philly’s Fishtown, this is one place you want to stop for a plate of Italian pasta and a glass of Irish beer or wine.

See also  12 Best Philadelphia BYOB Restaurants to Visit

Initially designed as a bar and Hunting lodge, Murph’s has become a favorite spot for Philly residents who love pasta.

Its long food menu largely contains pasta (80%), while beverages make up 20% of its offerings. You can get some good wine varieties for as low as $6.

Note that Murph’s bar is cash-only, and with only 10-15 tables, you want to arrive early during weekends.


South Philly Tap Room

1509 Mifflin St, Philadelphia, PA 19145
Phone: 215-271-7787
Visit Website

South Philly Taproom has become Newbold’s staple thanks to the vast range of beers served here. It’s one of the neighborhood’s commercial projects that keep it alive. You’re spoilt for choice with close to 14 beer varieties on tap.

The bar has an enormous selection of bottle selections, and the food menu is pretty solid. The vast beer selection is a major draw to the bar, attracting a diverse local crowd.


American Sardine Bar

1800 Federal St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Phone: 215-334-2337
Visit Website

If you’re looking for a cozy place to sip your favorite beer while listening to music, head to the American Sardine bar.

It boasts up to 16 taps and a large variety of beer cans which the bar changes regularly.

What makes this bar stand out is the simple setup in the backyard. Unlike most Philly bars with high stools, the American Sardine bar creates a homey feel by fitting the backyard with lawn chairs and picnic tables.

You’ll also love the food menu, which is a little restrictive but designed to cater to everyone’s taste buds, including vegans.


The Library Bar

210 W Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 546-9000
Visit Website

If you love a good book, you’re going to love The Library Bar. Believe it or not, this spot combines books and drinks in a charming space.

Offering beer, wine, cocktails, and a cozy spot to curl up with a book, this is the perfect place to unwind.

Locals love the high-quality drinks here made by friendly and knowledgeable bartenders you won’t find anywhere else.

This spot may have a bit of a higher price point than others, but reviewers say it’s well worth the delicious drinks!


A.bar

1737 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-825-7035
Visit Website

A.bar is an excellent after-work hangout spot. It’s the sister bar to A.kitchen with a more laid-back look. It’s one of the few wine bars offering organic options in Philadelphia.

In fact, A.bar was featured in the 2022 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Wine Program in the semi-finals.

In addition to wines, A.bar is known for serving cocktails and natural wines made by renowned winemakers.

The crowd here often comprises coworkers, people on first dates, and shoppers who like solo meals during weekends.


Dirty Frank’s

347 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-732-5010
Visit Website

Dirty Frank’s adds to our list of Philly’s best and oldest bars. The bar opened its doors in 1933 and has managed to maintain an admirable presence as one of the best dive bars in the city.

Its low-ceiling, dimly lit space, weathered booths, music playing from a jukebox, and windowless interior attest to its old age. 

It’s conveniently located along Philly’s 13th Street hence a great place to stop while on the Mural Art Philadelphia walking tour.

The crowd here consists of professionals like lawyers, reporters, and regular workers such as sanitation workers, artists, and students, which explains its chilled-out beer list.

You can get beer for as low as $2.50, and you can only pay in cash.


Franky Bradley’s

1320 Chancellor St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-735-0735
Visit Website

If you’re the life of the party, Frank Bradley’s Bar is a good fit. Tucked away on the narrow 13th Street alley in West Philadelphia, this is the place to be if you want to enjoy a drag show, live rock band, or dance the night away.

On any given night, there’s a DJ spinning hit records downstairs. The second floor is wholly dedicated to entertainment and features a variety of shows, including dance parties, burlesque, and drag shows.

As for the drinks, there’s plenty to choose from; wines, beer cans, fruity cocktails like the signature Franky’s Punch, and more. The food menu is pretty solid too.

You can order fries, mac n’ cheese, shrimp scampi, wings, and burgers; the beauty of it is that food is served until midnight.


Good Dog Bar

224 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: (215) 985-9600
Visit Website

Looking for a uniquely-themed bar to try? We recommend Good Dog Bar. With three floors and a dog theme throughout, dog lovers won’t wanna leave this spot.

This place is perfect for mingling, drinking, and admiring cute dog photos.

Serving cocktails, beer, wine, and bar food, Good Dog Bar has everything you need. They have a great draft list as well as cans and bottles, and they offer signature cocktails. For a true Philly experience, you could also order the Philly city-wide special – a beer and a shot of bourbon.

See also  Try These University City Brunch Restaurants ASAP

And if you’re hungry, be sure to have their macaroni and cheese, the Good Dog Burger, or their vegan cheesesteak!


Graffiti Bar

124 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 732-3501
Visit Website

Established in 2010, Graffiti Bar is a unqiue spot you have to try next time you’re in town. With a small, open-air patio, this is great for enjoying the weather and surroundings.

This spot gets its name from the graffitied walls surrounding it.

Graffiti Bar serves Asian cuisine as well as cocktails and other drinks. Check out their tasty food menu and order an appetizer or two.

Be sure to stop by for happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every day!


McGillin’s Olde Ale House

1310 Drury St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-735-5562
Visit Website

McGillin’s Olde Ale House is Philly’s most visited bar and for a good reason. The large screens streaming games, two fireplaces, and long tables create a homey feel that draws large groups of people here.

This bar is also one of Philly’s oldest bars, having only changed hands between two families- the Spaniak, who still run it, and the McGillins, the original owners. 

The menu is largely beer-centric, boasting more than 30 varieties on tap. And if you want to partake of this old bar’s long history, try one of the three house beers- the McGillin’s 1860 IPA, McGillin’s Real Lager, the McGillin’s Ale. 


Ray’s “Happy Birthday” Bar

1200 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: 215-365-1169
Visit Website

Wondering why this bar has such a unique name? History has it that the owner, Ray Anthony, would greet everyone who walked into the bar with, Happy Birthday!

If he said it 365 days, it would be somebody’s birthday eventually. This habit saw this dive bar christened Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar.

The bar carries on the culture, occasionally celebrating visitors’ birthdays with a free cake with a candle. You’re also treated to a birthday shot served at the long oak bar.

And if you’re celebrating it on the 1st or 3rd Tuesday of the month, it’s an opportunity to participate in the open mic night. The dive bar also holds karaoke every Friday.


Xfinity Live! Philadelphia

1100 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Phone: 215-372-7000
Visit Website

Xfinity Live! Philadelphia is one place you want to hang out with the boys while cheering on your favorite team.

Located at the corner of 11th Street, South Philadelphia, it’s one of the largest sports bars in Philadelphia. The bar is just a few miles from Citizens Bank Pak and sits on an 80,000-square-foot area.

This vast space doubles up as an entertainment spot and dining area. In fact, it has five different venues- the Broad Street Bullies Pub, A Coors Banquet Bar, 1100 Social, Victory Beer Hall, and NBC Sports Arena leaving you spoilt for choice.

The food and drinks menu is equally satisfying as there are many options.


Attic Brewing Company

137 Berkeley St, Philadelphia, PA 19144
Phone: 267-748-2495
Visit Website

Although the bar is pretty young, it has made a name in Philly’s saturated bar scene. It has won two prestigious awards in three years—the 2022 Readers’ Favorite Local Brewery and a medal at the Great American Festival.

But it’s clear why the brewing company stands out. It has some of the best craft beers most of which are German-inspired.

It’s strategically located in Philly’s Germantown neighborhood, which makes up most of its clientele.

The brewery has an 85-seat taproom and an outdoor beer garden that can accommodate up to 250 people.

A typical day at the brewery involves ordering your favorite beer, listening to live music, and enjoying food from the food trucks.


Grace & Proper

941 S 8th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Visit Website

Are you looking for a Philly joint with a Portuguese flair? Head to Grace and Proper Bar. Designed to blend the New and the Old World, the bar brings vibrant European and Portuguese culture near you.

Grace and Proper is big on crafts, wines, seasonal drinks, technique-driven cocktails, and other beer versions, all curated to make you feel like you’re in Portugal.

The wine portions are pretty generous (6 oz), and you can choose from tasty Douros to vinho verdes to the lesser-known indigenous varieties. 

In addition to the beverages, there’s a Portuguese-inspired food menu consisting of meat, cheese, bread, and espresso served with pastries.


Midnight Iris

1708 Lombard St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Phone: 215-515-5336
Visit Website

Initially known as Keen, Midnight Iris has become quite the sensation in Philly. The bar’s owners, Chris and Caitlin, needed a name that resonated with the bar’s new look, and Midnight Iris fit the bill perfectly.

The bar comes alive at night (Midnight) and embodies the Greek God, Iris. 

With the new name came a new drink menu consisting of pea-infused vodka and cocktails and a food menu consisting of shrimp, flatbread, and salad.

In addition to entertaining people at night, Midnight Iris is a popular wedding venue thanks to its spacious dining area, living room, and main bar, which can accommodate up to 60 people.


Are you already thinking about your next night out? I definitely am. With so many fun bars to choose from, you may even want to spend every weekend on the town. From refined spots with jazz to classic dive bars, there are so many unique places in Philadelphia. Each bar in Philly is great for a random weekend out, or for celebrating Halloween, New Year’s Eve or a Christmas Bar Crawl.

Which bar will you go to first? Let us know! Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you mention it below and we’ll check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.