“This is a city that knows how to drink.
That knows how to drink well. And we owe a lot of that to our bars — the drinking establishments that are very good at what they do, that keep up with trends (or know when to ignore them), that pour bottles of murky natural wines or brew refermented beer in alleyways. And while the drink world is constantly in flux, there are bars that really stick out. Bars that seem like they’ll shine forever, from the newbies doing everything right, to the dives and haunts that never seem to do anything wrong. So, this here list? It’s for all you cork dorks. You hop-heads and cocktail enthusiasts. For the serious boozing class of this serious drinking city.”
The Best Cocktail and Wine Bars
Bloomsday sits like a welcoming pub overtaken by wine nerds, beer-bottle philosophers and cocktail alchemists. It’s a place where all the deep thinking on booze — its provenance, its footprint, its utility, its charm — comes to a sharp point, with Kelsey Bush and Zach Morris from Green Engine Coffee and notable wine guy Tim Kweeder putting together lists upon lists of faraway pét-nats, local ciders and smart cocktails for all hours of the night (and day). With its all-day cafe format, solid kitchen and Euro-mod space, it’s the perfect example of evolved drinking and thoughtful consumption — a place made for 2019, designed to be ready for whatever 2020 brings. 414 South 2nd Street, Society Hill.
The Best Neighborhood Bars
Bright, weird, cluttered, occasionally sticky — the place looks like a craft store exploded inside, but it’s full of cool people, great beer, fun food, and unusual cocktails that all defy logical description. 530 South Street, Queen Village.
There are a couple of Cav’s in Philly. There’s the one in University City that’s always so full of youth and raucousness. There’s the one in Center City, tucked away on Sansom Street, a late-night draw for the Rittenhouse community of restaurant-industry workers. There’s the River Deck on Columbus Boulevard, which, as a deck, is very much its own thing. And then there’s the Cav’s on Headhouse Square, which operates mostly as, like, a bar … a neighborhood watering hole, no more, no less. It’s cavernous, multiple stories high, with seven different rooms (each of them offering slightly different moods and vibes) and a staff that knows its regulars well. 421 South 2nd Street, Society Hill.
The Best Restaurant Bars
Good King Tavern
You come here for simple French things done really well: perfect bar food, all the natural wine you could ever dream of, and a focused cocktail list that never quits.614 South 7th Street, Bella Vista.
The Best Brewery and Distillery Bars
Hale & True
For a long time, these folks were schlepping their cider door-to-door and from event to event. But now, they’ve got their own taproom where they can show off their straight-from-the-orchard PA ciders (plus some local beers and spirits) and a short menu of snacks done in collaboration with Good King Tavern. 613 South 7th Street, Bella Vista.