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 that suffers fools gladly, let alone pretentious young hipsters in desperate search of a bit of blue-collar "authenticity." Go in there with your well-refined sense of irony and they'll quite probably kick your malnourished ass. The Friendly Lounge is a professional boozer's bar. Predominantly male, no bullshit, no microbrews or real ales-come to think of it, absolutely no draught beers whatsoever. Just bottled brews, shots and a smile. Friendly draws a steady supply of regulars of all shapes, races, ages and sizes. But the night I dropped in, the place was almost dead, save for a kid who looked like a young Antonio Banderas in his better looking days. Said kid sat alone at the bar, a mournful faraway look in his eye, as he gently played a plaintive Mexican tune on a beat-up acoustic guitar. I immediately lost myself in the music, and as the beer and tequila flowed, I dreamed of the dusty plains of central Mexico, and the pain and anguish this stoic young god must have endured just to reach the darkest depths of South Philly. A hot, salty tear coursed down my cheek, and I raised my glass of tepid Yuengling to what seemed like the fresh-faced reincarnation of Django Reinhardt. "I too am like you, my Mexican friend. A poor lost soul in a harsh, cruel land," I mumbled. It was only then that I realized he was laughing at me and was actually playing a blistering version of AC/DC's shagtastic classic "You Shook Me All Night Long." Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction. Remind me to tell you the chicken story sometime. (Neil Ferguson)
Back in 1971, when Dom and his brother Marco took over Friendly Lounge after their mother died business was pretty slow. They’d brought in go-go girls for three or four years, and that kept them afloat for a while. They’ve managed to limp along ever since.