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Bok Bar is Back and Better in 2020

by Angelique Platas

Aug 5, 2020

Photo: Angelique Platas

Travel Tips

After months of makeshift get-togethers and socially distant hangs, some friends and I were able to make dinner reservations at Bok Bar in South Philadelphia to celebrate an engagement, a birthday and a new move.


Bok Bar. Photo: Angelique Platas

On a good day, or year, rooftop space in Philadelphia is everything — add in a global pandemic, closed bars, strange hours and new normal approaches to everything and this open-air night was sheer bliss.


Anyone who’s been to Bok Bar in the summer knows you’re going to wait to get in, cram with 15 strangers in the elevator to the roof, muscle your way to the bar and struggle to find anywhere to stand (you definitely won’t find a place to sit) with a view — not this year. The socially distanced Bok Bar of 2020 is the summer rooftop experience you want, and even more family-friendly.

Once you check in for your reservation, the host asks a few questions about recent travel and any possible symptoms. Then, your party moves to the elevator where you ride up with just your group (notice how there was no mention of a line). Once on the roof, another hostess shows you to your table along the edge, shrouded in foliage to offer some privacy for guests, while showcasing unobstructed views of a city — a near impossibility last year.


No crowds, just masked servers taking orders, and delivering drinks and elevated pub-style food — think short rib rolls with fries and salmon sandwiches. Guests scan the code taped to the table with their smartphone camera to see the menu, and then download the Rooam app to start a tab. All ordering still goes through the server, but the payment process is contactless.


Bok Bar. Photo: Angelique Platas


Once seated, guests can remove their masks, but must wear them anytime they stand or go to the bathroom.


Heads up, the menu is limited. As a vegetarian, I truly never have trouble finding something on any city menu, but this particular night was tough — just four options for dinner and one dessert, sweet potato cheesecake. Acquaint yourself with the menu, events and restaurant-featured nights for a better idea of the food situation before planning your visit.


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