48 Best Bars in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

World Cafe Live

University City Fodor's choice

A musical flagship in West Philly, WCL's building also houses the radio station WXPN-FM, which emphasizes acoustic, independent, and world-beat contemporary artists. The café also has two theaters—the largest of which, Downstairs Live, seats up to 300 (and can fit more, depending on configurations)—and two restaurants.


Rittenhouse Square
Attached to the AKA hotel and its restaurant, a.kitchen, a.bar boasts one of the most enviable views in the city, looking right out onto Rittenhouse Square. The food and drink, with its emphases on fresh seafood and cutting-edge cocktails, will encourage return visits.

Black Sheep

Center City West

This handsome pub is just off Rittenhouse Square, in a refurbished town house with a fireplace on the main floor and a quiet dining space on the upper level. Beer lovers can choose from a solid selection of draft, bottled, and canned beers; the food, including U.K.-style entrées like shepherd's pie and bangers and mash, is straightforward and satisfying.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Chris' Jazz Café

Center City West

An intimate hangout off the Avenue of the Arts (aka Broad Street), Chris' showcases top talent Monday through Saturday. The jazz club stays accessible by doing the simple things right—friendly service, fair prices, great performers. The lunch and dinner menus feature some light New Orleans–style touches.

Comedy Sportz

Rittenhouse Square

Anything goes during this once-a-week night of improvisational comedy, formatted as a high-energy competitive sport. The troupe hosts two shows every Saturday at the Adrienne Theater, and audience participation is essential to the experience.

Continental Mid-Town

Center City West

A more elaborate offshoot of Stephen Starr's Old City martini lounge, the Mid-Town spreads the cocktail and global small-plate concept across two whimsically appointed floors. The additional room accommodates crowds that swell on weekend evenings.

Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar

Old City

Even restaurant and nightlife mogul Stephen Starr had to start somewhere—the Continental was his very first restaurant, and it continues to be one of his most popular. The retro-fied former diner draws an interesting crowd, a mix of energetic twentysomethings and longtime regulars. The design, featuring lots of stainless steel and campy lighting fixtures, goes well with the martini-driven cocktail list and global small-plates menu.

Dirty Frank's

Center City East

Its outside walls decorated with famous Franks throughout history (Frankenstein's monster, FDR, Sinatra, Zappa, etc.), Dirty Frank's is a Philadelphia classic. An glorious mixture of students, artists, journalists, and resident characters crowds around the horseshoe-shaped bar and engages in friendly, beer-soaked mayhem.

Fergie's Pub

Center City East

Fergus "Fergie" Carey is the jovial proprietor of this casual, cozy, and beloved bar, which has been around longer than most establishments of its ilk in Philly. The taproom, which serves solid craft beer and comfort food, hosts regular entertainment, including music, poetry, Quizzo, and even live theater. There are no televisions on the premises, as Carey believes in the lost art of conversation.

For Pete's Sake

Queen Village

Pete's, in Queen Village, could easily be mistaken for just another neighborhood watering hole, but the menu is eclectic, featuring a regularly changing lineup of creative food alongside the requisite wings and burgers.

Frankford Hall


Stephen Starr's big, loud, and lively beer garden brings a bit of Bavaria to Fishtown's nightlife scene. You and your crew can sit outside at one of the largest picnic tables, or hang indoors when it's frigid. Draft beers, many of them German, come in half or full liters, accompanied by rib-sticking pretzels, wurst, and schnitzel.

Franky Bradley's

Center City East

A former supper club that attracted movers and shakers of yesteryear, the updated Franky's is now under the watch of Mark Bee, architect of N. 3rd and Silk City. A kitschy dining room decorated with Bee's Technicolor flea market finds gives way to an upstairs performance space used by DJs and live acts. They serve food until 1 am nightly.

Helium Comedy Club

Center City West
Philly's premier comedy club, Helium attracts well-known headliners from television and film, all of whom perform in a straightforward room that serves basic eats and cocktails.

Hop Sing Laundromat

Run by mysterious and mononym-using owner Lê, Hop Sing is a drinkers' haven for cocktail fans who take their cocktails clandestine. Hopeful patrons wait in front of a nondescript door in Chinatown, adhering to a dress code and a strict no–cell phones policy; once inside, the high-end spirits and creative cocktails flow in a one-of-a-kind room.

Il Bar

Old City

The wine bar at Ristorante Panorama, a polished northern Italian restaurant in the Penn's View Inn, stands out for its staggering vino selection—more than 150 wines are available by the glass, thanks to a cruvinet preservation system touted as the largest in the world. Other oenophile hooks include "Wine Wednesday" specials and personalized flights.

Johnny Brenda's


A funky, welcoming bar, restaurant, and music venue, JB's epitomizes the bridging of old and new frequently found in Fishtown. A local beer-heavy tavern, complete with billiards, blends seamlessly into a solid casual restaurant downstairs. Upstairs hosts an edgily booked lineup of performers in a diversity of genres.

Khyber Pass Pub

Old City
Operated as a saloon since 1876, the bi-level Khyber earned renown as a loud and fast punk rock club in the 1970s through the 1990s. In more recent years, it has been reinvented as a restaurant serving authentic New Orleans cuisine (try the po'boys and gumbo), alongside a serious craft beer selection (22 taps). The upstairs space still plays host to a wide slate of live performances and special events.

Kung Fu Necktie


A block removed from the major intersection of Frankford and Girard, KFN hosts indie music acts in a small, moody barroom hidden underneath the elevated tracks of SEPTA's Market-Frankford line. They book both local and national bands.

Lucky's Last Chance

A down-to-earth pub, Lucky's is well known for its wacky food stylings, including burgers and hot dogs with unexpected toppings. But it's also a solid place to drink, with DJs, dance nights, and special events holding down the entertainment side on occasion.

Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant


A long-running destination set right on the banks of the Schuylkill River, this brewpub offers a well-rounded selection of ales and lagers brewed on the premises, as well as some diverse food options, including sushi and pizza. Check out the patio in the spring and summer.

McGillin's Olde Ale House

Center City East

For longevity alone, McGillin's stands proud. Open since 1860, it's the oldest continually operating pub in the city, as well as one of the oldest in the country. But though there are nostalgic touches, it's a modern watering hole, featuring a bevy of TVs for sports and hugely popular karaoke nights. The beer list, featuring 30 choices on draft, tends toward the local, including a series of signature house ales brewed by Adamstown, Pa.'s Stoudts.


Mount Airy

This Mount Airy favorite has a fantastic choice of craft beer on tap, plus good burgers and fish-and-chips.

McNally's Tavern

Chestnut Hill
This venerable Chestnut Hill tavern is most famous for "The Schmitter," a cheesesteak hybrid sandwich that features unorthodox toppings like grilled salami and "special" sauce. In general, though, it's a broken-in barroom worthy of a visit, as they've been making people happy since 1921.

Memphis Taproom

Northeast Philadelphia

A pioneering beer bar in this part of town, Memphis offers more than 18 diverse beers on tap, plus 2 in casks; they're equally liked for their food, inventive gastropub grub with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Their adjacent beer garden, featuring a stationary food truck and a projection screen for games and movies, is a favorite in the warmer months.

Mermaid Inn

Chestnut Hill

Head to the Mermaid, as the Northwest Philly locals do, to hear excellent live music (folk, blues, rock, jazz) and drink from an interesting selection of bottled beers. Depending on who is playing, there may be a cover charge of $10.


Center City East

The city outpost of the coffee house and recording studio in Ardmore, MilkBoy Philly features a down-to-earth café and bar on the street level, with a narrow, intimate performance space up top. It attracts mostly indie rock acts, both locals and touring outfits.

New Wave Café

Queen Village

To its devoted Queen Village clientele, the New Wave is more than just the place to wait for a table at Dmitri's, the always-crowded seafood restaurant across the street. The regulars come to this long, narrow bar to unwind with a local Yuengling beer (referred to, simply, as "lager"), play a game of darts, and enjoy the oft-changing gastropub menu.

North Bowl

Northern Liberties

Cleverly located in the thick of Northern Liberties' Second Street scene, this boozing-friendly bowling alley delivers in the tenpin department. The large, colorful space serves a snacky menu, featuring a big selection of wackily topped tater tots.

Ortlieb's Lounge

Northern Liberties
Back open and humming after a series of ownership changes, this out-of-the-way venue in NoLibs has expanded its musical scope well beyond the traditional jazz. The vintage barroom, named after a defunct Philly brewery, now books indie rock, hip-hop, funk, and more. Hit up the bar for the cheap tacos, pretty close to the perfect drinking snacks.

Sidecar Bar & Grille

South Philadelphia
An anchor establishment in the south–of–Center City neighborhood of Graduate Hospital, the Sidecar delivers with an approachable mix of great beer, creative pub food, interesting people, and positive vibes. (There's always good music playing here.) The main bar is accompanied by a second-floor hangout that often plays host to events and get-togethers.