with cheese wiz and fried onions. You have to order quickly because there’s always a line at Geno’s. There’s always a line at Pat’s King of Steaks too. That famous cheesesteak eatery is located on the south corner of this intersection.
That’s right, the two best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia (as well as the world) are located at the same intersection. Tonight you picked Geno’s because the coin came up heads. Next time you’ll try Pat’s or maybe both.
Even though it’s early in the morning you were in desperate need of a late night snack. After all, you just spent the entire evening (and some of the morning) exploring everything there is to do at night in Philadelphia.
Well, not everything. The City Of Brotherly Love offers so many options for night time fun—from cocktails to live music, from neighborhood bars to bowling alleys—that’s there’s no way you could see and do everything in just one evening (and some of the morning).
Besides its vast selection, Philadelphia also offers convenient. Depending on the area you choose, you can spend the entire evening in one neighborhood walking (hopefully not stumbling) from one hot spot to the next.
For you, this particular night started with dinner at a daring and dashing restaurant called 10 Arts. Located inside the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia Hotel, at the corner of Broad and Chestnut Streets, the elegant 10 Arts is the product of world-renowned Chef Eric Riper.
The cuisine is American and the atmosphere is urbane, especially with its beautifully white-marble architecture. While it’s an expensive restaurant they are sensitive to their patrons’ pocketbooks and this down economy. Monday through Wednesday if the stock market is up, 10 Arts will help you celebrate with 25 percent off their appetizers. If the market is down, they will help you drown your sorrows with 25 percent off their drinks.
After dining at 10 Arts, you and your party shuffled over to the World Café Live on 3025 Walnut Street. There you listened to great live music in their 300-seat bistro-style music hall.
The atmosphere was bright, cheerful and the café’s metropolitan flair was conducive for both appetizers and drinks. Of course you were still full from your 10 Arts experience so you just had a cocktail or three.
After the World Café Live it was off to Johnny Brenda’s. This famous Philly night spot is positioned at 1201 Frankford Avenue. While large, it’s not quite as big as the World Café, Johnny Brenda’s seats only 250 music lovers. Live bands, mostly from the indie scene, rock this joint five nights a week.
The menu at Johnny Brenda’s is written on a chalkboard because it changes several times throughout the course of the day. You were in luck during your visit and were able to order their grilled octopus. It’s definitely a must try dish.
Listening to all that music made your and friends quite thirsty, so you all decided to do a little bar hopping. Your first destination was Bob and Barbara's. Located on 1509 South Street, B&B is the perfect dive bar.
You can enjoy beer or a cocktail at Bob and Barbara's while listening to live music. Everything is played on their stage, from funk to jazz, from rock to pop. Tonight you were in luck as Nate Wiley and the Crowd Pleasers were on hand playing their self-described “liquor-drinking music.”
The best part of Bob and Barbara’s is their racially diverse, gay and straight crowds. Everyone is welcome at this colorful venue.
After tossing back a few, it was off to Grace Tavern. Located at 2229 Grays Ferry Avenue, this drinking establishment is one of the best bars in Philadelphia.
This bar’s ceiling and walls are decorated in sublime tin tile giving the space a cozy and welcoming feel. Their kitchen is opened until 2 a.m. but you’re just here for one final drink, that perfect pint of Guinness. After savoring every last drop, and closing down the bar, you and your brood decide it’s time for a cheesesteak run.
As you’re consuming your Geno’s cheesesteak you realize that you have yet to touch the surface of all the night time fun Philadelphia has to offer. You plan right then and there that the next time you go out you won’t gallivant all over town (with the services of a designated driver of course) but you’ll stay in one neighborhood.
For instance the Northern Liberties neighborhood, situated north of Spring Garden Street to the south of Girard Avenue, is full of restaurants, bars and taverns that attract active and artsy crowds.
On North 3rd Street you’ll find the popular bar and restaurant called North Third. Their burgers are terrific and they have a great fried calamari.
Bar Ferdinand is a hip tapas bar serving over 50 authentic Spanish wines. Located on 1030 North Second Street, the always enjoyable Ferdinand is both versatile and reasonably price.
It’s 21,000 square feet of pure fun. North Bowl and its 17 lanes are located at 909 North 2nd Street. Also in residence are two full bars, an upstairs lounge with Italian sofas, pool tables and an arcade. You might have to wait for a lane but it’s worth it.
The Northern Liberties neighborhood also has dancing. Silk City, 5th and Arch Street, has been called “the hottest party in town” by the New York Times. Often categorized as a diner/restaurant/bar/nightclub hybrid, Silk City is a fun, cool and safe place to go and boogie.
If you’re seeking more sophistication, Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus can be found at 847 North 3rd Street. You’ll find the city’s best jazz playing there nightly in this welcoming and accessible club.
Situated between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, south of Spring Garden and north of South Street, is part of Philadelphia called Center City. And it has everything one needs for a great night out.
On 1709 Walnut Street you’ll find the upscale and elegant Alfa Restaurant and Bar. Its dinner menu features international flavors as well as your traditional bar fare.
Above Alfa is the Walnut Room. Here you can relax in swanky style or dance on their swanky dance floor. Whatever you choose to do in the Walnut Room you will definitely be doing it in something that’s swanky.
A couple of blocks away is another upstairs-downstairs combination, Le Bar Lyonnais and Le Bec Fin. Le Bar is an intimate French bistro with great cocktails and a cozy atmosphere. But don’t tell anyone you’re going there, Le Bar is one of the best kept secrets in the city.
Le Bec Fin is a posh and stylish French restaurant. Both these establishment call 1523 Walnut Street home.
There’s plenty of other unique and inviting bars to visit in Center City.
Bar Noir (112 South 18th Street) has a real 1950’s feel with its tiny circular tables and its film noir posters.
If you visit the ultra cool Devil’s Alley Bar and Grill (1907 Chestnut Street) make sure you try their spicy dry rub grilled chicken wings. They are to die for.
The legendary Happy Rooster (118 South 16th Street), with its brass fixtures, leather upholstery, and dark Brazilian Rosewood, provides a charming and alluring ambiance for their fun-loving patrons.
At night the Loie Bistro and Bar (128 South 19th Street), turns into a neighborhood dance party with a DJ spinning tunes until 2 a.m.
Finally, there’s the Good Dog Bar (224 South 15th Street). Since its kitchen is open until 1am, this cozy bar is a great place to end the evening. They’re known far and wide for their Roquefort-stuffed Good Dog burger.
Old City is another neighborhood destination for those looking for some fun Philadelphia nightlife. This is the original Philadelphia neighborhood and it lies south of Vine Street, north of Pine Street, and east of 7th Street. For our purposes, we care about 2nd and 3rd streets, as well as Chestnut, that’s where we’ll find the bars, restaurants and all the happening night spots.
One of Old City’s most unique establishments is the Natural Mechanics Bar and Restaurant located at 22 South 3rd Street. They have more than 15 beers on draught and you can make-your-own bloody Mary’s.
Check out Natural Mechanics’ “exotic” menu: corn dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell's tomato soup, and the "Frito Taco Extravaganza." The “Extravaganza” is a split-open bag of Frito's covered with chili and cheddar cheese.
In stark contrast to the homely feel of The Natural Mechanics is 32° found at 16 South 2nd Street. At the upscale 32° you’ll find European bottle service and drinks served in glasses made of ice. Sleek, luxurious, decadence, stylish are all words used to describe 32°.
While 32° is a subtle excursion into opulence, Cuba Libre is a playful slap to the backside. Found at 10 South 2nd Street, Cuba Libre offers fun seekers a chance to feel and experience Old Havana. Still, it’s a delicious contemporary Cuban restaurant with a bar that offers over 60 rums. We recommend that you don’t try them all in one visit.
Amada, which means “loved one" in Spanish and is located at 217 Chestnut Street, is a popular and entertaining establishment that mixes a traditional Spanish tapas bar with a trendy Bohemian vibe.
Hanging over the bar, and adding nuance, are several18-month-cured jamones, or Spanish hams. The bar serves famous Pedro Almodovar-themed cocktails. Apparently, the ‘Bad Education’, an orange mojito, is frequently ordered. You should give it a try and see if you can stop at just one.
If you can swing it, visit Amada on a Wednesday or a Friday evening, that’s when they host traditional Flamenco performances. These captivating and exciting performances bring quite an energy to the restaurant.
If you’re looking for live music visit 56 South 2nd Street. That’s where you’ll find The Khyber, the destination for those wishing to hear great live music from local and national artists. This hip establishment dates all the way back to the 19th century. If you don’t see the bar when you first walk in don’t panic, it’s upstairs.
If you need to sit down, have a beer, and maybe catch your breath, visit Sugar Mom’s at 225 Church Street. You can not only smoke inside but they have tons of seating options.
West of Broad Street, between Girard Avenue and Spring Garden Streets is the Fairmont area of Philadelphia. The Fairmont area is home to several bars and restaurants, including the London Grill, The Bishop’s Collar and the Urban Saloon.
Located at 2301 Fairmount Avenue, the London Grill is a great place to get a burger or an order of fish and chips. Their beer selection is second to none featuring Flying Fish “Hopfish” India Pale Ale, Stoudt’s Willie Sutton Lager, and Victory Prima Pilsner, just to name a few.
The carefree and effusive Bishop’s Collar, 2349 Fairmount Avenue, has a good beer selection as well and is a nice place to relax with friends. The bar is situated in one long and narrow room. Needless to say this neighborhood tavern has a lot of character.
At 2120 Fairmount Avenue, you’ll find the good beer, the wide open spaces and the nice atmosphere of The Urban Saloon. They also have a restaurant with a full dinner menu featuring fine American cuisine.
Finally, there are a few other places, outside of the aforementioned neighborhoods, that you’ll want to visit. The Royal Tavern, on 937 East Passyunk Avenue, has great burgers, buffalo chicken wings and a famous vegan sloppy Joe. A real home town bar, the Royal also specializes in local brews like Victory, Yards and Dogfish Head.
Tria, 1137 Spruce Street, is the place to go to for hard-to-find cheeses and succulent wines (they also have craft beer). This sophisticated bar doesn’t serve mixed drinks and they don’t take reservation.
As you can see the city of Philadelphia is teeming with things to do at night. Depending on your mood, you can spend the entire evening (and some of the morning) exploring one neighborhood or you can spend the entire night (and some of the morning) visiting establishments spread throughout the city.
Regardless of whether you stick to just one neighborhood or you traverse the city, you have at your disposal a wealth of night time options: sophisticated pubs, groovy dance clubs, great beer halls and neighborhood watering holes.
However, the absolute best part about going out at night in Philadelphia is finishing your evening with a cheesesteak. After all, Geno’s and Pat’s are always open.
Copyright 2009 PhiladelphiaSmarts