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The Best Places to Grab a Drink in Philadelphia

A photo of Red logo
by Joy Manning
Updated June 16, 2022

Philadelphia’s bar scene pulses with the same eclectic energy that defines its restaurants. In every neighborhood, you’ll find spots that reflect the people who live, work, and drink there. Some embrace the city’s signature blue collar ethos while others offer glamorous settings—and even higher-end spirits. Many are attached to restaurant kitchens that turn out the kind of top-notch food that put Philadelphia on the culinary map. The city’s drinking dens have you covered, whether your tastes skew classic or trendy, whiskey or vodka, domestic or imported. Grab a friend—plus a barstool—and explore this town by way of its best watering holes.

A photo of SkyHigh restaurant
4.7
4.7 (2575)
$30 and under
Cocktail Bar
Center City
About the restaurant

JG SkyHigh, part of celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s vast restaurant empire, is an impressive place to take someone out for drinks. To get here, visitors are whisked up to the top of the Four Seasons Hotel in a transparent elevator. The bar’s floor-to-ceiling windows keep the glamorous cityscape front and center, but if you’d rather not sit at the bar itself, elegant lounge seating, in muted colors, is available. Drinks include sparkling, red, and white wines by the glass; cocktails are classic but contemporary, such as a Collins made with lemongrass-infused gin and lemongrass tea. Don’t miss the food, whether you order something from the full menu, such as a peekytoe crab risotto, or a smaller dish, like the famous egg toast and caviar.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
Best place in Philly hands down. Would highly recommend!
A photo of Charlie was a sinner. restaurant
4.7
4.7 (2545)
$31 to $50
Tapas / Small Plates
Center City
About the restaurant

This narrow space on 13th Street has an intimate vibe, with plush seating and low lights that make it ideal for date nights and other cozy one-on-one occasions. The drinks menu is extensive, and the bartenders are equally skilled at mixing classic cocktails and more creative drinks. Freshly squeezed juices and house-infused spirits make the bar a standout. The zero-proof cocktails—try the Spicy Pineapple, laced with a special house spice blend— get no less attention than the rest of the drinks menu. The fully plant-based menu has plenty of smaller snacks, such as caramelized eggplant bao buns and zucchini “crab cake” sliders, that are perfect for sharing plus more substantial plates, like roasted cauliflower steak and silken tofu and mushroom ramen, for when the occasional calls.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 5 days ago
Everything was absolutely amazing. Service was top notch, food was excellent and the drinks were creative and delicious
A photo of Barclay Prime restaurant
4.8
4.8 (5237)
$50 and over
Steakhouse
Rittenhouse Square
About the restaurant

This Rittenhouse steakhouse’s bar and lounge is set off from its dining room, with a distinct atmosphere, thanks to moody, wood-paneled walls and a black-and-white checkered floor. This is the ideal place to sip classic cocktails; take a look at the excellent wine list if you plan to order steak and want the perfect red pairing. If you’re feeling especially flush, splurge on Barclay Prime’s famous luxe $140 cheesesteak with wagyu, foie gras, and truffled cheese—it also comes with a half bottle of Champagne.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
Sublime and low background noise environment, wonderful overhead lighting, exceptional food quality
A photo of Mei Mei restaurant
4.3
4.3 (1401)
$50 and over
Chinese (Taiwan)
Old City
About the restaurant

This two-story pan Asian restaurant and bar sets the scene for a big night out. Its creative food menu is appealing, as is its basement lounge. The space is lined with plush banquettes and lit with ample candles and lavender lighting, boasting one of the neighborhood’s best happy hours. On Tuesdays and Fridays from 4 to 6 pm, order a signature cocktail—such as a fresh daiquiri with house-made ginger syrup—for $7. There’s also a section of reasonably priced wine and beer. Happy hour snacks include craveable snacks such as salt and pepper chicken bites served with house pickles and shrimp bao buns.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 9, 2024
I went there for my birthday and it was my time there the service was great and the food was amazing I would come back to visit again
A photo of Tria Rittenhouse restaurant
4.7
4.7 (407)
$30 and under
Wine Bar
Rittenhouse Square
About the restaurant

Since 2004, Tria has showcased one of the most impressive and interesting wine lists in the city–and fortunately, it never takes itself too seriously. Servers are well educated about everything they pour and they’ll always answer questions happily. If you don’t know what to choose from a wine list organized into categories like “stimulating” and “pretty,” don’t be afraid to ask. In addition to wine, you’ll find plenty of excellent beers, ciders, and cocktails. Beyond cheese, the menu offers snacks, salads, and sandwiches, too.


Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined 6 days ago
I just love Tria! The service is amazing, food is delicious, and ambience is great. We got the pesto and goat cheese bruschetta which was so tasty! The burrata & tomato small plate is also fabulous!
A photo of SOUTH Restaurant & Jazz Club restaurant
4.6
4.6 (2193)
$31 to $50
Contemporary Southern
Center City
About the restaurant

This Broad Street spot brings a restaurant, bar, and music venue together under one lively roof. The cocktail list puts twists on the classics with options including a spicy mango-habanero margarita and a mojito mixed with sweet tea. Wine lovers will appreciate the thoughtful and lengthy wine list. The Southern-inspired food menu features plenty of hearty options such as creole deviled eggs, shrimp and grits, and buttermilk fried chicken. If you’re looking for a bar to visit after dinner, South is a terrific spot to enjoy a little something sweet with a wide selection of nighttime drinks, such as brandy and cordials.


Top review
MarjorieSvip
Dined on Mar 17, 2023
The food was outstanding, every single thing the group order was delicious. The atmosphere and service was exceptional!
A photo of Time restaurant
4.7
4.7 (827)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Center City
About the restaurant

If your ideal night out features entertainment, this Midtown Village haunt is your spot. There’s a ground floor bar with a healthy selection of craft beers, wine, and cocktails. From here, you can take in the live music that’s performed by a range of bands as well as periodic open mic nights. Downstairs, you’ll find a whiskey bar for sipping spirits in a candlelit, wood-paneled refuge. On weekend nights, the top floor hosts a dance party: DJs and drinks combine to create a French nightclub atmosphere. The popular happy hour runs Sunday through Friday from 5 to 7 pm with discounted cocktails and wines, plus a selection of small bites such as mussels and deviled eggs.


Top review
PhillyKeith
Dined on Jun 28, 2024
To be honest, I booked this restaurant by mistake. I think this is known as a happy mistake though because it was fantastic. The atmosphere was very cool. The food was great and a good value. And our waitress was fantastic. They did have live music which was a bit too loud but still enjoyable.
A photo of Amada PHL restaurant
4.7
4.7 (8593)
$31 to $50
Spanish
Old City
About the restaurant

Jamóns dangle over a gleaming meat slicer at one end of Amada’s lively bar, waiting to be sliced onto one the restaurant’s signature charcuterie plates. Wine barrels are displayed behind the bar. This iconic Old City tapas spot has drawn crowds for tapas and sangria since opening in 2005, and its boisterous atmosphere fuels much of the appeal. The Spanish wines are reliably great, but for something a little different, consider ordering from the gin tonic bar—or opt for a glass of sherry. By design, the entire tapas menu is sharable and good with drinks, but garlic shrimp, ham croquettes, and charcuterie plates are must-orders.


Top review
KarenS
Dined 4 days ago
Fun, delicious tapas meal! The service is excellent and the food delicious. Happy hour is a great value. We look forward to dining again soon.
A photo of The Butcher Bar restaurant
4.4
4.4 (1521)
$30 and under
American
Center City
About the restaurant

This meat-centric Rittenhouse spot is helmed by the owners behind another rustic Philly hotspot, Mercato. Traditional bar snacks, such as jerky and wings, are treated to gourmet makeovers and pair perfectly with the whiskey-based cocktails and 16 beers on tap (draft wines are also available). It’s a laid-back setting for a weeknight hang—rare in this pocket of town. If drinks become dinner, rest assured, there are heartier plates to dig into, such as grilled Korean short ribs and rotisserie game hen.


Top review
JWWW
Dined on Jul 9, 2024
Great as usual! Very kind and welcoming staff. The food and service get better with each visit.
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