Friendly Lounge is friendly because it's quiet.
Peter Woodall sacrifices his liver, and potentially his nose as he ventures into Philly's drinking establishments. A bartender and West Philly native, he has worked as a newspaper reporter for the Sacramento Bee and Biloxi Sun Herald. Got a tip on a colorful taproom? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
1039 S. Eighth St. 215.627.9798 �The Friendly Lounge has been on the same South Philly corner since the dawn of time itself, and it's all the better for it. It's most definitely not the kind of bar th...
Neither the building nor the bar had changed much since 1991, when I was 18 and lived around the corner. We bought takeout forties of Olde English 800 there, and sometimes we’d stick around to listen to the jazz combo and live out our Kerouacian fantasies. We assumed Way’s had been there forever;it never occurred to us that you could buy an old bar and slap a new name on it.
“Smoke at your own risk,” says the hand-lettered sign above the jukebox, and nearly everyone does—Parliament Lights, GPC’s and USA Golds. Good health is already in short supply among this crowd anyway. Between the canes and the walkers and the overall level of physical infirmity, the place can look more like a doctor’s office than a bar. Patti the bartender has to remind guys to take their prescriptions. They swallow their pills with a beer chaser.
The owner, Jaroslaw “Jerry” Lebin, says there are a lot of dives dirtier than his, and he’s right. Jerry lives upstairs and drinks downstairs and the bar looks like it could be his tchotchke-filled den. There’s a pool table, and photos of his parents and soccer teams he’s coached, and a plaque from when he was an All-Catholic soccer player at Roman in 1972. Below the TV is a bumper sticker that reads “The Navy Yard is...Americans working for America.”
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