Philly: Before the Parade Passes You By, Places to Hit Along the Route | Outtraveler
June July 2016
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Philly: Before the Parade Passes You By, Places to Hit Along the Route

Philly: Before the Parade Passes You By, Places to Hit Along the Route

This year Philly Pride marks its 25th year of Pride. Get out your walking shoes or get on your best dress, with the parade on June 9, there's no time to spare. But with so little prep, who has time to find where to eat or drink? No worries, the good folks at Zagat and Here TV (owned by Out Traveler's parent company) partnered up to do all the work for you. Take a look at their list of some of the best restaurants and bars along the parade's trail. Get inspired and try something new! Or hit up an old favorite. Stay Proud, Philly! To get more great suggestions, sign up for the Zagat newsletter.

Tavern on Camac
https://plus.google.com/u/0/116045706192137350604/about
This unassuming, nearly hidden, 60-year-old pub -- one of the oldest gay bars in the U.S. -- is most famous for its Friday and Saturday singalongs in its downstairs piano bar (so brush up on your show tunes). More recently, the Tavern has opened its upstairs for weekend night dance parties. The crowd here tends to be slightly more grown-up, if not in age, then in attitude, in the way that a dirty martini is more mature than a Cosmo.


Venture Inn
https://plus.google.com/u/0/118316887442814729214/about
One of the oldest gay-friendly bars in Philadelphia, this Wash West institution has been serving 'silver foxes' since the 1950s or before; it’s now fully 'out' and caters to a mature gay crowd who frequent the restaurant for traditional American food and drink. 255 S. Camac St.; 215-545-8731

Ubar
https://plus.google.com/u/0/102151406295145528081/about
Long-standing institution Uncle’s was recently given a fresh face by new owners who also run the Gayborhood’s Tavern on Camac; what used to be a divey watering hole is now much more open and sleek - you’ll even find clean bathrooms. 1220 Locust St.; 215-546-6660

Woody’s
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115313790323616472227/about
This jumbo corner bar has anchored the neighborhood since the '70s, when most of its clientele was still in elementary school. Woody's does a respectable job of pleasing crowds. It's got a cybercafe, a straightforward downstairs bar and sandwich counter, and an upstairs bar where trompe l'oeil atlases hold up a roof of stars. Nights follow themes: '80s on Sunday, all ages on Wednesday, line dancing on Friday. The spot is open to everyone, but women can have a hard time scoring a drink from bartenders 202 S. 13th St.; 215-545-1893

Rosewood
https://plus.google.com/u/0/118316188029555378642/about
The management of Gayborhood standard Woody’s jumps on the craft cocktail trend with this swanky next-door neighbor; dark wood, leather banquettes and a huge spirits list make this the city’s first gay-centric speakeasy. 1417 W. Shunk St.; 215-336-1335

Sisters
https://plus.google.com/u/0/113278065959680050455/about
Unfortunately, this is the only game in town for single lesbians, but Sisters delivers big: three bars over three floors, covering over 5,000 square feet, with a diverse clientele of lipstick, buzz-cut, professional, and student women -- and a handful of the gay boys, too. Go on weekends for 'Cinderella' drink tickets that expire that night, so you'll have to use all of 'em. Music ranges from house to pop to hip-hop to country. The business is run by women for women. (The proof: sparkling, spacious restrooms.) 1320 Chancellor St.; 215-735-0735

Tabu
https://plus.google.com/u/0/117822917446458513009/about
Sports bar downstairs meets plush lounge upstairs at this neon-sign-heavy pub in Washington Square West where exposed-brick walls support nine TVs and the menu bursts with affordable comfort-food favorites and assorted beers on tap; each night is themed (quizzo, karaoke, etc.) in a bid to draw in the diverse neighborhood, and there are games (billiards, darts) for those who’d rather play than watch. 200 S. 12th St.; 215-964-9675

Valanni
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115131679830987566057/about
Food: 23
Decor: 21
Service: 20
Cost: $42
“Pre-theater” diners and “small-plate” samplers flock to this “gay-friendly” Wash West “mainstay” for “beautifully presented” and “creative” Mediterranean dishes shuffled by a “scrumptious staff”; raters reveal that while it’s “relaxing” for dinner, the “trendy” quarters turn clubby at night when too many “divine cocktails” can amount to “pricey” tabs. 1229 Spruce St.; 215-790-9494

The Bike Stop
https://plus.google.com/u/0/112843924959955317140/about
A bad-boy bar without the bad attitude, Philly’s main gathering spot for leather and Levis is an anything-goes place that welcomes just about anyone; dancing, a good craft beer and just enough sleaze makes this a happening hang. 206 S. Quince St.; 215-627-1662

Knock
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115404123943580751471/about
Food: 16
Decor: 19
Cost: 18
Service: $42
There’s a “sexy” quality to this “quaint” New American in the Wash West “Gayborhood” that transforms into a weekend nightspot after 10 PM, complete with a “secret back room” with “piano bar”; while the service is “appropriately attentive” and the “quiet” setting “comfortable”, the only knock on it is for merely “average” fare. 225 S. 12th St.; 215-925-1166

Walnut Street Supper Club
https://plus.google.com/u/0/117133280292544680857/about
Food: 22
Decor: 26
Service: 26
Cost: $34
Showtune fans “love the concept” of this Washington Square West supper club (an overhaul of the former Portofino) where “all the staff sings” when they’re not serving “big” plates of “enjoyable”, “reasonable” Italian fare; the glitzy, ’40s-style room brings back an “era when being a lady and gentleman were required”, so even if some think the ambiance outshines the food, it fits the bill as a “beautiful” “date place.” 1227 Walnut St.; 215-923-8208

Stir
https://plus.google.com/u/0/116020233285355455947/about
A fashionable club with an entrance hidden in a dingy back alley, this party spot is Rittenhouse’s only gay hang; he rustic, brick-lined bar up front is backed by a neon-filled lounge, stocked with couches and staff that’s eager to serve. 1705 Chancellor St.; 215-732-2700

Friends and Family Plan: Where to Bring Straight Supporters

The Continental
https://plus.google.com/u/0/109339520773576666856/about
Food: 24
Decor: 22
Service: 22
Cost: $35
“Still a classic” after nearly 20 years in business, Stephen Starr’s first restaurant maintains its “quintessential Philly stomping ground” status thanks to a “great location” in Old City, “inventive” Eclectic dishes (such as the “often-imitated” cheesesteak eggrolls) and “spot-on” martinis; servers know the midpriced menu “front and back”, and even if the “neo-diner” space is “just too darn loud” sometimes, it’s “great for people-watching.” 138 Market St.; 215-923-6069

Byblos
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108890209039244463630/about
Food: 21
Decor: 19
Service: 20
Cost: $26
“Tasty” eats and “friendly” service are only part of the story at this “clubby”, “swanky” Rittenhouse Med that also boasts an “awesome” hookah bar and DJs spinning thumping “techno” beats to a “funky crowd”; critics object to the “unpleasant volume” of the music and find the fare merely “average”, but others recommend it for a “fun night if you’re in the mood.” 114 S. 18th St.; 215-568-3050

Zavino
https://plus.google.com/u/0/111741788661327007529/about
Food: 25
Decor: 20
Service: 23
Cost: $28
“Outstanding”, “innovative” pizzas and an “excellent wine selection” give this “teeny, tiny” Wash West “gem” its cheeky name, while “tasty” small plates also shine; “reasonable” prices and “attentive” service are added pluses, but a “no-reservations” policy and a “cramped” space add up to “obnoxious” waits and an “always packed” room. 112 S. 13th St.; 215-732-2400

Opa
https://plus.google.com/u/0/101012542814303932649/about
Food: 20
Decor: 21
Service: 19
Cost: $37
The “sexy”, “modern” vibe at this “intimate” Wash West Greek befits its “lively but not too noisy” bar scene that rates it as a “good alternative when everything on 13th Street is packed”, even if some cite “below-par” service as “the only negative”; while you may not “throw napkins” over the “nontraditional” menu of “small plates” you’d never find at a “church festival”, it’s nevertheless “tasty” and “reasonably priced.” 1311 Sansom St.; 215-545-0170

Sampan
https://plus.google.com/u/0/110338950409780346537/about
Food: 25
Decor: 23
Service: 22
Cost: $45
Michael Schulson's "offbeat takes" on "modern" Pan-Asian fare, in the form of "interesting small plates", "succeed remarkably" at his "cool, trendy" Washington Square West establishment, which also offers what some say is the "best happy hour in town"; a "great soundtrack" plays in the "sexy" setting with an open kitchen, where "friendly" service helps foster a "relaxed atmosphere." 124 S. 13th St.; 215-732-3501

Fork
https://plus.google.com/u/0/102573094408658203239/about
Food: 26
Decor: 22
Service: 24
Cost: $48
This "intimate" Old City New American "never gets stale" thanks to "sophisticated" fare, "friendly", "knowledgeable" service and "elegant" environs, all of which are sure to please "your most discerning friends", a "romantic date" or "business" guest; while the Food score may not reflect a post-Survey chef change, fans expect it will continue to "live up to high expectations." 306 Market St.; 215-625-9425

Farmicia
https://plus.google.com/u/0/104443574072632348325/about
Food: 23
Decor: 22
Service: 22
Cost: $35
Loyalists give "thumbs-up" to this "uncomplicated" Continental in Old City from the Metropolitan Bakery crew for its "farm-to-table" approach that's "not in your face", plus "fabulous drinks" and "drool-worthy desserts"; it can get "crazy busy" (Sunday brunch is an especially "tough reservation"), but the staff is "friendly", if sometimes "flighty", and the "simple" digs are "comfortable." 15 S. Third St.; 215-627-6274

Barbuzzo
https://plus.google.com/u/0/104719104122467827835/about
Food: 27
Decor: 21
Service: 24
Cost: $43
You'd get "fresher" produce only "in the middle of a farmer's field" gush fans of Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran's Med "gem" in Washington Square West, offering "beautiful" fare featuring "locally cultivated ingredients" and "knowledgeable" service; you'll "eat sardines and feel like one too" in the "cramped" space, but for most, it's "well worth it", especially the budino dessert, which is "so good it should be illegal." 110 S. 13th St.; 215-546-9300

Knock
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115404123943580751471/about
Food: 16
Decor: 19
Cost: 18
Service: $42
There’s a “sexy” quality to this “quaint” New American in the Wash West “Gayborhood” that transforms into a weekend nightspot after 10 PM, complete with a “secret back room” with “piano bar”; while the service is “appropriately attentive” and the “quiet” setting “comfortable”, the only knock on it is for merely “average” fare. 225 S. 12th St.; 215-925-1166

Walnut Street Supper Club
https://plus.google.com/u/0/117133280292544680857/about
Food: 22
Decor: 26
Service: 26
Cost: $34
Showtune fans “love the concept” of this Washington Square West supper club (an overhaul of the former Portofino) where “all the staff sings” when they’re not serving “big” plates of “enjoyable”, “reasonable” Italian fare; the glitzy, ’40s-style room brings back an “era when being a lady and gentleman were required”, so even if some think the ambiance outshines the food, it fits the bill as a “beautiful” “date place.” 1227 Walnut St.; 215-923-8208

El Vez
https://plus.google.com/u/0/105346448077519643927/about
Food: 25
Decor: 25
Service: 23
Cost: $37
It's "always a party" at Stephen Starr's "flavorful, flashy" Wash West Mexican with "quirky decor" ("the bike rotating over the bar harks back to an old Elvis movie") and a "hip" clientele indulging in "knee-weakening" guacamole, plus blood-orange margaritas and other "awesome girl drinks"; it plays "upscale without being pretentious" but the "raucous atmosphere" leads some to wonder "how do the servers not all have laryngitis?" 121 S. 13th St.; 215-928-9800

Alla Spina
https://plus.google.com/u/0/110141179275959252703/about
Food: 25
Decor: 25
Service: 22
Cost: $28
Early fans are "blown away" by the "yummy", pork-centric Italian bar treats and "interesting beers" from "taps galore" at Marc Vetri's "sexy" North Philly gastropub; the "industrial-looking", graffiti-graced digs are "over the top", literally, as you can reserve a table atop the walk-in beer fridge, and while some find it a "little pricey", many expect it'll be a "favorite for years to come." 1410 Mt. Vernon St.; 215-600-0017

Paradiso
https://plus.google.com/u/0/103890033747557748918/about
Food: 25
Decor: 23
Service: 24
Cost: $45
Lynn Rinaldi's "vibrant" Italian wine bar on East Passyunk deftly "mixes fine-dining elegance and casual" ambiance for a "special dinner or just a night out", featuring "outstanding homemade pastas" and "warm" service, plus niceties such as "Friday night jazz", a "cheese cart" and Sunday BYO option; some note that the "decibel level" swings between "relaxing" and "impossible." 1627 E. Passyunk Ave.; 215-271-2066

Alfa
https://plus.google.com/u/0/101982348195443949342/about
Food: 17
Decor: 20
Service: 19
Cost: $29
“Witty bartenders” mix happy-hour drinks for a “young, beautiful, professional crowd” at this midpriced New American off Rittenhouse Square, where the vibe is somewhere “between a hip bar and college dive”; the “creative” menu gets mixed marks, however, ranging from “passable” to “nothing to shout about”, which is why most recommend sticking to “light fare” like the signature “sliders.” 1709 Walnut St.; 215-751-0201

High Rollers

Rosewood
https://plus.google.com/u/0/118316188029555378642/about
The management of Gayborhood standard Woody’s jumps on the craft cocktail trend with this swanky next-door neighbor; dark wood, leather banquettes and a huge spirits list make this the city’s first gay-centric speakeasy. 1417 W. Shunk St.; 215-336-1335

Valanni
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115131679830987566057/about
Food: 23
Decor: 21
Service: 20
Cost: $42
“Pre-theater” diners and “small-plate” samplers flock to this “gay-friendly” Wash West “mainstay” for “beautifully presented” and “creative” Mediterranean dishes shuffled by a “scrumptious staff”; raters reveal that while it’s “relaxing” for dinner, the “trendy” quarters turn clubby at night when too many “divine cocktails” can amount to “pricey” tabs. 1229 Spruce St.; 215-790-9494

Knock
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115404123943580751471/about
Food: 16
Decor: 19
Cost: 18
Service: $42
There’s a “sexy” quality to this “quaint” New American in the Wash West “Gayborhood” that transforms into a weekend nightspot after 10 PM, complete with a “secret back room” with “piano bar”; while the service is “appropriately attentive” and the “quiet” setting “comfortable”, the only knock on it is for merely “average” fare.

Mixed Crowds

Tavern on Camac

https://plus.google.com/u/0/116045706192137350604/about
This unassuming, nearly hidden, 60-year-old pub -- one of the oldest gay bars in the U.S. -- is most famous for its Friday and Saturday singalongs in its downstairs piano bar (so brush up on your show tunes). More recently, the Tavern has opened its upstairs for weekend night dance parties. The crowd here tends to be slightly more grown-up, if not in age, then in attitude, in the way that a dirty martini is more mature than a Cosmo. 243 S. Camac St.; 215-545-0900

Smokin’ Betty’s
https://plus.google.com/u/0/117330560195757855360/about
Food: 22
Decor: 20
Service: 20
Cost: $26
Fans “have never been disappointed” by the “respectable” BBQ and “creative New American” cooking at this Wash West eatery that “brings the South to Sansom Street”; the “decor is simple” in the “spacious” industrial setting that can get “really noisy”, and while the staff is “friendly”, some report that service can be “on and off.” 116 S. 11th St.; 215-922-6500

Voyeur
https://plus.google.com/u/0/106830934505272338488/about
You always feel like somebody’s watching you at this frenzied Center City East after-hours destination (till 3:20 AM nightly), where voyeurism is encouraged via dance-floor spy cams, see-through beaded curtains and unisex bathrooms; the three-level, 12,000-sq.-ft. space fills with a largely (but not exclusively) gay crowd, which picks up moderately priced drinks at multiple bars before hitting the DJ-driven dance floors; P.S. it’s technically a members-only club, but anyone can get in by paying a guest fee. 204 S. Camac St.; 215-735-5772

Hipster Hangs

Woody's

https://plus.google.com/u/0/115313790323616472227/about
This jumbo corner bar has anchored the neighborhood since the '70s, when most of its clientele was still in elementary school. Woody's does a respectable job of pleasing crowds. It's got a cybercafe, a straightforward downstairs bar and sandwich counter, and an upstairs bar where trompe l'oeil atlases hold up a roof of stars. Nights follow themes: '80s on Sunday, all ages on Wednesday, line dancing on Friday. The spot is open to everyone, but women can have a hard time scoring a drink from bartenders. 202 S. 13th St.; 215-545-1893

The Barbary
https://plus.google.com/u/0/107723312179884861979/about
A gutsy Fishtown punk place has been resurrected as this dark boogie-down destination drawing dance-aholics who like getting sticky and sweaty with the help of thumping bass lines and cheap alcohol; DJs of varying notoriety and diverse touring acts hit the stage nightly, while an upstairs dining room, dubbed Barbarella, provides inexpensive vegan-friendly bar food for refueling. 951 Frankford Ave.; 215-634-7400

Ubar
https://plus.google.com/u/0/102151406295145528081/about
Long-standing institution Uncle’s was recently given a fresh face by new owners who also run the Gayborhood’s Tavern on Camac; what used to be a divey watering hole is now much more open and sleek - you’ll even find clean bathrooms. 1220 Locust St.; 215-546-6660

 

Dive Bar

The Bike Stop

https://plus.google.com/u/0/112843924959955317140/about
A bad-boy bar without the bad attitude, Philly’s main gathering spot for leather and Levis is an anything-goes place that welcomes just about anyone; dancing, a good craft beer and just enough sleaze makes this a happening hang. 206 S. Quince St.; 215-627-1662

Westbury
https://plus.google.com/u/0/103799346496670168321/about
If you want to relax without worrying about making an impression, head to this original dive of a sports bar, which has been welcoming drinkers to the neighborhood since before the name Midtown Village was invented; though somewhat dark and dingy, the ‘tenders are friendly and the beer is plentiful and fresh. 261 S. 13th St.; 215-546-5170

Tabu
https://plus.google.com/u/0/117822917446458513009/about
Sports bar downstairs meets plush lounge upstairs at this neon-sign-heavy pub in Washington Square West where exposed-brick walls support nine TVs and the menu bursts with affordable comfort-food favorites and assorted beers on tap; each night is themed (quizzo, karaoke, etc.) in a bid to draw in the diverse neighborhood, and there are games (billiards, darts) for those who’d rather play than watch. 200 S. 12th St.; 215-964-9675

 

Life’s a Drag

L’Etage

https://plus.google.com/u/0/116055726210122853339/about
This vaguely Art Deco, South Street-area lounge is the sister act to downstairs Beau Monde. L'Etage has a handsome horseshoe bar, a small dance floor, banquette seating, an excellent little wine list, and an all-inclusive, welcoming vibe. It's a great spot to groove out to a retro DJ while sipping a nice glass of pinot, or to relax into a cushy leather seat while a cabaret singer croons above the low din. Lighting is low, just as it should be. 624 S. Sixth St.; 215-592-0656

Fire & Ice
https://plus.google.com/u/0/117505378124706443403/about
Part restaurant, part dance club, this spacious Old City bar serves both Viet-Thai cuisine and pub grub favorites; on weekends DJs spin through late night, and the monthly drag brunch is a don’t-miss event. 312 Market St.; 267-273-1003

The Trestle Inn
https://plus.google.com/u/0/106464341212996382958/about
Food: 21
Decor: 24
Service: 21
Cost: $27
“Meat, beer, go-go girls – what else does one need for a good night out?” posit fans of this “sinfully wicked” “hipster” bar in Callowhill, where the “excellent drink selection” and “awesome” atmosphere “make the place”, though it does serve up “delicious” mac ’n’ cheese and other “small” bites; go-go dancers are a nod to its previous iteration as a strip club, and it also offers weekend DJs and live music. 339 N. 11th St.; 267-239-0290

Bars With Dancing

Sisters
https://plus.google.com/u/0/113278065959680050455/about
Unfortunately, this is the only game in town for single lesbians, but Sisters delivers big: three bars over three floors, covering over 5,000 square feet, with a diverse clientele of lipstick, buzz-cut, professional, and student women -- and a handful of the gay boys, too. Go on weekends for 'Cinderella' drink tickets that expire that night, so you'll have to use all of 'em. Music ranges from house to pop to hip-hop to country. The business is run by women for women. (The proof: sparkling, spacious restrooms.) 1320 Chancellor St.; 215-735-0735

iCandy
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115312771022403981821/about
This Washington Square West club rocks a healthy mix of gay and straight partiers, who flock to bars on three floors for mixed drinks that are as pumped up as the DJ sets; go-go boys add extra eye candy to the bumping dance floor.

254 S. 12th St

Stir
https://plus.google.com/u/0/116020233285355455947/about
A fashionable club with an entrance hidden in a dingy back alley, this party spot is Rittenhouse’s only gay hang; he rustic, brick-lined bar up front is backed by a neon-filled lounge, stocked with couches and staff that’s eager to serve. 1705 Chancellor St.; 215-732-2700

 

Old-School Classic

Venture Inn
https://plus.google.com/u/0/118316887442814729214/about
One of the oldest gay-friendly bars in Philadelphia, this Wash West institution has been serving 'silver foxes' since the 1950s or before; it’s now fully 'out' and caters to a mature gay crowd who frequent the restaurant for traditional American food and drink. 255 S. Camac St.; 215-545-8731

Stogie Joe’s
https://plus.google.com/u/0/102682991183758204821/about
South Philly hospitality is in full effect at this sports bar and pizza house on East Passyunk; though it’s been around less than five years, it already feels like a classic, embracing the neighborhood by sponsoring a softball team and throwing regular block parties. 1801 E Passyunk Ave.; 215-463-3030

Moshulu
https://plus.google.com/u/0/114928003535145155987/about
Food: 23
Decor: 25
Service: 23
Cost: $60
"Ahoy!" cry mates of this "beautifully restored" four-masted barque docked at Penn's Landing whose "over-the-top nautical theme", "friendly" service and the view of Camden offer "smooth sailing" for "romance" and "special occasions"; though the New American chow doesn't "rock everyone's boat", fans insist the "menu lives up to its unique setting", while the Sunday brunch buffet and "outdoor bar on the deck" are especially see-worthy. 401 S. Columbus Blvd.; 215-923-2500

 

Tags: pride
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