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May 21, 2014

Now Open: HipCityVeg Owner Nicole Marquis Opens A Chic Midtown Village Vegan Cocktail Bar, Charlie Was A Sinner

Adding to the neighborhoods's already-awesome restaurant scene, sophisticated vegan bar Charlie was a sinner. is now open in Midtown Village. (Photo and design by Mike Smith)

According to GQ magazine’s food authority Alan Richman, “the vegetable era has arrived,” and a new breed of restauranteurs in Philadelphia are doing their part to usher in the age of the veggie and make green eating, well, sexy.

Uber-popular vegan mecca HipCityVeg expanded its mini-chain of bustling fast-casual spots with a new location in University City in 2013 to join its always-bustling Rittenhouse sister.

Now, owner Nicole Marquis takes her vegan-dining concepts beyond quick eats and elevates her plant-based eating-and-drinking service with the opening of Charlie was a sinner., an edgy vegan bar in Midtown Village.

Joining the already-dynamic dining scene on 13th Street, Charlie was a sinner. (yes, the name of the bar and restaurant is written as a sentence, period and all) breathes life into the long-shuttered space at 131 S. 13th Street, just next door to Vintage Wine Bar.

An all-day and late-night concept, the doors open early for coffee in the morning and remain open into the wee hours for cocktails, mocktails and vegan small plates.

A deep list of classic and creative cocktails, all $12, anchors the menu and includes fresh takes on classics like the Sazerac (dubbed Battle New Orleans) and Manhattan (order the East of Eden), and a fun nod to the healthy dining scene with a wheatgrass shot spiked with green chartreuse (go for it).

Pair cocktails with bites from a curated menu of all-vegan snacks. Ranging from $7 to $12, the menu moves from salads and toasts to grilled and roasted items, including the likes of potato croquettes, Korean-fried tofu, grilled leeks with romesco sauce and a smoky tofu and bean sausage.

Sweets can top tables, too, and apple fritters or chocolate cake should come alongside a selection from the nice after-dinner drinks, a Stumptown coffee or a signature blend from House of Tea.

With its long, narrow layout, the space promises an intimate eating-and-drinking experience, whether patrons sit in the lounge towards the front, at the center bar or at one of the tables or along the banquette in the back of the restaurant.

Dark woods, bright blue walls, playful trimmings and dim after-dark lighting do bring to mind a den of iniquity, but with the healthful eats and practically divine spirits, we’re betting patrons depart from Charlie was a sinner. feeling virtuous.

Now Open: Charlie was a sinner.
When: Daily, 8 a.m.-late night
Where: 131 S. 13th Street
Cost: Pay as you go
More info:

(Photo Credit: Mike Smith,

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