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Sophisticated Philadelphia Cocktail Bars for Hand Crafted Drinks

We all know that Philly is a great place for food, drinks, and nightlife. Bars and clubs can be the perfect spot from time to time, but occasionally, you just want to grab a couple of drinks in a quiet, relaxed spot.

group of friends enjoying their time at a bar while drinking cocktails in philadelphia

When that’s the case, I recommend going to a cocktail bar. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of my favorite cocktail bars in town.

So, no matter what kind of drinks you like or atmosphere you’re in the mood for, you’ll find the perfect place on this list.

With some secluded and intimate spots and other bars with more casual or upbeat vibes, there’s a little bit of everything on this list. Keep reading to learn more about each bar!


Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Ranstead Room

2013 Ranstead St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-563-3330
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One of my favorite cocktail bars in Philadelphia is the Ranstead Room. It’s on Ranstead Street, just a block east of the Mütter Museum and north of Helium Comedy Club, making it a great spot to get a drink after sightseeing or taking in a show.

The exterior looks like a nondescript dive, but inside is a luxurious speakeasy. It has low lighting and sleek red booths, though I prefer to sit on a comfortable swivel stool at the bar.

Their signature cocktails are twists on classics like a daiquiri or old-fashioned, but my go-to is In, Out & Gone with pineapple juice, lime, and passionfruit mixed with absinthe.


The Library Bar

210 W Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 546-9000
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A more unique spot to grab a cocktail in town is The Library Bar. This bar, as you may imagine, is entirely library themed, so you can enjoy a book and a drink in the same spot. Offering beer, wine, and cocktails, you’ll find everything you need here.

With plenty of glowing reviews about the friendly and knowledgeable bar tenders at this place – it’s no wonder the drinks here are such high-quality. Though the drinks here are a bit more expensive than others, locals say they’re worth the extra cash!


The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company

1715 Schubert Aly, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 267-892-4557
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The name of this bar made me scratch my head on my first visit. It didn’t help that the location has an unmarked entrance.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but once I found my way into the Franklin, I was immediately swept up in the classy, speakeasy vibe.

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It’s just a block from Rittenhouse Square, open seven days a week. The website is just as sparse as the entrance, so you’ll have to take my word on the best drinks to order.

I always love Parking Lot Scuffle with Tanqueray gin, apple cider, honey, and cinnamon tincture.


1 Tippling Place

2006 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
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Looking for a classy spot for a cocktail? Check out 1 Tippling Place. Focusing on innovative cocktails and seasonal drinks, you’ll always have something new to try here.

When you want to get away from the craziness of other bars, this is the perfect spot due to its parlor-like setting and laid-back atmosphere.

With classic cocktails all year round and modern twists for each season, you’ll find your new favorite drink here.

In addition to cocktails, they serves beer, wine, and a few small plates if you’re feeling hungry!


R&D Cocktail Bar

1206 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: (215) 515-3452
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Winning best cocktail bar in Philly, you won’t want to miss R&D Cocktail Bar. This local cocktail bar serves drinks as well as a few small dishes. R&D is housed in a chic yet sophisticated interior perfect for enjoying some time with a friend or date.

R&D’s drink menu is quite extensive, so no matter what your taste is like, you’ll be able to find something delicious.

Be sure to try the paloma milk punch, hot mulled cosmo, saturn, or lucky denver mint!


Friday Saturday Sunday

261 S 21st St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-546-4232
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Friday Saturday Sunday is a few blocks east of the Schuylkill River, halfway between Schuylkill River Park and Rittenhouse Square.

It’s right on the corner of South 21st Street and Rittenhouse Square, making it impossible to miss, especially compared to some of the unmarked speakeasies on the list.

Despite the name, the bar is open Wednesday through Sunday. My favorite cocktails include the Assassin’s Handbook with Jamaican rum and cognac and Orange Catholic with vodka and prosecco.

There’s a dining room upstairs for when I want dinner to soak up the alcohol. This level is only open on the titular days, but the tasting menu is worth scheduling this stop.


Philadelphia Distilling

25 E Allen St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: 215-671-0346
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Philadelphia Distilling is in an old factory on East Allen Street, right off I-95. It’s in the same area as Brooklyn Bowl and the Fillmore, across from Punch Line Philly.

Any time I go to a show at these places, I make a stop at Philadelphia Distilling.

I’ve toured the distillery, which is a fun way to learn about what’s in the cocktails. My favorite is the Bull Dog Reviver, made with pineapple and lime juices mixed with dry gin.

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The bartenders use locally-sourced natural fruits and herbs for garnish to give each drink an upscale finish.


The Good King Tavern

614 S 7th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: 215-625-3700
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The Good King Tavern is a classy French restaurant that serves delicious cocktails. It’s on the corner of South 7th and Kater Streets, blocks away from Cianfrani Park.

There’s a long patio around the front of the building, which is one of my favorite places to sit and sip a drink while experiencing Philadelphia.

Penicillin 75 is one of their best drinks, mixing scotch and sparkling wine with a hint of ginger and lemon, sure to cure anything that ails me.

But the Malvasia Sour is also delicious and light, as it’s orange wine with a hint of fresh citrus.


Charlie was a sinner.

131 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (267) 758-5372
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Another great cocktail bar with plenty of cuisine options is Charlie was a sinner in Philadelphia. As a cafe and a bar plant-based dishes, this is the perfect spot to try something new. Housed in a sleek and dark interior, you’ll have no problem unwinding here.

Charlie was a sinner offers signature cocktails and classic cocktails as well as some beer and wine. Try out the blue hawaiian, floradora, pisces season, or done and dusted.

Don’t forget to head over for happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday!


Martha

2113 E York St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: 215-867-8881
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Martha is a trendy place to grab a hoagie in the East Kensington neighborhood. It’s always full of locals, which is how I know it’s a great restaurant.

Though it looks casual, the bartender makes fancy cocktails with local fruits, flowers, and herbs.

Mojo’s Jojo is my favorite vodka-based drink, brightened up with mango and passionfruit. But it’s fun to order a Juicy Lucifer—try to say it after you have a drink!

The blood orange and whiskey spritz is refreshing and strong. Martha also serves plenty of local beers on draft or in cans.


Irwin’s

800 Mifflin St, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Phone: 215-693-6206
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Irwin’s is on the 8th floor of the Bok building between South 8th and 9th Streets. It has huge windows and plenty of plants inside, making me feel like I’m getting close to nature even when I’m having a cocktail in the evening.

My favorite is Sherry Sherry Baby, with Manzanilla sherry, concord grape, and orange mixed together into a delicious fruity drink.

While I usually go to Irwin’s for cocktails, it’s also a great place for dinner. Chef Michael Vincent Ferreri was one of Philadelphia’s Star Chefs in 2019, so I always get a delicious order of handmade pasta when I dine in.

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a.bar

1737 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 825-7035
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If you’re looking for a great cocktail bar but are feeling a bit hungry too? a.bar doubles as a kitchen serving cocktails, beer, wine, and New American cuisine.

This spot focuses on seasonal ingredients and is housed in a upscale interior.

Choose from delicious cocktails and other drinks at a.bar. We recommend the total landscaping or it’s tee time somewhere.

Be sure to stop by for happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday for $1 off select cocktails and beer!


The Olde Bar

125 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215-253-3777
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The Olde Bar is blocks from the Delaware River, so I stop by after visiting the nearby Independence Seaport Museum or Museum of the American Revolution.

The exterior features the original bookbinder’s tiling and gives me a hint of the interior decor. It’s a classy saloon with seafood and a raw bar, but my favorite things are the cocktails. 

Bee’s Knees is a great cocktail with a hint of dry sweetness. It includes gin with raw honey, lemon, and lavender bitters.

When I want something fruity, I choose the Siesta, which mixes tequila, Campari, and citrus. They also have an extensive wine menu and plenty of local beer on draft.


Writer’s Block Rehab

1342 Cypress St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (267) 603-6960

Keeping with the theme of books and writing is Writer’s Block Rehab. This bar has more of a lounge atmosphere, so it’s great for blowing off some team after a long day.

With couches, chandeliers, drinks, and snacks, you’ll never want to leave this bar.

Writer’s Block Rehab serves an impressive variety of cocktails, so you’ll have plenty to try. Be sure to try the mymosa, when in drag, passion has red lips, or not a night cap.

If you’re feeling snacky, don’t forget to order a cheese or charcuterie board!


JG Sky High

1 N 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-419-5059
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After enjoying the fountain and gardens at Logan Square, I head a few blocks south to JG Sky High at the corner of North 19th and Arch Streets.

The bar is on the 60th floor of the Four Seasons hotel, as I guessed from the name.

Their cucumber martini is light and fresh with a hint of cucumber and lemon. I love the unique taste of their vodka thyme lemonade, but when I want something stronger, I order the Mariposa.

This drink has Diablada pisco, hibiscus, lime, and Tahitian vanilla. They also serve wine and beer, including a few local brews.


As you can see, Philadelphia has some amazing options when it comes to bars – especially those that focus on cocktails.

And with different atmospheres at each spot, you’ll always have the perfect place to go for drinks, even to celebrate on a holiday like Christmas Eve and New Year’s.

Which bar are you most excited to try? Let us know! Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you mention it below and we’ll check it out!

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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.