Back-to-School Bar Guide
Tria Wine Room: Formerly known as Biba, this University City drinking establishment serves as the “Tria light” of the west side of the Schuylkill. The beer, cheese and wine-focused salon recently unveiled a brand new outdoor deck.
The Blockley: The large space at the Blockley is great for groups, and the gastropub holds concerts and events almost nightly. Although bar is fairly new, it’s been able to attract an impressive array of national acts such as Freeway, Joe Budden, and Akron/Family.
Drinker’s West: A spacious college bar that features a balcony with seating, ping-pong, Big Buck Hunter, a projector, and numerous arcade games, Drinker’s West is a hot-spot for students from both Penn and Drexel. The specials – including 35-cent wings – are worth the trip alone, and everything on tap (including plenty of good, local brews) is available by the pitcher.
Saint Joseph’s University
Bala Inn: Since the 2006 closing of the Muddy Duck, Bala has served as the dive bar of choice for SJU students, thanks to its proximity. Cheap pitchers and pints are the name of the game, and the students who flock here on St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t have it any other way.
Kildare’s: On the heart of Main Street in Manayunk (where SJU students tend to gather), sits Kildare’s. Somewhat classier than you might guess, the Irish bar serves tasty pub food and has a standard selection of beer.
Landmark Americana: The local mini-chain has plans to add a fourth location across from Hagan Arena, adding a much needed boost to the school’s sorely lacking bar scene. Check out our June writeup for additional deets.
Draught Horse: Located directly across from the Liacouras Center, this pre- and post-game favorite has 20 beers on tap, the price of which can drop as much as $4 during happy hour (every weekday from 4–7 PM).
Pub Webb: Also positioned near the arena, on Cecil B. Moore, Pub Webb is a popular stop thanks to its specials, which include $2 domestics and drafts and $1 tacos on Tuesdays.
PYT: Known for their delicious (and sometimes wild) burgers and spiked milkshakes, PYT may be a bit of a walk for some students. But when the prize is a Butterfinger adult shake and a Korean short rib burger, it’s totally worth the trip.
University of the Arts
Dirty Frank’s: A dive bar that perfectly exemplifies the term. Its proximity to UArts and the low drink prices (not to mention the fact that it has a pinball machine and dart board) make it imperative that every student of age check it out at least once.
Good Dog: Three floors, a great beer selection (for example, current brews on tap include Lagunitas IPA and Lost Abbey Witch’s Wit), TVs, a pool table, one of the better burgers in the city… is there any more you could ask for in a bar?
Jose Pistola’s: Tex-Mex done well with a convenient location in the middle of Center City. The bar has plenty of space on each of its two floors, and – don’t let the plain-looking decor fool you – a very impressive beer selection.
University of Pennsylvania
City Tap House: This West Philly sports bar currently holds the title of “most taps in the city,” proving that a massive number of TVs doesn’t necessarily have a negative effect on the quality of the beer. There’s also an outdoor balcony that gives patrons a great view of University City.
Smokey Joe’s: Adorned with pictures of past Penn basketball players and the self-proclaimed label “Pennstitution,” this bar on 40th Street has been a popular stop for students for over sixty years. The beer selection is mediocre at best, but the pitchers are cheap and there are a number of televisions to watch the big game.
Local 44: This gastropub is not in any way, shape or form a “college bar,” but it’s arguably the best beer house in West Philly, and close to upperclassmen housing. With 18 quality taps that rotate regularly, Local 44 is perfect for the beer enthusiast or someone interested in becoming one. Just know you won’t be able to act the way you would at Drinker’s West or Smokey Joe’s.
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