Better Than Best: Bars

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Oct. 27, 2011

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Khyber Pass Pub may have a bro-ey crowd, but it also boasts the best frozen mint juleps in town, which makes a visit worth it and a half. These sweet treats pack a major punch (seriously, how many shots are in these?) and even for a person who can hold their liquor, two is a serious commitment. Peach, blackberry and strawberry are also options, but we vote for the classic standard. Pair with vegan pulled-pork nachos and you might abandon dancing plans right then and there.

Khyber Pass Pub. 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888. khyberpasspub.com

Best Bar for Pretending You’re British and a Soccer Fan

On many nights at 700, patrons overflow onto the sidewalk out front, as they would at any London pub, particularly when there’s a football match on the tele. These people aren’t here to watch the choking Philadelphia Eagles, however. Their football might be the blossoming Philadelphia Union, a random Premier League matchup between Manchester United and Arsenal or even an international match between the U.S.A. and Mexico. The 700 Club also imports some fine, hand-pumped English ales, like London’s pride, Fullers, the perfect companion for watching real football.

700 Club, 700 N. Second St. 215.413.3181. the700.org

Best Place to Drink Good Whiskey and Not Go Fucking Broke

You gotta be a goddamn Wall Street bigwig to to drink good whiskey in this town. When a rye-swilling prole pops into spots like Village Whiskey, she drops a week’s pay on the mash. That dog don’t hunt at West Philly’s Fiume, where a working-class American can mount a comfortable wooden stool and suck fine bourbon without starving until next payday. With 74 whiskeys on hand, only 20 cost more than $10 during Happy Hour, which runs from 6-9 p.m. on weekdays. Elmer T. Lee, Michter’s, Black Maple Hill, Rittenhouse Rye, Pappy Van Winkle. Which one’s gonna be your new best friend?

Fiume, 45th and Locust sts.

Best Place to Catch an Awesome Cover Band

Abby’s Desert Lounge in Southwest Philly has got one of the sickest cover bands in the city, with a smooth bassist and a guitarist who’ll wail while sniffing the neck of the nearest middle-aged lady. While there, you might catch a young buck dancing all dirty-like with a graying maid, while the band’s regular singer takes a break and a few of the bar’s patrons have a go at the mic, each more angelic-sounding than the next. Plus, they have an awesome female drummer. And they play ’90s R&B.

Abby’s Desert Lounge, 4704 Baltimore Ave. 215.727.4560.

Best Dance Party in a Cramped Room

Besides some delicious food, Gojo’s Ethiopian Restaurant has a DJ who spins the best world music, raggaeton, dubstep, African dancehall and folk on Saturday nights. It’s a popular chill spot amongst immigrant communities in Southwest Philly—pretty far off the beaten path as far as Philly nightlife goes—and it’s such a small place, it’ll be the warmest dance party in the coming frigid months.

Gojo, 4540 Baltimore Ave.

Venue Where the Opening Acts Outshine the National Talent

At Milkboy, don’t be surprised if you go upstairs to the venue (which includes what might be the highest-quality sound equipment and best acoustics in the city) to catch some national singer-songwriter, and come out floored by the opening act. It’s been known to happen. Like when KC Jones’ trio of bluegrass blew minds with the reverb of a slide guitar and a plaintive tenor. Or the time Jonah Delso killed with an earnest and simple set, and made the grungey but aloof performance of former At the Drive-in guitarist Jim Ward and his band feel like a yawn. It’s the kind of thing that’ll send unexpected chills down your spine while you’re sipping your craft domestic brew in a can, some no-name local crooner make it hard for the closer with flawless vocal delivery, poignant lyrics, and virtuoso instrument playing. Get there early.

Milkboy Coffee, 1100 Chestnut St. 215.925.6455. milkboyphilly.com

Best Bar to Get Unreasonably Drunk on a Week Night

Let’s talk deals. Stir Lounge on Thursday evening, from 9 to 11 p.m., in particular. This unassuming gay-friendly bar, located in an alley with a small sign, offers an amazing deal: $1 well drinks of any kind. It features ample seating and a relaxed atmosphere, which allows you to mix and mingle with friends while knocking back a few potent cocktails. Just remember that whatever your spirit of choice, it’s likely you’ll be nursing a hangover the next morning as you stumble into work. Stir Thursdays are never about having just a single drink.

Stir Lounge, 1705 Chancellor St. stirphilly.com

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