The Olde Bar

4.2
412 reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood
A contemporary oyster saloon that pays homage to the original tradition.

The Olde Bar, located in Philadelphia’s landmark Old Original Bookbinder’s, is a contemporary oyster bar and cocktail lounge steeped in the city’s nautical and culinary traditions. Serving oysters on the half shell, alongside a smart menu of modern re-imaginings of traditional bar snacks and a comprehensive cocktail and spirit list, The Olde Bar is at once a tribute to the city’s storied past and an updated version of one of our most beloved dining spaces.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Seafood, Contemporary American
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Hours of operation
Dinner:
Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm,
Friday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm,
Saturday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm
Sunday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm
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Phone number
(215) 253-3777
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Jose Garces
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
S. 2nd St.
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Parking details
In addition to street parking, there is a Philadelphia Parking Authority Garage located at 125 South 2nd Street, less than a block north and west of The Olde Bar.

There are also four private lots located within a few blocks, at 401 South Columbus Boulevard, 109 Chestnut Street, 36 South 2nd Street and 299 South Columbus Boulevard.

You can also visit http://philapark.org/locator/ and enter our address, 125 Walnut Street.

The Olde Bar does not offer valet parking
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Public transit
The Olde Bar is located just over two blocks south of the Market-Frankford EL stop at 2nd and Market Streets.
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Special events & promotions
The Olde Bar is proud to host private and semi-private events of all sizes. Our two distinct event spaces, The Blackburn Room and The Vessel Room, can accommodate gatherings of as few as 25 and as many as 200+ guests; smaller groups are encouraged to set aside space within the main bar itself, and larger groups should consider a full buy-out of our historic, landmark space.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Private Dining

Whether celebrating a special occasion with family and friends or hosting a corporate outing, The Olde Bar can accommodate all your special event needs.

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What 412 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.0
food
4.2
service
4.2
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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1
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EW
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

The clam chowder soup was exceptional. The rest of the food was average and overpriced. Not impressed at all.

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EW
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place.

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AL
London
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Great menu and cool ambiance but happened to be there when there were also two very large parties so service was significantly under expectations (eg took 30+ mins to get our first drink). Will return hopefully at a time when they’re not catering to large groups

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MW
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 4

After making a reservation, our table was not ready. They asked if we would mind sitting in the chairs in the front and eating at the little end table. We understand that the table might not be ready, that was not the problem. To suggest that we eat at the little end table was a little ridiculous.

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s
Philadelphia
71 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Was disappointed this time. Am a fairly regular customer but they changed the menu and there are no longer mussels on the menu, not even the regular menu versus the happy hour one! Some if the new items are not very creative and are not as good as things on the previous menu.
We ordered our usual buck-a-shucks, then had deviled eggs (ok), crab fingers (good) and lemon garlic fries (nowhere as good as the previous beef fat fries). You now have to pay for the Parker house rolls!
I know there have been lots of changes within the Garces organization, but corporate needs to understand that if they make this into mediocre, some of us faithful regulars will stop coming.

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F
Central Coast
35 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Good food in an historic building. Service could use a touch-up with slow bar service but friendly staff.

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o
Philadelphia
40 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 2

The only positive I can write is that the staff handled the problems well and seemed to genuinely care. Unfortunately the food showed that the kitchen did not care. The special was so over cooked that it was inedible and was served with burnt cauliflower. Crab cake was over salted.

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TM
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My brother and I had a great time this past Tuesday. Our waitress Katie was so nice and also the hostess. Also, it was neat that the manager came around to say hello. The food was amazing and the strawberry shortcake was an ultimate supreme I had to take a picture of it and send to my friends. I'll be back with anyone who will join me.

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KM
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Overall it was a great find and worth the walk from our hotel and through the historic district. We specifically went to try the Snapper Turtle Soup and it was absolutely delicious. The Bee's Nees cocktail was elevated with notes of lavender. For dinner I had the Market Fish of the day which was the Sea Bass. This meal combination was well portioned as I was satisfied and not over stuffed.

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P
Baltimore
14 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everyone in our party enjoyed their meal. The oyster we're great, Parker rolls we're delicious, shrimp and grits was perfect and the bass market fish was cooked perfectly.

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IS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing value and very talented and friendly staff. We had a great time sitting at the bar and enjoying happy hour and also the regular menu selection.

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MU
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I’d say the service wins here, but the food only slightly outmatched it. The fact that it was neck and neck puts this place in the “best of Philly” category for me.

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ES
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Came in for the last Restaurant Week event. Every course was solid and well prepared. Our server was attentive and great.

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n
Philadelphia
63 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food, service, ambiance was all very good. Will surely return soon. Buck a shuck oysters was great. A must try if you have not.

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OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Old Bar Fries are a must. Food is all-around great! Alcohol is a bit expensive, but some of the cocktails are worth the price. Overall, an amazing place for a date night or a get together with friends. Needless to say, I will come again.

My grandmother came to this location when it was Bookbinders. I feel extremely grateful to be able to still enjoy the same location she did many years ago. (Although the lobster thermidor she always rants and raves about is no longer available.)

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KB
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service all around. We had the restaurant week menu so it was limited but everything was tasty! Oysters were super fresh. Strongly reccomend the old fashioned with Basil Hayden’s. It was a little pricy for a cocktail ($18) but it was by far the best one I’ve ever had!

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EL
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Thought they could honor the bookbinder menu more. They were known for their clam chowder and the current version tasted like a sushi roll version at s cheap sushi restaurant. Not understanding why such a limited seafood selections and why they would feature bland fish selections found anywhere in the country

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J
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

For the pricyness they Need turn on their a/c , pay attention to service detail more , wipe up bar, put down coasters or begeverage nap when serving drink each time, tell you what you ordered as they are to be presenting the drink to you when your paying $14 a drink.
Shrimp cocktail was not fresh was frozen & defrosted out, was terrible. Tons of Shredded iceberg lettuce on top of the cocktail sauce Really? Fish & chips: fish was bland.. no s&p anymore before battering?
Food for a Garces place was disappointing, someone is not overseeing food product or tasting food, or just not caring about food that goes out. Spending $300 for two people at that bad level was disappointing. On the bright side the cocktails were up to standards so helped with coping for the sub par aspects

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing seafood!!! Service was amazing!!!

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H
Philadelphia
16 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The Harissa explains it all drink was delish!!! We weren’t that impressed by the food with it being a Garcés place. All of the others we have been too have been great. The bar area itself was beautiful and the area for banquets was very beautiful as well. The buck a shuck were great though! My husband got the oscar steak it was a little over priced for 5 pieces of steak. I got the shrimp and grits and wasn’t impressed. If we are ever feeling in the mood for buck a shuck and tasty drinks we will be back.

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BS
New Orleans
3 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Sat quickly and was greeted warmly. We will definitely be back.

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OT
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Celebrating a birthday

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RC
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I ate at Bookbinders years ago. The snapper soup and the crab cakes are still just as good.

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RJ
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

The servers were all very nice, but there was a bit of "drop and forget" that happened. We'd get our food, and then not see our server for a loooong time. Also, the placement of the center tables can mean some butts in your face if you're sitting in a booth when it gets crowded! It got very noisy, too, between the borderline trashy music and talking. The food was outstanding, and there was plenty of it, and the renovation of the traditional site is outstanding.

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OT
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We sat at the bar and had the most enjoyable time speaking with folks we would have otherwise not met. The service, drinks and food were excellent. We were here in June and pledge to drive here more frequently. It could not have been better.

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r
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

It’s a shame a beautiful setting has such an average restaurant. Nothing exciting. Oysters had shells. Expensive for what it is.

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CO
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Ambiance was typical of an old bar in Philly. But order the mussels. The best damn mussels that I have had anywhere. Too bad the portion was smaller than what I am used for the price, but still worth it. Be very careful, this might just make screw you up when it comes to ordering mussels at any other bar. That good. Also, the buck a shuck was well worth it too. Even though they are Delaware River Oysters, there wasn't a foul bivalve in the 3 dozen we ate!

Will go back for another round of buck a shuck soon. And the Mussels of course.

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PG
Philadelphia
45 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Can't beat their happy hour specials! We went on Sunday afternoon for a late lunch/early dinner. When we arrived, we were seated right away and our server brought us water and menus. We ordered a few cocktails and snacks off of the happy hour menu and a dozen or so oysters being that it was "buck-a-shuck". The battered shrimp, the muscles and the oysters were fantastic and the cocktails were expertly crafted! We then moved onto the entrees, we had the lobster roll and the fish and chips. I thought $26 was a little bit pricey for a small lobster roll and a few chips but it was absolutely delicious so that eased the sticker shock a bit. The fish and chips were also fantastic, some of the best fries in town, although again, a the portion was a little small for the price. All in all everything was fantastic and the happy hour specials are the deal of the century. We will definitely be back!

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 4

Everything was fine except for the amount of food provided for a main entree. Scallops with thinly shaved radishes. Sounds good right? It was but if you're hungry don't order it. 3 scallops with 2 beautifully sculpted radishes that literally didn't cover half the plate for $26. I'm not a cheapskate but 3 scallops? It was appropriate for an appetizer for half the price. At least try and trick me by covering more of the plate with something so 70% of it isn't visible.

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BJ
Philadelphia
21 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by Monday night prix fixe seafood dinner and half-price wines at the Olde Bar. 2-course dinner was excellent, from classic iceberg lettuce wedge salad to sautéed sea bass to side of Parker House rolls, along with very nice half-price bottle of wine. Service was first-rate, professional and friendly. Wood-paneled interior with leather banquet booths was classy and comfortable. All in all, an excellent value.

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F
Jacksonville
11 reviews
Dined on July 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Monday night seafood special was a very good deal and delicious!

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JB
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

We really wanted to like this restaurant. The food was good. Just seemed like small portions for the price of each dish. Nothing wowed us. It was very dark in the dining room and not very lively. The tablecloths were askew on several tables. Our centerpiece remained unlit all night despite asking someone to light it for us. It took a very long time for tables to be cleared around us, so we were eating in a dimly lit mostly empty room with dirty tables for most of our meal. The drinks took a very long time to come out. I ordered a handcrafted cocktail so I anticipated a wait, and I must say it was excellent. However my husband ordered a beer and it took just as long for him to be served. Again, the menu looked great and the food we tried was good. It just missed the mark on several aspects that could have made it a great meal. I hope it was just an off night for the restaurant, unfortunately I don’t think I’d ever go back to try it again.

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AF
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

Worst dining experience, food was mediocre at best service was abismal, management was worse.

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r
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Wife and I enjoy Oysters while we visit the restaurant but there was no cocktail sauce spread on oysters just ketchup we asked for Tabasco but it wasn’t the same

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JB
Minneapolis
18 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

My food and service were very good. I would have given a better score but my martini was terrible. Served in a little short champagne glass even though I saw martini glasses on the shelf, also mostly made from vermouth. Yuck.

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food, service,and overall experience was wonderful!!

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C
Philadelphia
10 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We went to The Olde Bar for the Monday night seafood special. We ordered the fish and chips and the fish of the day. We sent the fish and chips back because the fish batter was very bitter. We ordered the fish of the day instead and it was good. Our server handled it professionally.
This is the second time we’ve had to send food back at The Olde Bar. The previous time the crawfish was bad. We enjoy going to The Olde Bar will but stick to cocktails and bar snacks from now on.

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h
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was fantastic. I'm confused as to why it wasn't packed. So cool to be in the old Bookbinders spot. Amazing oysters presentation and cocktails to start. The entrees were very tasty, tho you will want to supplement with apps. Gluten free options as well.

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JM
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience. Tasty food and the waitress was excellent and very knowledgeable to help us choose what we had to eat. Always love staff that gives honest recommendations, the worst is someone that replies with “it’s all good” when you’re want their honest opinion. Highly recommended.

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OT
Denver
19 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 2

Was really hoping the owners captured the historic feel of the Bookbinders. Sadly, no. Ordered oysters. The waiter suggested we put our entree order in as there was a party. Our entree order came first. We refused the oysters as either the entree would get cold or the oysters would get warm. Limited menu. Lots of fried dishes. Small place with tight seating. Not the same. Not even close.

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