Ballantine Beer Leaderboard
Hoodie Allen Leaderboard

Drink Up: 7 Best Whiskey Bars in Philadelphia

Drink Up: 7 Best Whiskey Bars in Philadelphia

Single barrel. Aged Cask. Kentucky straight. Whiskey (or whisky, as its traditionally written in Scotland and Canada) has a language all its own, and the nuanced lexicon can be daunting for a typical tippler to interpret. Essentially, whiskey is just a spirit distilled from a mash of grains like barley, rye or corn. Variations in color, taste and quality derive from a number of factors, including aging, type of grain and water source. The recent rise in domestic microdistilling — look out for Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye — and the availability of a prodigious array of small-batch whiskies is encouraging booze hounds to explore a new lingo of liquor, and Philadelphia is an ideal spot to whet that interest.       

This month’s Philadelphia Whiskey Festival and opening of Stephen Starr and Joe Carroll’s bourbon-and-barbecue emporium Fette Sau — with a rumoured 80-bottle North American whiskey selection — prompts the question: which bars hold Philly’s best collections of brown? Read on for seven places where the “water of life” flows freely.

Cooperage Wine & Whiskey Bar: Tucked into The Curtis Center just north of Washington Square, Cooperage stocks more than 75 varieties of both American and imported whiskies, from spicy Thomas Handy Sazerac Kentucky rye to the choice Macallan Fine Oak, a 15-year-old single-malt Speyside Scotch. What’s more, the weekday happy hour offers a choice of five whiskies at just $5 per pour. Go for an Old Overholt Rye with a few ice cubes (601 Walnut St.; 215-226-2667).

Khyber Pass Pub: A dimly lit Old City den, the Khyber was once known for its rowdy live-music scene. Nowadays, a well-curated jukebox pumps indie rock throughout the bar, but its the extensive selection of spirits and beer that keep patrons loyal. A chalkboard list of ever-rotating drafts may be the top draw, but another menu reveals a nice roundup of Irish whisky and a stellar list of 40 American varietals, including Benjamin Prichard’s Single Malt, a spicy medium bodied sipper, and Hirsch Small Batch, which has hints of vanilla and oak (56 S. 2nd St.; 215-238-5888).

Time: Three-in-one Midtown Village venue Time stocks an astounding array of bottles, with more than 100 varieties of bourbon, rye, scotch and Irish whiskey. Perch beneath the ornate chandelier in the dining room or duck into a cozy booth in the whiskey bar to sample from the interesting collection — start with a buttery Blanton's Straight bourbon and work up to a smoky Glenlivet Nadurra Speyside Scotch (1315 Sansom St.; 215-985-4800).

The Trestle Inn: This recently revamped cocktail bar on the outskirts of Chinatown may appear to be in ruins from its exterior, but venture inside and be rewarded with groovy lighting, go-go dancers and a long list of whiskies, 65 in all. Pay particular attention to the Kentucky bourbon assortment with such standouts as Black Maple Hill and Old Grand Dad 114 (339 N. 11th St.; 267-239-0290).

The Twisted Tail: Head to this two-story South Street “juke joint” for its regularly scheduled live blues, rustic-wood furnishings and 55 types of domestic whiskey, from Kentucky straight Bulleit bourbon to “twisted styles” like Philadelphia Distilling’s Shine corn whiskey. Opt for the whiskey flight to compare single barrel with small batch styles (509 S. 2nd St.; 215-558-2471).

Village Whiskey: Philadelphia’s “Iron Chef” Jose Garces runs away with the prize for best selection. His jewel-box Rittenhouse Square saloon carries a seriously remarkable 177 options of bourbon, rye, Scotch, blended and Irish whiskies, and offers several whiskey flights for those who can’t bear to chose just one dram. If the list seems overwhelming, sidle up to the bar to request advice from a member of the knowledgeable staff, who might point towards a piney Laphroaig Triple Wood single-malt Scotch or a finely aged Rittenhouse 23-year-old rye (18 S. 20th St.; 215-665-1088).

Stateside: As the name suggests, Stateside is devoted to all things American. It follows, then, that the hip East Passyunk Avenue bar’s substantial whiskey and spirits selection consists of a 58 American bourbons, ryes and whiskeys, including the Wisconsin-made Death’s Door White Whisky, the complex Hudson Four Grain bourbon, and four bottlings of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, 12 to 23 years old. (1536 East Passyunk Ave; 215-551-2500).

Photos by Kristina Jenkins and Danya Henninger

Recent Articles
Black Friday Cruise on The Spirit of Philadelphia, Nov 28
Free Holiday Mixology Mixer at The Market and Shops at Comcast Center, Tue. Nov 25
Load up on Carbs at Panorama Before Sunday's Marathon
spacer
Gwar Header
From Around The Web

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Load up on Carbs at Panorama Before Sunday's Marathon

Load up on Carbs at Panorama Before Sunday's Marathon

Fill up on carbs before the big race at Panorama. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 20, 2014
Countdown to Christmas Like an Adult with a DIY Beer Advent Calendar

Countdown to Christmas Like an Adult with a DIY Beer Advent Calendar

The only chocolate you'll find in this advent calendar is in a Double Chocolate Stout....read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Nov 20, 2014
SPONSORED
Perch Pub Brunch Rectangle
7 Local Cocktails for Fall in Philadelphia

7 Local Cocktails for Fall in Philadelphia

Just like the leaves on the trees, the cocktails in your favorite bars are changing with the seasons....read more ›

by Marcos Espinoza Oct 20, 2014
Where to Find Philadelphia's Best Taco Tuesday Deals

Where to Find Philadelphia's Best Taco Tuesday Deals

The mighty taco has become so ubiquitous here in Philly, it's earned a ranking alongside cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Jun 3, 2014
Tria Taproom Taps America's First Trappist Ale

Tria Taproom Taps America's First Trappist Ale

Get a glass of America's first Trappist beer today at Tria Taproom....read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 19, 2014
4 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Eve is Biggest Drinking Night of the Year

4 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Eve is Biggest Drinking Night of the Year

Why is Thanksgiving Eve a big party night? It's the perfect storm for drinking fun. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 25, 2013
20 Places to Rehydrate With a Beer After Running the Philadelphia Marathon

20 Places to Rehydrate With a Beer After Running the Philadelphia Marathon

Science proves it, beer is better than water for rehydrating your system after a strenuous workout. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 19, 2014
Beaujolais & Burgers: A Successful Pairing

Beaujolais & Burgers: A Successful Pairing

Almost everyone loves burgers, but what about burgers and wine? Chilled red wine at that!...read more ›

by Swabreen Bakr Nov 18, 2014
The 5th Annual Winter Beer Festival is Back, Nov. 29

The 5th Annual Winter Beer Festival is Back, Nov. 29

The Winter Beer Festival is back for its fifth year at the 23rd Street Armory with over 100 seasonal beers that are perfect for warming your soul....read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 18, 2014
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Like us on Facebook!

Close