Explore Philadelphia

The Cocktail Guru's Guide to Philly's Stylish Bar Scene

Philadelphia might be known as a beer town, but make no mistake: we like our drinks stiff, our cocktails artisanal and the environment we sip them, dark and elegant

Philadelphia might be known as a beer town, but make no mistake: we like our drinks stiff, our cocktails artisanal and the environment we sip them, dark and elegant. Here, the places to sip in style.

Le Méridien Hotel’s lobby drinking establishment Amuse (1421 Arch St., 215.422.8222)—with it’s long onyx-black bar, high ceilings with pleated white drapery and simple lighting—is absolutely operatic. Nibble on bacon-wrapped dates and sip specialty cocktails. 

Oxblood-colored leather seating and blackened windows gives The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. (112 S. 18th St., 267.467.3277) the ultimate downtown-speakeasy vibe. Plug into the scene with artisanal cocktails such as a “The Mother of Invention,” made with Famous Grouse Scotch, Fernet Branca and ginger syrup.

Heavy on the subtly dramatic and dark decor with corner windows for environmental lighting, a.bar (135 S. 18th St., 215.825.7035) gives off the feeling of floating in the night sky—an apt sensation when it comes to imbibing the dreamy “Drop the Mic”, a single malt whisky with Chartreuse, Lillet Rouge and lemon. 

Step beyond the imposing, textural-wooded door at owner-chef Justin Bogle’s Avance (1523 Walnut St., 215.405.0700) and head to the swanky subterranean bar which is stocked for a sophisticated cocktail experience. The clean lines, slender silverly light fixtures, swiveling space-age seats are the stuff of modernist’s dreams.

 As its name alludes, Hotel Monaco’s Stratus Bar & Lounge (433 Chestnut Street, 215.925.2889) is located high above historic Old City. This rooftop sultry spot features a rooftop bar, plush seatings, and a wall-length fireplace and fire pits for cooler evenings. Check out the indoor private areas flanking each side of the saloon for when you want to take the conversation inside.

M Restaurant (231 S. Eighth St., 215.625.6666) at the quaint boutique Morris Hotel is this city’s most gorgeous garden restaurant, complete with tall trees and bushes laced with twinkling lights. Vegetables and herbs grown on site are showcased in garden-to-cocktail drinks like “Rosemary’s Baby,” made with rosemary infused gin, and “The Basilica Martinil” made with tomato-basil-infused vodka.