This summer has been kind to the Philly bar scene, with plenty of new openings to carry us through the end of the year. We're happy to see more winning wine lists coming on the scene, as well as a push towards more agave awareness. Here's a look at the new bars awaiting happy-hour exploration.
The bar at this second-floor Center City spot from the Oyster House is stocked with a lovely selection of cocktails, beer and wine that lend themselves to the menu's south-of-the-border flavors.
Must-order: Fruity margaritas here are the real deal, i.e. made with fresh juices from the kitchen’s cold press.
Insider tip: Get your game on at the foosball table.
1516 Sansom St.; 215-383-1200
There’s nothing precious about this little slice of the tropics in Midtown Village. Happy hour brings a packed house, the deck makes an ideal spot for soaking up those last bits of summer sun and the bar mixes cocktails that don’t take themselves too seriously.
Must-order: With no blenders in sight, the Hemingway daiquiri is a textbook take on this simple and elegant combo of rum, lime and maraschino.
Insider tip: Tiki not your thing? No problem. The bar is stocked with a lineup of beers ranging from Bud Light Lime to Founders All Day IPA.
102 S. 13th St.; 215-309-3435
At chef Nick Elmi’s sophomore effort, a petite wine and cocktail bar tucked next to Laurel, there's no need for reservations – just head on in for a taste.
Must-order: Beverage manager Heather Sharp has a soft spot for Austrian bottles. Gruner Veltliners and Rieslings are only the tip of the iceberg.
Insider tip: Those in the market for a later dinner and drinks will be happy to know that the kitchen serves until 11 PM and the bar is open until 2 AM nightly.
1615 E. Passyunk Ave.; 267-858-0669
This warm New American bistro comes from the owners of Center City favorite, The Happy Rooster. That means they’ve given plenty of thought to cultivating a neighborhood bar crowd with a lineup smartly composed cocktails, a well-thought-out wine list and typically great Philly beer list.
Must-order: The Royal Americano is livened up with a splash of bubbly, adding sparkle to this bitter aperitivo.
Insider tip: Ask for the full wine menu, where you'll find plenty of gems like a bottle of bright Sicilian Frappato for around $50.
500 S. 20th St.; 267-804-7977
Chef Richard Sandoval has brought a sleek combo of ceviche and wood-fired fare to the lobby of the Ritz Carlton, along with a bar that takes inspiration from South American spirits like Pisco, cachaca and especially mezcal.
Must-order: The Buena Vida is a smoky, bittersweet blend of mezcal, Campari and California-made vermouth.
Insider tip: Mezcal fans take note, this hotel bar is home to a sizable selection of blancos, reposados, anejos and single estate bottles as well as a trio of tasting flights.
This swanky rooftop lounge has the best views in the city, plus a killer selection of special-occasion cocktails.
Must-order: The Aperol spritz is a summer classic, elevated here not only in altitude, but also through the addition of a champagne float instead of everyday Prosecco.
Insider tip: If your passion is champagne, Assembly is the place to be with a menu of vintage pours by the glass and bottle.
1875 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.; 215-783-4171
Wine is having a moment in Fishtown with the addition of this impeccably designed enoteca and small-plates joint.
Must-order: With old- and new-world options and a well-educated staff, your best bet is to expand your wine horizons with a glass of something unfamiliar (Sardinian Cannonau or a Viura from Rioja).
Insider tip: If you’re going the bottle route, check out the private stash list for reasonably priced gems like a sparkling Franciacota from Lombardy or South African cab franc.
1206 Frankford Ave.; 215-515-3452
Tucked under the el tracks, this gorgeous new restaurant and bar specializes in handmade pastas, wood-fired fare and a well-rounded drinks list that does cocktails, beer and wine equal justice.
Must-order: There are plenty of classics on the cocktail menu, but ingredient-driven house drinks — like the Four Corners with cachaca, turmeric honey, ginger and lemon — are the real stars.
Insider tip: Check the board by the host stand for daily cocktail specials.
1355 N. Front St.; 267-753-9478
This multiconcept cafe, Asian lunch spot, izakaya and sushi bar has two bars and a stellar drink program. Tropical cocktails and sake are particularly well represented.
Must-order: For interactive cocktail enthusiasts, the Bimini Twist is a dream come true with a shot of sochu and a squeeze-it-yourself lime, grapefruit or orange.
Insider tip: Head to the last pages of the menu to check out Double Knot’s comprehensive sake list; it’s one of the best in the city.
120 S. 13th St.; 215-631-3868
This beautiful taproom inside an old brewery keeps the industrial feeling of the building alive while providing the ideal environs to taste your way through the beer menu.
Must-order: Junto, a kolsch brewed with beans from neighboring Reanimator Coffee, makes a perfect session beer.
Insider tip: Keep the party going with growlers to go.
1710 N. Fifth St.; 215-232-4305