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Exclusive | Three Gay Days: Philadelphia Part Four

Exclusive | Three Gay Days: Philadelphia Part Four

Here's your must-have road map to 72 hours in one of the world's gayest destinations. Where to stay, eat, play and meet in historic Philadelphia.

DAY THREE: SILLY FOR PHILLY
For a dose of Philly's edgier side, start in the funky-dunky Queen Village neighborhood, a few blocks south of Independence Hall (note: though there's a significant gay population here, it's named for the queen of Sweden, not for you. Sorry.). For decades Queen Village's been Philly's center of club clothes, cheap jewelry, and tattoo parlors along South Street ? plus a "Fabric Row" of design shops along South 4tht Street. Here's also where TLA Video, the noted distributor of LGBT movies (including Naked Boys Singing, Latter Days and Coffee Date), got its start and now runs a video store.

Spend any time at Queen Village's gay-owned Cr?perie Beau Monde (624 S. 6th St; 215-592-0656; crepes $2.50-17.50), and you'll see everyone come through: gay, straight, families, and more. Sweet and savory crepes (and other classic French-inspired dishes) are served in a delectable setting, a corner location boasting lots of windows and a patio for nice weather.

Meanwhile, Tattooed Mom (530 South St; 215-238-9880) is like a dive bar for the ADD generation, with bright green walls, a diorama of aliens out the back windows, and excellent, tiny plastic toys (tops, leaping frogs) at every seat. Back yourself into a bar chair of glittering gold vinyl, and order a cheap Pabst or killer Bloody Mary, alongside retro pub food including pierogies and tater tots.

Serious foodies won't want to miss the Italian Market, on 9th Street between Fitzwater and Wharton Streets in South Philly. Dozens of vendors from butchers to bakers and grocers sell all manner of exotica and implements. Amid the fray, Sabrina's Caf? (910 Christian St; 215-574-1599; $7-13) is a small, friendly joint with a gay following.

At the southern end of the Italian Market, Geno's and Pat's have had a decades-long, low-key rivalry for the title of King of Cheesesteaks. This local ? and now national ? favorite sandwich of sliced steak "wid or widout" (onions), was invented and perfected right here in South Philly, and nothing quite compares to a cheesesteak after a night on the town. Geno's and Pat's are catty-corner to each other at South 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue.

Walk off that steak with shopping. Philadelphia's Antiques Row stretches along a stately stretch of Pine Street from 10th Street to 17th Street, with curiosities of all eras. At its center, Giovanni's Room (1145 Pine St; 215-923-2960) is one of the nation's oldest and largest gay bookstores, with knowledgeable, keyed-in staff.

To dress for a night out on the town, check out Sparacino Mens (115 S. 13th St; 215-922-4211). The clothes are sleek and stylish; the help is uniformly cute and courteous. Fun and funky hipster clothes can be found at Matthew Izzo (117 S. 13th St; 215-629-1240).

And what gay shopper can resist a store called Phag (Philadelphia Home Art Garden, 1225 Walnut St; 215-627-0461)? This Gayborhood spot is crammed with tchotchkes, greeting cards, and Phag tees.

It's all pretty liberating, and isn't that what Philly's for?

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

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