Shopping, dining, and drinking, Midtown Village is exploding with restaurants, bars, and retail of all sorts. Just when we think that the neighborhood couldn’t possibly open another place, a new spot opens its doors. This season, the neighborhood’s latest addition will be Tiki, set to open this spring in the former Roof Deck space at 13th and Drury streets.
While there are indeed some coming-soon spots to this great neighborhood, a number of the bars in Midtown Village are tried-and-true favorites that have called 13th Street home for decades. We’re talking about you, Fergie’s Pub and McGillin’s Olde Ale House. In recent years — and even months — the area has seen a food-and-drink boom with the addition of popular spots like Tredici Enoteca, Charlie was a sinner, Double Knot and more.
13th Street’s bars and restaurants make Midtown Village an ideal place to be if you want to start the evening with happy hour and end it with a nightcap. Whether you’re a cocktail drinker, a sake snob, a wine lover or just somebody looking for a cold beer, there’s literally something for everyone in Midtown Village.
This list is just a sampling of the great bars that Midtown Village has to offer. Most of the bars on this list are right on — or just a few steps away from — 13th Street, but there are plenty of great bars in the neighborhood beyond these parameters, too.
Do you have a favorite place to enjoy drinks in Midtown Village? Let us know in the comments below!
For some, sitting at Tredici’s beautiful marble-topped bar would be a pleasure even if there weren’t exciting wines to drink and lamb chops to nibble. Surely though, the wines help. Their main by-the-glass list includes nearly 20 wines, available either as a half or full glass, and a generous one at that. In addition, the bar’s six-bottle Cruvinet system allows pours of more impressive (expensive) bottles by the glass as well. Recently, that's included a 100-percent pinot noir rosé by Godon in the Loire Valley and the 2013 Penfolds Bin389, a shiraz-cabernet blend from a beloved Australian producer. In addition to wine, the bar is known for its carefully curated menu of specialty cocktails.
Drury Beer Garden
If you manage to get a crowd of friends together and want a place to enjoy a beer in the sunshine, get yourselves to Drury Beer Garden. Think of this as Opa’s casual backyard, a sweet little courtyard with long wooden tables and a succinct but thorough menu of brew-perfect food: pretzels and mustard, a roasted pork-belly sandwich, and, naturally, a burger. Want to go all out? Rent a table for six ahead of time and $36 per person gets you roast suckling pig, lemon thyme potatoes, braised greens, house-made bread and a case of beer.
Drury Beer Garden
It would be easy to miss Graffiti Bar, Michael Schulson’s open-air bar on the patio behind Sampan. Make your way down a narrow, graffiti-painted alley, though, and you’ll be rewarded with summery drinks in a colorful setting. Sip on easy-drinking cocktails for warm weather like the Ming Mule, a minty ginger combo served in a mason jar, a Dirty Arnold Palmer, or the fishbowl cocktails served with multiple straws for sharing. To eat? Bao, fried rice, dumplings and anything else you desire from the Sampan menu.
Double Knot’s dinner menu will have you struggling to choose between the grilled offerings from the robatayaki menu, Chef Kevin Yanaga’s flawless sushi and sashimi menu, and Michael Schulson’s mouth-watering dinner menu as well. Add to that a staggering collection of sake in six different styles and fun, interactive cocktails like the Bimini Twist — shochu with lime, grapefruit, or blood orange juice that you squeeze yourself — and Double Knot is making a place for itself as one of the most fun new places for drinking in Philly. Looking to recover after the fact? Stop in during the day for expertly pulled espresso drinks and, for a hair-of-the-dog option, the line-up of coffee cocktails.
Charlie was a sinner.
While you won’t find frothy egg white or anything with cream on the menu at Charlie was a sinner, you’ll never notice that they’re not there. Instead, this vegan cocktail bar serves up both classic and signature drinks that stand up to the best in town. Since you’re on 13th Street, try the #13: Siembra Azul Blanco tequila with pineapple, yuzu, vanilla-sage syrup and IPA. Or you could give the classic White Russian a run for its money with the Done and Dusted, a blend of Patron XO, espresso and a housemade creme liquor.
Charlie was a sinner.
Long before 13th Street was the drinking and dining destination that it has become, one pioneer opened an Irish pub that remains a beloved neighborhood institution more than two decades later. Between the deep list of Irish whiskeys, the menu of unpretentious pub fare, and the full calendar of Quizzo, open mic nights and live music performances, Fergie’s feels more like a community center than it does an ordinary bar. Its neighbors come and go, subject to the trends of the moment, but Fergie’s is an absolute fixture.
Thanks to Pennsylvania’s restrictive laws regarding the import of wine and spirits, true wine bars can have a tough time building diverse and intriguing lists. Despite that, Vintage has been popping bottles nonstop for the past decade. Choose from 60 by the glass pours, build a flight, or choose a bottle. Off-set the juice by choosing from their menu of simple French dishes or just opt for the classic pairing of wine with their daily selection of cheese.
While many of the newest spots in Midtown Village are growing ever more chic, Franky Bradley’s throwback decor of antlers, a mounted bass and faux stained glass is charmingly retro and down-to-earth. Don’t be fooled by the kitschy atmosphere, however, because Bradley’s bar is as proper as any in town. Settle in and sip a Hemingway Daiquiri with lime, grapefruit and maraschino; or The Doberman, Bulleit Bourbon with B&B, orange and Dolin Rouge. The wine and beer lists aren’t slouching either, which just proves that you don’t have to dress up to drink well in Philly. Just upstairs from the kitschy downstairs bar and dining room is a nightclub of sorts with everything from top 40 music to old school funk, depending on the night.
Brü Craft and Wurst & U-Bahn
Brü Craft & Wurst is Midtown Village's answer to a playful German bierhall. There’s a long beer menu and a key system that allows you to pour your own beer (skipping the line at the bar) from a selection of six drafts, and a menu of Bavarian-American ("Bavarican") snacks like currywurst; pretzels with gouda fondue; and a crispy lamb döner kebab. Planning a long night of drinking? Feed a crowd with the Bru Haus Plate: four assorted wurst with weinerschnitzel, pork belly, potato pancakes, potato salad, kraut and fries. Downstairs from Bru you’ll find the subterranean bar and music venue, U-Bahn. Their rotating menu of 15 Pennsylvania-brewed craft beers pairs well with their selection of bar snacks, delicious sandwiches and a slew of great events that the bar hosts throughout the week.
Brü Craft and Wurst & U-Bahn
McGillin’s Old Ale House
McGillin’s opened the year that Lincoln was elected. Just let that sink in for a second. It is among the longest continually operating taverns in Philadelphia and in the U.S. in general. In its current incarnation, the 30 taps at McGillin’s flow largely with beer from regional craft breweries: Yards, Stoudts, Flying Fish, Sly Fox and Dogfish Head. The menu is filled with bar food classics like wings, meat-heavy sandwiches and throwback entrees that your granddad will feel right at home with mile high meatloaf, shepherd's pie and a platter of German sausage topped with caramelized onions. Plus, all entrees at lunchtime come with a free bowl of self-serve soup.
McGillin’s Old Ale House
Every neighborhood needs a great dive bar and the folks behind this simply named one at 13th and Sansom (also behind Time, Heritage, Vintage and Garage) have figured exactly what makes for a beloved neighborhood spot. The secret? A long wooden bar, an unpretentious atmosphere, a pool table and a triple-digit beer list. Domestic macro beers at Bar are priced to move at $3 to $5 each, but you’ll also find plenty of interesting micro brews (and a few ciders) from smaller breweries such as Terrapin in Virginia, Spoetzl in Texas and Oskar Blues in Colorado.
Too often music venues that serve food compromise on one or the other, but Time is among the best places in the city to enjoy both. Some of the city’s best jazz, funk and soul acts provide the backdrop for a cocktail hour or a dinner of grilled octopus with crispy potatoes, chick peas, giardiniera and smoked paprika aioli; or homey entrees like duck confit and chicken and waffles. Plus, if you want to go all out, a seven-course tasting menu will run you just $65, and even if you’re not eating at all, you’ll find plenty to enjoy on Time’s dizzying selection of whiskeys from all over. A two-ounce pour is standard, but their accomplished bar staff will happily help put together a custom flight of single-ounce tastes so you can try even more without getting Dizzy, Gillespie. Upstairs, the bar promises plenty of dancing thanks to a rotating roster of local DJs.