5 Great Spots for Cocktails

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Yo! The Democratic National Convention is almost here. If you’re a visitor to this great city, welcome!  If you’re a local, like me, then you know Philly is full of incredible surprises. Following are just a few of the fabulous places to grab a drink and immerse yourself in our awesome city.  Philly is a major metropolis with pizzazz; we’re a city of neighborhoods and that means you’ll get a different vibe from various sections of Center City Philadelphia.  So, check out this list and make sure to visit every one of them.

Brick And Mortar
This place has it all! Brunch…check, Dinner…check, Awesome bar…check! If you’re looking for a place with exceptional quality without the formality then you need to get here ASAP.  Located in the Loft District, just a few steps away from the Convention Center, BAM has arguably the best happy hour in the city. They host happy hour Monday thru Friday, 4pm -7pm (WHAT!!!) and they feature $5 house cocktails (a steal). If that’s not reason enough, they also feature $4 craft draughts, $6 tap wines and $7 charcuterie boards (cheese or veg). BAM is a warm & inviting tavern with a contemporary, rustic vibe.  Not the least bit pretentious but stylish nonetheless.  You can watch the game or just enjoy the scene around you, which is just as entertaining.  Cocktails are sensibly priced, averaging at $10. Here are my personal favorite cocktails: Lean on Sheena, made with elderflower and prosecco and stirred to perfection! Want something more stiff…Cameron’s Kick is it. They combine Famous Grouse with their house-made orgeat to get your evening started off with a bang. If you want to go for a classic, then the Old Fashion is your ticket. Bourbon, bitters and expertly handmade gives you a winner every time.  Came in on an empty stomach? Try the Fries Bravas, twice cooked and sprinkled with berbere spice, or the succulent Hoisin Hangar Steak either or both are excellent choices to munch on. You can’t leave without trying the Pork Belly.  Delicious! Len Wood, Mike Welsh and the rest of the BAM Gang have got you covered.


Brick And Mortar
312 North 12th St.
Phila. PA 19107
(215) 923-1596




Double Knot
Take a 5 minute walk from the Convention Center and you’ll find Michael Schulson’s latest creation in Midtown.  Double Knot does double duty. By day, opening at 7am, they’re serving Elixir coffee and espresso from a gorgeous Modbar Espresso system. One of only 10 installations in the country, these taps are works of art. No judgement here, but if you need a special jolt in your coffee from the liquor cabinet, the baristas will oblige. In the late afternoon, stools come out and the upstairs coffee bar turns into a cocktail bar.  Upstairs, Double Knot hosts happy hour 7 days a week from 4pm-7pm.  If you wanna step it up, then you have to step down….downstairs, that is.  Double Knot has a lower level where you can enjoy the finest dining and cocktails this great city has to offer. A sexy atmosphere with private seating areas that will allow you and your guest(s) to enjoy an intimate setting. The menu has a mouth watering selection of izakaya (meaning a Japanese gastropub) and robatayaki (a kind of Japanese barbeque). I suggest ordering the Chef’s Selection. You’ll get a great sampling of the entire menu. You don’t have to be a sushi lover to enjoy the food. The Edamame dumplings are pillow-soft and set in a broth of sake, pea shoot and truffle. Another favorite are the Tempura Shrimp tacos with radish, avocado and a dash of chili. The buttery Broiled Seabass will have you licking the plate. Finally, the Rib Eye, is a real winner. Indulge yourself with dessert.  Roxxanne, the pastry chef, certainly has a gift that the world needs to know about.  She creates a variety of pastries each day and any one of them is certainly a good choice.  But this post is about cocktails right?  Every drink preparation is a production – you won’t be disappointed if you forgo the table scene and eat at the bar because just watching the friendly bartenders create is entertaining enough.  I love bourbon, so I tried the delicious Gripping Hitch made with Demerara syrup, orange bitters, chocolate bitters and topped with a maple foam. Also, the Grantchester Knot made with Reposado and orange cognac is another good choice. You can’t dine here without having their signature cocktail, which is a version of the iconic Manhattan, the Double Knot. Made with smoked cloves, bourbon and barrel rye, it’s a treat. Make a reservation and treat yourself.

Double Knot
120 South 13th St.
Phila. PA 19107
(215) 631-3868


Graffiti Bar
As the name suggests, this place is hip & cool.  The city’s “In” crowd flock to this outdoor patio tucked behind Sampan. With happy hour going on 7 days a week between 4pm-7pm, Graffiti Bar generates a crowd quick!  The cocktails are amazing and the scene is even better!  Great energy and you’ll get a good feel of the pulse of Philadelphia!


124 South 13th St.
Phila. PA 19107
(215) 732-3501




Frankford Hall
The beer garden scene in Philadelphia is the best in the country.  Wanna test this out?  Head over to Frankford Hall in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood.  It’s the city’s largest, able to accommodate 160 people inside and 240 more in the outdoor courtyard.  Frankford Hall is a place built for socializing with picnic tables and table games, you’ll make friends easily.


Frankford Hall
951 Frankford Ave.
Phila. PA 19125
(215) 634-7400



American Sardine Bar
One of the best local bars this city has to offer!  ASB is located in the white hot Point Breeze neighborhood.  A come-as-you-are atmosphere offering a variety of beers on tap.  The menu changes daily, so you’ll never get bored.  The staff is amazingly friendly.  Here’s an insider’s tip: take a picture of the chalkboard menu as you walk-in, that way you won’t have to turn your head or get out your seat to pick your next draft.  The rotation of beers is so good that they can’t print menus fast enough!  The food is awesome.  If these are available you must try:  Salt & Pepper fries, Fried Bologna slider, Fried Chicken sandwich or Kitty’s Noodles!  If the weather’s nice, sit outside.


American Sardine Bar
1800 Federal St.
Phila. PA 19146
(215) 334-2337





Joe Val is a native of Philadelphia and enjoys showing his love for this incredible city through photography.  He captures Philadelphia’s essence with images of historical and modern architecture found throughout its diverse neighborhoods, it’s many festivals and the beautiful and interesting people within the city’s colorful street scenes.