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Embracing the Golden Age of Drinking at Bud & Marilyn's

When Marcie Turney and Val Safran set out to open Bud & Marilyn’s, a 13th Street ode to retro Americana, there was no question that cocktails were going to be as major a part of the experience as wedge salads and meatloaf. After all, the concept is a tribute to Turney’s grandparents who owned a Wisconsin restaurant in the heyday of prime ribs and more than one martini meals.
 
But when Turney and Safran enlisted the help of longtime Philly bartender talent, Colin Shearn, to consult on the opening menu, things got even more exciting. With roots at Franklin Mortgage, Shearn had recently returned to town after putting in a few years behind the bars in both Louisville, Kentucky and most recently L.A.  
 
“Originally I wanted to focus on classics without doing all classics, because, you know, it’s boring,” Shearn laughs.
 
His philosophy for creating the menu stemmed from his idea of how his grandparents enjoyed cocktails in the 50s and 60s. Although Shearn’s grandparents were relatively safe drinkers, they lived in a time when adults were expected to entertain, meaning that they knew how to mix a drink (or five) and kept a well-stocked bar.
 
The concept of a well-stocked bar is where Shearn began the menu at Bud & Marilyn’s.
 
“I started with the classics because that’s the way that I like to write a menu,” he says. “That way I can focus on base spirits and then from there if originals are called for, needed, or wanted, I could have touchstones to draw from.”
 
Working with great spirits, there are a handful of classics on the opening menu like a Sloe Gin Fizz and two takes on an Old Fashioned, one with bonded bourbon and one with brandy and a splash of Sprite. And there are all of the makings for everything from a Perfect Manhattan to a Tom Collins on hand, but Shearn wasn’t content to stay firmly within the guidelines of Mr. Boston.
 
From the Mid Century decor to the food and cocktail menus, Bud & Marilyn’s marries vintage and modern sensibilities in the best possible way. The interior is a Mid Century dream come true and the menu is dotted with throwback plates like chop suey and stroganoff. And the cocktail list reads similarly - old meets new. Food friendly and entirely approachable, the Lakeside is a blend of vodka, lime juice, mint, and violet while the Planter’s Punch arrives in a tiki mug.
 
And with a comprehensive list of wines and beers, a list of brown spirits that would satisfy the most discerning of grandpas, and a cordial and dessert wine line-up that would make a grandma proud, drinking at Bud & Marilyn’s is the best of both worlds.
 
“It’s hard to take yourself or the drinks too seriously if you’re making blue drinks,” Shearn says talking about the Cannonball, a tequila-based drink with lime juice, rosemary, and a splash of blue curacao. It’s fun and refined at the same time, embracing the good times, zero pretense ethos of Bud & Marilyn’s.
 
Bud & Marilyn’s; 1234 Locust St., 215-546-2220

Photo by Caroline Russock


Tags: Cocktails, Food
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