10 Hipster Hangouts in Philadelphia

By Danya Henninger  |  November 11, 2013
Credit: Danya Henninger

Though you’ll rarely catch anyone referring to themselves as such (labels are so passé), hipsters have percolated throughout Philadelphia. If you’re too cool for school and too up-to-date to care whether you’ve got a date, where would you head for a night on the town? Whether the bar's glorified grunge or throwback vibe is carefully crafted or totally organic, here are 10 places the hipsters hang.

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Memphis Taproom

    Craft beer. In cans. Plus an on-site food truck. It would be hard to get more down-market trendy than what you’ll find at Leigh Maida and Brendan Hartranft’s Fishtown tavern, though that doesn’t mean the brew and hot dogs aren’t perfectly matched and tasty too. Don’t forget your plaid shirt, and you’ll fit right in.

    2331 E. Cumberland St.; 215-425-4460

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    Johnny Brenda’s

    What does it mean when a bar that recently took first place in a popular "best-bars" rating is also cited as a hipster magnet? Maybe that more people want in on the movement than they’ll admit. Whatever you call it, the all-local craft beer lineup combined with a rocking indie band performance calendar hoist this Fishtown pioneer to the top of all kinds of lists.

    1201 Frankford Ave.; 215-739-9684

  • Ortlieb’s Lounge

    When the team behind Morgan’s Pier and Union Transfer took over this former brewery just off the beaten path in Northern Liberties, they went in, cleaned everything up and left it pretty much as it was. That means you can spread out on tufted leather banquettes and pretend not to care who’s banging drums on the small stage as you down your Tully shots and cans of PBR.

    847 N. Third St.; 267-324-3348

  • El Bar

    Don’t let the sea of scraggly beards and round-rimmed glasses scare you away from this “hidden-not-hidden” bar beneath the elevated subway tracks at Front and Master in Fishtown. You wouldn’t want to miss out on your best source of bartender-opened forties of malt liquor, nor the cheap-as-they-oughta-be snacks like bags of Lays chips and dirty water hot dogs.

    1356 N. Front St.; 215-634-6430

  • Bob & Barbara’s

    You really can’t have more authentic cred than this South Street dive bar - it’s said to have invented the hipster-favorite Citywide Special. Get your PBR and Jim Beam combo while sidling across floors that have groaned under the strains of local bands since 1969.

    1509 South St.; 215-545-4511

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    Cantina Los Caballitos

    When you want your margaritas with extra salt and extra beards, head to this East Passyunk cantina. Uneven floorboards, unmatched chairs and strings of lights are a perfect match for a non-showy night full of chips and craft beer of the less-expensive type.

    1651 E. Passyunk Ave.; 215-755-3550

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    The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

    Is there such a thing as hipster-chic? If there is a class of folks who enjoy walking on the upscale side of boozing trends, you’ll find them at this underground cavern where suspendered and mustachioed ‘tenders run a tight ship, no fawning squeals - or vodka - allowed.

    112 S. 18th St.; 267-467-3277

  • Khyber Pass Pub

    The best hipster hangs are ones where outsiders can almost blend in and pretend they’re part of the crowd. A recent sighting of an area priest here, happily sharing a beer with his bishop between square-edge-eyeglass-filled stools, confirms this NOLA-themed craft brew haven in Old City hits the sweet spot.

    56 S. Second St.; 215-238-5888

  • The Barbary

    Skinny jeans must make dancing easier, because there’s a ton of it going on each weekend at this Fishtown club. Or it could be that cheap drinks and murky air provide great cover for anyone usually too self-conscious to swing hips and pump fists. Two tips: bring cash and avoid the bathrooms.

    951 Frankford Ave.; 215-634-7400

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    Imported from hipster-central (aka Williamsburg), this Frankford Avenue haunt keeps regulars happy with vintage arcade games that flash with as many colors as the mismatched socks the players are wearing. Add room for as many bikes parked outside on the rack as there are craft brews on tap, and you’ve got a winning hipst-equation.

    1114 Frankford Ave.; 215-634-4400