The Olde Bar

4.2
396 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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.
icon/ic_review copyCreated with Sketch.
Delivery or takeout
icon/ic_private_diningCreated with Sketch.
Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Dining
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Seafood, Contemporary American
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
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
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(215) 253-3777
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Casual Dress
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
Jose Garces
Open Google Maps
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
Neighborhood
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
S. 2nd St.
icon/ic_parking_detailsCreated with Sketch.
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
icon/ic_public_transitCreated with Sketch.
Public transit
The Olde Bar is located just over two blocks south of the Market-Frankford EL stop at 2nd and Market Streets.
icon/ic_special_eventsCreated with Sketch.
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.

View Private Dining Details
What 396 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
4.1
food
4.2
service
4.2
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
EL
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
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

Report
Helpful
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

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

Amazing seafood!!! Service was amazing!!!

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

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

Celebrating a birthday

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
PG
Philadelphia
43 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!

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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!

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
r
Philadelphia
8 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

Report
Helpful
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.

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

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

Report
Helpful
C
Philadelphia
9 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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
j
Philadelphia
35 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everyone was attentive & friendly. Food was delicious.

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and staff! Will definitely be back!

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We came when happy hour was just beginning, so there weren't too many people. Even when more began to trickle in, the noise level did not rise as much. I completely loved the atmosphere of the place and there were really cute pictures of animals posing as humans on the wall.

The oysters and clams were beautifully prepared. The accompanying sauces were to die for, especially the mignonette. The Olde Bar fries were equally as delicious and the chunks of crab meat that were mixed in just made the appetizer.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience with friendly staff and wonderful food. Would definitely come again!

Report
Helpful
TT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

We went specifically for Lobster Day and lobster rolls. Though they did say “all night or until they run out,” for the all advertising that was done, they should not have run out by 7 on a Friday night. Poor planning and very disappointing. They did comp us a bunch of apps, which helped at little. Probably won’t go back.

Report
Helpful
OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

This was my first time at The Olde Bar. We made reservations because of the advertised half price lobster rolls for National Lobster Day. By the time we arrived for our 7:00 reservation, they had run out of lobster rolls (which was not mentioned to us until after we had sat and ordered drinks). We did stay and order some other appetizers, but I felt that the food was pricey overall. It’s disappointing when a restaurant promotes something but does not plan on making the item available for a reasonable portion of the evening. Had our reservation been for much later in the evening, I could understand if they had run out; however, less than two hours into the evening seems quite early to me, especially when a restaurant promotes the item as being available all night. While I enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant, I can’t say I will return.

Report
Helpful
D
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Fried Calamari was cold and tasted old. Lobster roll did not look attractive and didn't seem like the advertised half a lobster. But the clam chowder was pretty good and the draft stout was excellent.

Report
Helpful
ET
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Came for the 1/2 price lobster roll. Great meal! Unfortunately mine had quite a few cartilage pieces, but that must have been a fluke because others at my table did not have that issue. Great cocktails as usual. Love the Hemingway Daquiri!

Report
Helpful
s
Philadelphia
63 reviews
Dined on June 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Good but not great this time. Go somewhat regularly for half hour buck-a-shuck. always get the oysters, mussels (not the happy hour ones, and beef fat fries). The oysters were OK, but that would not be anyone's fault. However, the mussels seemed to have less flavor than usual. We've never gone on a Monday before, so maybe a different chef?

We will be going back at least once more since my honey thinks they make one of the best rye Manhattan drinks in town.

Report
Helpful
MB
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server Jake was superb. He was knowledgeable in all areas of the restaurant. He made great meal and drink options. Everything was delicious. Speedy service. Really top notch restaurant. Will definitely visit again.

Report
Helpful
G
Philadelphia
14 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 1

We received a gift certificate and decided to go for our anniversary. Food was good. Not much on atmosphere.

Report
Helpful
ML
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Visiting from out of town; it was recommended by a friend. It was very good and we would definitely recommend it and we will visit it again next time we’re in Philly.

Report
Helpful
K
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 2

The NE clam chowder soup and oysters were absolutely delicious, but food was subpar and were very small serving sizes. It was an awesome bar with old ties to Philadelphia and the Original Bookbinders, but it was very noisy. The music was so loud that everyone had to speak over it. The first thing we noticed within the bar was the awful lighting. The lighting was very, very dark and you could barely read the menu. Overall I would not go back. Was not worth the money we spent, even for happy hour and a special occasion.

Report
Helpful
OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Overall a fine dining experience. Most items were good - however ordered the $55 mix grill and was disappointed. Lobster was waterlogged and the sauce in the dish had the flavor of water. Def not what I'd expect from their top dollar item.

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Great food, but overpriced

Report
Helpful
OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place! Historic and cozy ambiance. Wonderful food, cocktails and service!

Report
Helpful
JE
1 review
Dined on May 27, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Left comment on my reservation that dinner was for my husband's 60th birthday.....there was no mention of anything by the staff. Had to ask for things (more than once) that any skilled waitress would have normally just brought to the table (e.g. sweetner for tea). Traveled from the Lehigh Valley and expected exceptional service in the city, rather it was like service at the local Perkins. Food was quite good, was seated in the bar area so was loud. The meal was just sort of disappointing--I was expecting a lovely dinner for my husband. Could have had a nicer meal here in Allentown :-(

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
10

Tweets by The Olde Bar