The Olde Bar

4.3
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525 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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What 525 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DK
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 5

Reservation was for a different room then the restaurant sat us in despite a call two days prior to reservation to confirm. Food was ok (not worth the price) but service was pretty awful. Shame as it is a very cool/historical place

RB
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a fun, comfortable place to enjoy dinner in Philadelphia’s Historic District. The Fish House Punch was tasty and dinner was delicious.

G
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Very nice venue if you are looking to experience a historic dining event.

TS
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great drinks and entrees. The oysters appetizer was terrific and the red snapper was fantastic.

IG
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrated a family members birthday and I couldn't have been more satisfied with this choice of venue. I will become a return customer

LS
Dallas
2 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

Food, service & atmosphere was good. We happened to come during Restaurant Week and had to order from that limited menu. We asked if could order from the regular menu but it wasn’t an option. The food was good 3.5/4 stars. Just had my mind & taste buds set on other items after browsing the online menu in advance. The lobster roll was a winner.

GC
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went during restaurant week. Sampled a wide variety of menu items and added on a couple of appetizers a la carte. Highlights were snapper (turtle) soup, crab dip, raw oysters and blackened snapper (fish). Large portions and we left stuffed! Desserts were good too. Excellent value during restaurant week and we will definitely be back as dining in the old Bookbinders building is like stepping back in time. Really cool spot and we look forward to returning! Service was good also! There is something for everyone on this menu. Check it out you won't be disappointed. Look forward to going back for some west coast oysters!

t
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Overall the food was delicious. Service was a little slow, even getting a table seemed to take a while when we had a reservation, and tables seemed open or in need of being turned over. Perhaps they were short staffed or slammed from Restaurant Week foot traffic. The ran out of one of the desserts which was disappointing, and my strawberry shortcake was just okay. They are a seafood restaurant though and the shrimp cocktail and TOB lobster roll was delicious - servings were generous. Would probably recommend getting apps and skipping dessert.

CC
Philadelphia
72 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I would have liked it much more were it not for Restaurant week and their limited menu. Too much breaded and fried foods. I was looking forward to their crab cakes, but they weren't on the Restaurant Week menu. The staff was very accommodating, however, and gave us an order of butter garlic crab fingers on the house. Delish! And we were able to do our buck a shuck and French fries (the best).
I will definitely go back but NOT for Restaurant week.

TM
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Went for restaurant week. We really enjoyed and plan to return again. Terrific bar.

PY
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome food, awesome drinks and amazing venue! Steve was a fantastic server, really enjoyed this place! Highly recommend!

l
Philadelphia
17 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and wonderful ambience. If you like oysters and classic cocktails it's a must-do in Olde Town Philadelphia. I also judge bars with happy hour menus by their fries and these are A+. Get the warm lobster roll Olde Bar Style.

OT
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was incredible and our waitress was great! Very cool place.

BG
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

The food was not so great my second time around. It was after 9pm and our food was forgotten and when it arrived it was overcooked.

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A truly enjoyable evening. Atmosphere was very relaxed, service and food were superior. Definitely worth a second trip!

S
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great menu (both food and drink), and a very cool building! A bit on the spendy side, but totally worth it. The history is pretty cool as well. Try it; you will not be sad!

HD
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I always enjoy the Olde Bar when I am in Center City Philadelphia/Independence Hall area and am looking for an early dinner. I have never eaten in the bar area, but always in the adjacent dining room. The red and white checked tablecloths and hallway of historic photos add to the vintage ambiance. Service is always very attentive, and the menu, though limited, is excellent, focused on a raw bar and something between "bar food" and comfort food. The hamburger is a little bit small but excellent. I always start with the turtle soup for which the restaurant's precursor, Bookbinder's, was famous. I have never really cared for their dessert menu-the strawberry shortcake in particular appears to have sacrificed a classic in order to have a novel presentation. But this is a minor quibble. I enjoy the Olde Bar and although they are not inexpensive, I consider it good value for my money.

R
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Our server was excellent; very attentive and knowledgeable of the menu items. We ordered several happy hour appetizers which were delicious and had a nice plate presentation. The seared tuna mini roll was our favorite! The crab cake was huge but a little bland. We also ordered their lobster mac and cheese which was the chef's special and it was creamy, cheesy , had plenty of lobster and was delicious.

P
Philadelphia
27 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

We were there for their "clam bake" (I think that's what it's called). It featured lobster, mussels, clams, chorizo, corn, french fries and fingerling potatoes. Except maybe for the double potato part, it did sound good. The lobster: half a tail. No drawn butter (or anything). The clams: absolutely tasteless; no sauce, either. The mussels, not only tasteless but stringy instead of plump. The corn, tasty; but since all they did was cut one ear in half, one person got the cylindrical part and the other person, the end. My friend ordered oysters as well. They were apparently excellent. The problem there was the pricing (aside from the fact that the "clam bake" itself, at $35, was a rip-off. You can get a delicious dinner with a lovely salad, as side of pasta and an entire lobster--with drawn butter--at a nearby restaurant, once a week, for under $25). With the oysters, there were two menus on the table. Once, for the clam bake, had the oysters at $3 apiece. The other, their regular menu, listed them at $1 apiece. They wanted to charger her $3 but, after our protest, they let her pay the $1 price. We did complain about the quality and quantity of the food while they were there, so they took our happy-hour-priced drinks off our check. A fine gesture, but it didn't make up for a truly disappointing meal.

JK
Philadelphia
65 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Our fourth visit here. We came for the Clam Bake which was a fixed price offering at $35 a person. We were at the 4 PM seating on a Sunday (there were 1 PM and 7 PM seatings as well). We were seated immediately, but the area of the restaurant we were seated in was very cold. The hostess and manager went to great lengths to arrange for us to move to the bar area despite the fact that seating was pre-arranged due to the special menu. We come here because we like the atmosphere in the bar area and the food is decent. We've never had a great meal, but we have never had a bad meal either. It is always solid. In addition, the happy hour offerings are well priced on the occasions we can be in the area early enough.
The Clam Bake was typical of our experience. The food was average. The clams and mussels were slightly overcooked and the lobster tail (Caribbean, not Maine) was as well. The food was well seasoned, but definitely overcooked. The meal came with chorizo, corn, french fries and bread. Nothing was hot, but It was warm enough and serving that many meals in one seating had to be a challenge. Service was friendly and decent in light of the one seating. Management was awesome and around to deal with any problems or issues. We ordered the blueberry/peach crumb topped pie wtih white chocolate ice cream for dessert after being assured it would be served warm. It was not. We were not charged for it. Again, great management response.
We will return because we have realistic expectations as to the food and like the vibe.

m
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Clam Bake was delicious!

LB
Philadelphia
22 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 2

Was really excited for the clam bake dinner. Hostess had no clue what to do and the amount of people waiting to get in at 4pm seating. Food came out quickly. Never got garlic fries that were on the menu. Potatoes in clambake were undercooked. Overall kinda underwhelmed by the whole experience.

j
Atlantic City
19 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 5

We loved the cocktail menu both their signatures and the classics. We thought the food was excellent (crab and brie dip, deviled eggs, fried shrimp, and red snapper) and worth going if drinking is not your thing. We agree with some of the other reviewers that the service could have been more attentive, but many people chipped in to make sure we were taken care of on this visit.

AM
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very nice place and excellent service. Kind of an odd ambience, but we really enjoyed our meal and would definitely return

a
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Definitely recommend going for happy hour. $1 oysters, solid drink specials.

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a Tuesday and really nice. I would definitely go again.

RW
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, terrific atmosphere, and the wait staff was excellent.

OT
Birmingham
3 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This has become a regular spot for us. Delicious cocktails. Fantastic food. Fresh oysters and crab meat. The fries are great too.

DK
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Bar side is nice- marble bar tops and wooden booths. The dining room is sterile with checkered picnic table cloths. The turtle soup was subpar the tab bar sea food was good. Overall disappointed and will not return.

TL
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Went to Olde Bare for the buck a shuck special, and some nice cocktails. had dinner and some extra apps. everyone was happy.

CS
Chicago
27 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We came for happy hour, recommended by Open Table because we frequent a similar restaurant in Chicago. We came for oyster happy hour and crab fingers and found it to be delicious. Drinks were excellent.

TR
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food / great happy hour prices / excellent service

A
Des Moines
9 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The place was kinda dead, but the food was good! Menu was a bit unimpressive, but the red snapper was incredibly tender and the fries were good.

GF
Philadelphia
15 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 2

The bar had a terrible odor. The menu was of food already prepared.

PB
Charlotte
12 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

So glad I made a reservation. That booth in the bar was perfect!!

OT
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cocktails were great and raw bar was delicious!!

CR
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything we had was excellent. The signature cocktails were very tasty. I could sit and drink the Bleeding Heart (bourbon, blood orange ...) all night long. My husband's Rye PA was delicious as well. The crab and brie die appetizer was decadently creamy and flavorful. The oysters were incredibly fresh. The red snapper with lemon and garlic sauce was the best seafood dish I have had since moving to the area from the gulf coast over 20 years ago. We'll be back very soon!

D
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

It’s a quiet spot with good food, the menu is limited.

SD
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Oysters and seafood, crab cakes were best!

CB
Atlantic City
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Not exactly what I was expecting having been to Bookbinders but it was OK. Oysters were just fair to good. Fried chicken was very good. The Bloody Mary had very little alcohol. Server was nice but food came out slow. Skip dessert

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