Best pub food in Philadelphia

June 28, 2014

The 2015 Foobooz 50 Best Bars

50-best-bars-2015-american-sardine-bar-940We reached out to bartenders, beer reps, booze writers and professional drinkers of all stripes, asked them to pick their most-loved bars in the area, added our own favorites, and then did a little cocktail-napkin math. A whole year’s worth of drinking, and it all comes down to this: one list, 50 bars (in order of greatness) and no apologies. Bottoms up, Philly.

★ = A bar that’s been on all seven 50 Best Bars lists
❊ = New this year or back on the list after an absence

  1. Point Breeze
    You only have to spend a night at the friendly side of the long, polished bar here to get why American Sardine Bar is the best in Philly. It’s warm and welcoming, loud but convivial. They’ve got a great beer selection, bartenders who know you better the longer you sit, tasty sandwiches coming from the kitchen, frequent specials to keep things interesting. All that, and then there’s also the backyard that’s just as inviting and twice as cool as yours is ever going to be.
  2. Old City ★
    Where else can you get a po’boy, debris fries, and a Belgian tripel on draft? Only at the Khyber, which has long held its place as one of Philly’s most comfortable, most versatile and most dependably loved bars.
  3. Rittenhouse
    It’s amazing that a hotel bar ranks so high on this list — which is a testament to just how good A.Bar is. Attached to the AKA Rittenhouse hotel, it’s a sleek, modern little snug of a place offering excellent mixed drinks off an ever-changing menu and some of the best day-or-night people-watching in the city.
  4. East Passyunk
    There are those among us who can’t imagine dinner out at a nice restaurant without stopping first at the bar. And Townsend, with its beautiful woody and welcoming space, is exactly the kind of place we’re dreaming of.
  5. Grad Hospital ★
    From the beer selection to the cocktails, the kitchen and the floor, this destination gastropub is run better than any neighborhood bar.
  6. Rittenhouse ★
    Tom Peters’s Philadelphia love song to Belgian beer bars has won so many awards that adding another to the pile seems a little ridiculous. Still, if you’re serious about your beer, this is one of those places you just can’t miss. From approachable Chimay Red (on draft) to rarities like Mahr’s Ungespundets Keller, there’s always something on tap here worth bragging about.
  7. Midtown Village ❊
    This sexy bar with solid drinks and food gets turnt up when you head upstairs to Center City’s best new spot for dancing. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing. Mostly, we just stay downstairs for the cocktails.
  8. Chinatown
    It’s got a well that would put any lesser bar out of business in a month and a liquor selection unparalleled by any local joint, and it just got named one of the best bars on earth by Conde Nast Traveler. (But we loved it before it was cool.)
  9. East Passyunk
    Home of the best $5 burger in town, it’s
    also the place to be educated by the most polite bar staff in Philly as you listen to music the old-fashioned way — one album side at a time.
  10. Washington Square West ★
    Behind the pinup girls, strange name and black-and-white tile (which drives some people crazy) sits one of the most consistently beloved bars in the city. Those who name it among their favorites do so because of the wonderfully curated beer list, well-trained staff, excellent bar snacks and finely wrought classic cocktails.
  11. Fishtown ★
    This Swiss Army Knife of a bar offers great local beer, surprisingly good food, powerful mixed drinks, and a schedule full of live music that will make you cooler just by listening. No matter what you need to make your night complete, the odds are good that Johnny Brenda’s has it.
  12. Midtown Village ❊
    Twenty years in, we can’t imagine a city without Fergie’s — or, more importantly, without owner and archetypal drinking man Fergus “Fergie” Carey himself.
  13. Grad Hospital ★
    The Sidecar packs ’em in from morning to night. From the 9 a.m. weekend brunch to the end of “Pork Me Sunday, ” there’s never a time when Sidecar isn’t appropriate.
  14. Rittenhouse
    Vernick gets a lot of love for the food coming out of the kitchen. But the bar up front has always been an elegant place for pre-dinner drinks, for a quick glass of wine and a snack, or for settling in and watching night take hold of the city.
  15. Northern Liberties ★
    Seeing the burger and potpie on the chalkboard is like seeing old friends. And you’re also happy to see that Standard Tap is still taking care of itself, because that deck? It looks better than ever.
  16. South Philly ❊
    It’s an old-man bar with a good Italian restaurant attached — that’s what the crew behind it wants you to think. But in truth, the Triangle is a neighborhood taproom offering adult water ice, an interesting beer list, and a roster of well-made cocktails, both classic and modern.
  17. Grad Hospital ★
    The place that made the Citywide famous is still the place where the Citywide is famous. A dive bar with all the class, characters and comfort that title implies. Let’s hope it never changes.
  18. Fishtown
    This is a well-designed bar. From the industrial-strength bar stools to the 24 beers on tap, Kraftwork is built Fishtown strong.
  19. Center City
    Tacos and beer are like best friends. And Jose Pistola’s is where your two best friends are always hanging out.
  20. East Passyunk
    With all types of canned beer in the coolers, rotating food vendors and a very liberal BYO food policy, the Garage is serving the community exactly what the community wants it to.
  21. Fishtown
    Another place to go when you need tacos and beer — in that order, and maybe repeated four or five times. Comfortable, welcoming, and only dive-y in a deliberate sort of way, it’s got cheap American and Mexican beers and 25 kinds of tequila behind the bar.
  22. East Passyunk ★
    Cozy nooks, tasty beer and a pleasant staff. Who needs more than that?
  23. Grad Hospital ★
    Perfect for when last call is one burger, one shot and one beer.
  24. Northern Liberties ❊
    Sure, you can come here for the live jazz, but we like it for its 36 rotating taps, compact wine list, wood paneling and admirable whiskey list.
  25. Old City ❊
    Jose Garces took over the old Bookbinders space and opened a modern bar that knows its history. From the manhattans to the turtle soup, this place serves the kinds of cocktails and food that would’ve made your grandfather feel right at home.
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