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Old-School Philly Bar Scene

by Angelique Platas

Aug 26, 2018

© Dibrova | Dreamstime.com

Adult Children

Through the ever-evolving phases of the child-to-parent relationship, the moment when you can enjoy a drink and ambiance is pinnacle. Once adults, we begin to look at our parents as confidants we respect and less like our boss, hence the shared camaraderie over a stylish cocktail hour. Luckily, Philadelphia has the scene set for you. Step into chic bars filled with old-world luxury touches and relaxed atmospheric lounges drinks, décor and a memorable experience with your mini-you, all grown up.


The City of Brotherly Love has long exuded a rough-rider, beer-drinking, working-man’s town littered with hole-in-the-wall bars and historic establishments. While always fun, step into the light and enjoy a refreshing cocktail at Philadelphia Distilling Company. Debuted in 2005, Philadelphia Distilling was the first craft distillery in Pennsylvania since the Prohibition Era.


Located on Allen Street, the Fishtown establishment is a fun departure from the bustle of Center City and offers floor to ceiling windows of the outside and Bluecoat Gin production facility within. Once greeted by the well-dressed host, find your seats at the bar with a view or spread out on the leather couches like a swanky writer’s living room.


Nestled in a quiet corner of the Gayborhood, Writer’s Block Rehab boasts a literary theme, complete with library-esque décor in a relaxing setting. Choose between the building’s three floors for a cozy place to sit down and sip a crafty cocktail with the “kids.” Look a bit closer at the busy wallpaper and you’ll see the hidden names of famous authors you can brag about reading to the kids or listen as they pick out their favorite.


Speakeasy’s have made a comeback and, conveniently, Philadelphia has two worth visiting. Hop Sing Laundromat opened in 2012 and sits behind an unmarked gate along Race Street. With an eclectic Chinatown-lounge vibe, the space’s high ceilings and mood lighting sits in contrast of the fun fruit drinks served within. One old-school aspect you may like: There is a no-photos policy inside the bar, so the phones (almost) go away.


The next speakeasy-style bar you may want to try is The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company — yes, it’s really a bar. You may walk right by it as the name actually comes from an infamous South Philly mobster’s cover business. Between the two floors you have a choice: Sit garden-level for dark ambiance and mixed drinks, or head to The Upstairs Tiki for island vibes, beers and classic mixes.


Head to the Oyster House on Sansom Street for fine cocktails and seafood. Enjoy friendly service in a family-owned establishment. Might we suggest a gin drink? The Oyster House bar has more than 50 varieties.


Enjoy Old and New Testament drinks at The Thirsty Soul. The South Philly establishment nods to religious themes with church pew-style seating and even a confession booth. If you’re feeling hungry, the Southern-style fare will keep you satisfied with comfort-food throwbacks like jambalaya mac-n-cheese and fried chicken.


Not really a “cocktail” family? Check out Dock Street Cannery + Lounge. This craft-beer lounge has all the basics with a few wildcards. Slinging craft brews since its opening in 1985, the Dock Street Brewery and Cedar Park brewpub and restaurant blend the art of fine beer, cocktails and everything in between for all sorts of drinks.


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