When out-of-town friends and relatives show up for their holiday season visits, they oftenask, “What’s new in the city for drinks?”
Here is a rundown of Philadelphia’s bar-restaurant destinations that have opened in the last year, plus a few newcomers outside of the traditional “downtown” zones. I’ve also included a few significant spots expected to open in December, noting them with⏲.
Perhaps your friends will even ask you to come along.
Bar Palmina (2109 N. Front St.): Nikki Graziano’s homey Kensington bar is devoted exclusively to nonalcoholic drinks. The bar cart belonged to her grandmother, Palmina, who enjoyed her vodka with an ice cube and lemon.
Forin (2525 Frankford Ave.): For their second location, Kyle Horne, Seth Kligerman, and Will Landicho are running a mod all-day cafe with a wine bar, including their own small-batch ube honey wine and fruit wine, produced at their winery.
Martorano’s Prime (inside Rivers Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Ave.): Casino dining from South Philly native Steve Martorano, who left South Philadelphia three decades ago for greater glory in South Florida and beyond, oversees this richly appointed steak house with a spacious bar.
Meetinghouse (2331 E. Cumberland St.): Port Fishington’s Memphis Taproom is out, yielding to this similarly welcoming, beer-focused neighborhood bar with a solid menu from chef-partner Drew DiTomo (formerly chef de cuisine of Amis).
Next of Kin (1414 Frankford Ave.): Bar veterans and longtime coworkers Kyle Darrow (Kimpton Hotels, Fiorella, Fiore Rosso) and John Grubb (Prohibition Tap) and Darrow’s brother-in-law, Devan Roberts, bill this low-lit spot as a “five-star dive bar” in the former Nunu space next to Cheu Fishtown.
⏲Nut Hut Saloon (1873 Frankford Ave.): New investors are freshening up this onetime dive bar, adding a kitchen with an actual menu, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Post Haste (2519 Frankford Ave.): Vibe-y cocktail bar with “a farm-to-glass” beverage philosophy from Gabe Guerrero (formerly at the Dandelion and El Vez) and Fred Beebe (formerly of Momofuku Ssam and Sunday in Brooklyn). All ingredients, from the bar ingredients to the food, are sourced from the Eastern United States, and 95% of furniture and design details were repurposed or recycled.
⏲Say No More Kensington (1647 N. Second St.): Two Kensington residents have stripped the old dive bar The Playpen at Second and Cecil B. Moore down to the studs, building out a two-story “living room” with bars on each level, plus a third floor for events.
Starbolt (1936 N. Front St.): Three bars dot this spacious bar-restaurant in the former James Peter & Sons ironworks from Jason Evenchik, Patrick Iselin, and Craig MacBain, part of the team behind The Goat Rittenhouse, Time, Heritage, and Vintage Wine Bar. Chef Pat Szoke (Palizzi, JG SkyHigh, Fork) offers a nightly dinner menu of New American classics, plus weekend brunch and weekday happy hour.
Northern Liberties/Spring Garden/Old City/Society Hill
Bar 1010 (701 N. Second St.): Cocktails and Neapolitan-ish pizza at this corner spot, whose five-seat bar gives a front-row seat to the pizza oven. Signature drink is the espresso martini topped with Parmesan.
⏲48 Record Bar (48 S. Second St.): Barman Donal McCoy and musicologist Joey Sweeney are behind this chill high-tech vinyl listening room and cocktail bar above Sassafras. Light menu, 16 cocktails. Among the programming: listening parties, special guest selectors, album and cocktail pairings, record release parties, a Hi-Fi Tea on Sunday series, live performances, and live podcast tapings,
Lucky Well Incubator (990 Spring Garden St.): The barbecue joint the Lucky Well in Spring Garden now shares its space (and bar) with three chefs offering nascent concepts: Marcos Espinoza (serving Navajo fry bread as Shiprock), Rob Miskell (with pastas, as Sauce Boy), and Jacob Trinh (launching as Nuớng Vietnamese Wood Fire Grill).
Poison Heart (931 Spring Garden St.): From Andrea Jenkins, this spot joins a list of intimate new bars — including Superfolie and Next of Kin — with this takeover of the former W/N W/N. It’s sultry, low-lit, and offers creative cocktails, and a tight and light menu.
⏲ Tamalex (122-124 Lombard St.): The South Philadelphia Mexican-Honduran spot fixes to take over Tokio in Society Hill in mid-December with two bars.
⏲️Almyra (17th and Chancellor Streets): The crew from the Estia restaurants plans to showcase the Greek islands in a sultry corner space in early December. Open kitchen will turn out whole fish; crudo; rotisserie, grilled meats; skewers; and Greek-inspired appetizers, dips and spreads. There’s a full bar, as well.
Andra Hem (16th and Chancellor Streets): Gorgeous Scandinavian style on two levels helps define this swank cocktail bar, which opened at the end of 2022.
Bar Lesieur (1523 Sansom St.): The Schulson Collective has gone swank and franc at this new, low-lit, French-inspired bar-restaurant on the street level above Giuseppe & Sons. In its early going, the bar has been packed with fans of its mostly French wine list.
⏲️Barcade (1326 Chestnut St.): The Fishtown bar-arcade — hence, the name — is looking at a mid-December opening on Chestnut Street just off Broad.
» READ MORE: Philly’s secret bars
Bolo (2025 Sansom St.): Chef Yun Fuentes spans Latin America with his cooking at this sultry Rittenhouse newcomer, a spiritual successor to the now-departed Alma de Cuba. There’s a 60-bottle rum bar (with a street window) on the ground floor bar, and a skylit second-floor dining room.
Darling Jack’s Tavern (104 S. 13th St.): Is this Center City’s prettiest new bar? Colleague Jenn Ladd writes: “Interior-design hounds will revel in all the details once their eyes adjust to the low lighting: red-velvet booths illuminated by brass lamps; green glazed brick decorated with landscape paintings in gilded frames; a wine red-and-cream-colored Calacatta Viola marble bar; barstools upholstered in a checkerboard fabric; cane, wood, and wicker accents; a linoleum floor and a lacquered beadboard.” All this and chef George Sabatino’s cooking, too.
The Hayes (1123 Walnut St.): The bones of the Irish Pub — tall arched windows, exposed beams, painted ceiling — remain intact at chef Townsend “Tod” Wentz’s tall, dark, and handsome bar next to his Oloroso.
Hi-Lo Taco Co. (1109 Walnut St.): Jeff Newman (aka “Newman the Foodman”) is behind this bright, energetic, family friendly taqueria in Washington Square West.
High Street (101 S. Ninth St.): Ellen Yin’s Old City classic has relocated into smart digs at the Franklin Residences at Ninth and Chestnut Streets, where it has picked up a 14-seat bar and open kitchen; the grab-and-go section remains.
Loch Bar (301 S. Broad St.): Splashy, Baltimore-based seafood restaurant has taken a corner of Broad and Spruce Streets, opposite the Kimmel Center and Steak 48, with classic fishhouse looks. Live music is a plus, and the happy hour extends to three hours from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays.
⏲️Miss Saigon (1316 Walnut St.): “Vietnamese drinking food” will be on the menu at this colorful newcomer in Washington Square West, soft opening on Nov. 25. Ownership team includes Chinatown Square operators Kenny Poon and David Taing. They’ve partnered with chef Tommy Tran, Tran’s cousin Chuong Nguyen (overseeing the cocktails), and Kevin Kaing, who designed with artist Will Morales.
⏲️Oltremare (2121 Walnut St.): Chef Townsend “Tod” Wentz is aiming at Dec. 1 for the revival of his restaurant space. This time, it will be a modern Italian seafooder with an extensive wine list and classic Italian cocktails at the marble, 12-seat bar.
Superfolie (1602 Spruce St.): Jam-packed hole-in-the-wall wine bar hideaway from Chloe Grigri of The Good King Tavern and le Caveau boasts a zinc bar, zellige tiles, oak floors, and a small mezzanine for people-watching.
Tapster (16th and Sansom Streets): With 54 self-service taps, there’s something for everyone at this syndicated beer bar.
Vinyl (215 S. 15th St.): Actual old-fashioned nightlife has come to the heart of Center City with the opening of this sleek venue offering live music, light bites, cocktails, and happy hours in the long-ago Applebee’s and Bookbinder’s Sea Food House.
Alice (901 Christian St.): Chef Dave Conn’s charming American bistro in the Italian Market emphasizes wood grilling, and its cozy bar gives a full view of the kitchen. (Note: Say it “Alice,” as in “Go ask.” It is unrelated to the Center City pizzeria Alice, pronounced “al-EE-chay” in Italian).
⏲ Bake’n Bacon (1148 S. 11th St.): Justin Coleman is dotting the i’s and getting final inspections on his long-awaited bacon-theme bar-restaurant on the former site of Devil’s Den.
Insatiable (1200 S. 21st St.): Point Breeze’s snug former Burg’s Lounge is now a bar-restaurant from chef Denise Gesek, with a mix of snacks and full-on dinners (such as a particularly juicy grilled chicken with a side of farro).
Rosy’s East (624 S. Sixth St.): Rosy’s, the Center City taqueria, has expanded into the former Beau Monde at Sixth and Bainbridge Streets. Key here is the upstairs lounge, formerly L’Etage, now called Segundo Piso, with DJs.
Royal Tavern (937 Passyunk Ave.): The Bella Vista neighborhood barroom is back, pretty much the same as it was before it closed for the pandemic.
Bar Jawn (4247 Main St.): David Lee of Manayunk’s Pizza Jawn has taken over the nearby Manayunk Tavern at Main and Rector Streets with an Italian menu and drinks.
The Jersey G.O.A.T. Grill + Public House (645 Berlin-Cross Keys Rd., Sicklerville): A smart-looking pub, with 36 taps, from Alisha and Jason Miller of Racks Pub & Grill, in a former Tilted Kilt bar-restaurant.
The Keep Easy (747 Yorkway Place, Jenkintown): Jenkintown’s most-charming pedestrian alley, is home to this cozy bar serving dry, house-made mead plus Pennsylvania wine and cocktails.
Töska (7136 Germantown Ave.): The Osmanollaj brothers, whose family left Kosovo in 2000 and who also own the M2O Burgers mini-chain, have set up a homey brewery, restaurant, and pizzeria in Mount Airy’s former Earth Bread + Brewery.
Alas, you’ve missed out on the finale of Art in the Age in Old City, which closed in September. This season will see the last calls at The Lunar Inn in Port Richmond as well as the Ambler location of The Lucky Well.