Spirit Cruises January 2023 Leaderboard

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

by Drink Philly on Dec 14, 2023 in Roundups


Photo by Drink Philly

In a city with new bar openings every week, it can be hard to keep up with the everchanging Philly cocktail landscape. Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered with our most comprehensive and definitive roundup of Philadelphia’s Best Cocktail Bars.


Photo by Drink Philly

Philadelphia Distilling
Known best for its Bluecoat Dry Gin, Philadelphia Distilling opened its production facility and tasting room in Fishtown in 2017. The beautifully converted factory space is the perfect place to grab an expertly crafted seasonal cocktail or a classic martini. (25 E Allen St.)



Photo by Jason Varney

Friday Saturday Sunday
The 2023 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Restaurant features a cocktail menu from lauded bartender Paul Macdonald. You’ll find high-quality, unique ingredients in one of eight drinks like the Carte Blanche (Angostura bitters, green chartreuse, smoked eggplant, lime, and salt. (261 South 21st St.)



Photo via Southwark

Southwark
Don’t let the quirky names fool you, this Bella Vista restaurant runs a very serious cocktail program. Standouts include the Mariah Carey Can’t Dance with reposado tequila, carrot juice, Galliano herbal liqueur, lemon, and Angostura bitters. (701 S 4th St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

R&D
Featuring one of the most expansive cocktail menus in the city, you are bound to find something for everyone. From classic martinis, hot cocktails in the cold months, fruit-forward, high, low and no ABV options, this Fishtown spot really does have it all and does it well. (1206 Frankford Ave)



Photo by Jason Varney

Andra Hem
The word unique may be overused, but this moody, Scandinavian cocktail bar truly has some of the most unusually delicious concoctions Philadelphia has ever seen. Original creations include the Lambhattan with lamb-washed bourbon, vermouth and bitters and the Fig Around with olive oil-washed vodka, lemon, fig and black pepper. (218 South 16th St.)



Photo by Nicole Guglielmo

My Loup
One of the newest spots to make our list, this modern French Canadian-inspired restaurant features daily seasonal selections and modern riffs on classic cocktails like their fall-spiced espresso martini and a key lime milk punch with rum, velvet Falernum, Licor 43, lime, and oat milk. (2005 Walnut St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

Palizzi Social Club
Step into old-world South Philly Italian history with a membership to Palizzi Social Club. Open just four days a week when the neon lights are on, members can find a cash-only bar featuring perfectly executed updated classic drinks. (1408 S 12th St)



Photo by Neal Santos

Ranstead Room
Tucked away in a secret location in Center City, this prohibition-style speakeasy from the Starr group features an expansive list of cocktails including three different variations of daiquiris and old fashioneds. (2013 Ranstead St.)



Photo via The Olde Bar

The Olde Bar
Located in the Old Original Bookbinders in Old City, this saloon-style oyster house features classic cocktails like the original recipe Fish House Punch, which is a cocktail founded in Philadelphia in the 1700s. (126 Walnut St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

1 Tippling Place
This cozy, Rittenhouse cocktail parlor serves a lengthy list of classics like the Penicillin with scotch, ginger, lemon, and honey in kitschy barware. (2006 Chestnut St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

a.kitchen & a.bar
Another James Beard award winner on the list, this AKA Hotel bar & restaurant has an impressive cocktail menu featuring unique combinations like the Heat Miser, a vodka martini with fragrant chile peppers and Moroccan spices. (135 S 18th St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

Hop Sing Laundromat
If we write about Hop Sing Laundromat, we may get banned from Hop Sing Laundromat, so it’s best we keep this short and you trust us on this one, this Chinatown speakeasy is worth following the rules to get in. No hate mail please. (1029 Race St.)



Photo via Next of Kin

Next of Kin
A dark, intimate space awaits at Fishtown’s newest cocktail bar. Next of Kin is a great place to grab skillfully-made classic cocktails, including mojitos, Pimm’s cups and French 75’s, before hitting one of the many restaurants on Frankford Ave. (1414 Frankford Ave.)



Photo by Drink Philly

Suraya
Lebanese fare and a beautiful outdoor garden await at this Fishtown spot open for both lunch/brunch and dinner. Cocktails feature Middle Eastern flavors like “The Poet” with Bluecoat Gin, cucumber, Génépy, za'atar, limon omani & aquafaba. (1528 Frankford Ave.)



Photo by Drink Philly

The Franklin (Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company)
A frequent mention on “best speakeasy” lists in the US, this chic hideaway features extravagant cocktails like the Tropical F*ck Storm a large-format rum drink served in a coconut outfitted with fruit for garnish. (1715 Rittenhouse Sq.)



Photo by Drink Philly

Condesa & El Techo
From the same restaurant group as Suraya, Condesa and El Techo (its sister restaurant located upstairs on the 11th floor) both feature a wide selection of mezcal, tequila and other agave-based cocktails. A standout includes the extra-smokey Mezcal Negroni at El Techo. (1830 Ludlow St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

The Library Bar & Bar 210
Tucked away in the Rittenhouse Hotel are the Library Bar and Bar210. Both boast a selection of whiskeys along with house-infused spirits. Try the Library Bar’s Era 52 with Knob Creek’s special ‘Rittenhouse Blend’ Rye, Cynar, shitake and apple cider. (210 W Rittenhouse Sq.)



Photo by Drink Philly

Upstairs at Abyssinia
If you’re more of a dive bar type, head upstairs at this West Philly Ethiopian spot for an unexpectedly amazing cocktail menu of riffs on classics like the Oaxaca Old Fashioned with reposado tequila, mezcal, agave, and an orange twist flamed with Angostura bitters. (229 S 45th St)



Photo via Vernick Fish

Vernick Fish
Located in the opulent Four Seasons Hotel in Center City, Vernick Fish features an upscale fish-house-themed bar menu with options like a clarified long island iced tea and a dark n’ stormy with brown sugar and black pepper. (1 N 19th St.)



Photo by Max Mester

Townsend East Passyunk
Grab a cocktail at this elegant French restaurant located in East Passyunk. Highlights include the Death on the Avenue, a South Philly riff on the classic cocktail “Death in the Afternoon" AKA the Hemingway. (1623 East Passyunk Ave)



Photo by Drink Philly

Laurel
Another small French restaurant on East Passyunk with a fantastic cocktail bar? That’s correct. Try their namesake, the Laurel Martini with gin, sake, Lillet and bay leaf bitters. (1617 East Passyunk Ave.)



Photo by Clay Williams

Vernick
The OG Greg Vernick restaurant with a six-course seasonal tasting menu features a candlelit bar with seasonal, handcrafted cocktails like the Six More Weeks of Winter with tequila, celery, Campari, grapefruit and honey. (2031 Walnut St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

Irwin’s
Upstairs on the 8th floor of the Bok building, this modern Sicilian restaurant features Italian-inspired cocktails like the Passero with dark rum, Bitteroma, sherry and basil honey in a bright space. (800 Mifflin St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

Forsythia
Contemporary French cuisine with even more contemporary cocktails like the Gwyneth Paltrow’s Kid, with – you guessed it - apple gastrique and apple Brandy along with tequila, Lo Fi Amaro and bitters await for you in Old City. (233 Chestnut St.)



Photo via Oloroso

Oloroso
Chef Townsend Wentz’s tapas spot features a vast list of sherry and a sneaky-good cocktail menu with Spanish-inspired choices like the Kaliroso, a mix of red wine, ginger, cola, lime and Fernet Branca. (1121 Walnut St.)



Photo via Barclay Prime

Barclay Prime
Pull up a chair at this swanky library-themed steakhouse and order a whiskey cocktail to pair with your ribeye. The signature Manhattan features an ingredient you don’t find often in drinks – Tobacco infused vermouth. (237 S. 18th St.)



Photo via Charlie was a sinner.

Charlie was a sinner.
This sultry, vegan spot with the moniker “small plates, strong drinks” doesn’t disappoint in the drink department with a diverse menu featuring over 20 veg-forward cocktails. (131 S 13th St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

Vedge
A second vegan spot makes our list for their incredible veggie-filled cocktail program. Have a seat at the bar, which is  in an old Philly mansion, and start with the Higher Frequency made with mezcal, cardamaro, apple-fennel cordial and lemon. (1221 Locust St.)


 


Photo by Matthew Williams

Wm. Mulherin's Sons
The wood-fired Italian restaurant which occupies a space that previously housed the eponymous whiskey distillery, stays true to the smoky theme on their cocktail menu with the Passion Project featuring mezcal, pineapple, passionfruit, aperol, cinnamon and oat milk orgeat. (1355 N Front St.)



Photo by Gab Bhongi

Middlechild Clubhouse
This fun, diner-inspired all day spot serves cocktails for the kid within you adorned with bendy straws, tiki umbrellas and the Seawater Margarita with tequila, grapefruit, lime, celery and a gummy shark. (1232 N Front St.)



Photo via Messina Social Club

Messina Social Club
One of two South Philly, members-only clubs on our list, Messina features classic cocktails as well as signatures like the Die Young, Stay Pretty with 12 club limoncello, aperol, blood orange and fizz in a dimly lit space. (1533 S 10th St.)



Photo via Trestle Inn

Trestle Inn
Come for the disco beats, stay for the impeccable made cocktails. Even when the bar is 3 people deep and the music is blaring, the bartenders at the Trestle Inn do not take shortcuts with their handcrafted signature whiskey sour with fresh egg whites. (399 N 11th St.)



Photo by Drink Philly

JG Skyhigh
60 floors atop the city situates renowned Chef Jean George’s bar. Sip on a Boulevardier with local Rittenhouse Rye, Vigo amaro, local honey and black walnut bitters while taking in the incredible atmosphere at the apex of the 5 star hotel. (1 N 19th St.)



Photo by Mike Prince

Kalaya
Authentic southern Thai cuisine and fun, fresh cocktails await at Chef Chutatip "Nok" Suntaranon’s reimagined spot in Fishtown. The cocktail program was devised by the experts at R&D (also on our list!) – favorites include the Lum Yong with a “mysterious” blend of gins, coconut, lemongrass, galangal, lime, and turmeric. (4 W Palmer St.)



Photo by Christopher Devern

Red Owl Tavern
At the heart of Independence Mall you will find a restaurant that gives a nod to America’s deep history of whiskey distilling. With a lengthy list of whiskeys available in single pours, flights or in a cocktail like the Campfire Old Fashioned with brown butter & bacon fat-washed Old Forester, maple, and bitters it’s the perfect spot to grab a drink after waving to the Liberty Bell. (433 Chestnut St.)



Photo via Ember and Ash

Ember & Ash
A wood hearth is the centerpiece of this East Passyunk spot, along with the excellent cocktail program. Brine lovers will enjoy the Pickle Beet Martini with Stateside Vodka, house dill pickle brine, beet juice and caraway, whereas those on the smokey side will pick the Under the Harvest Moon with bell pepper-infused mezcal, ancho reyes, lime, and smoked egg whites. (1520 E Passyunk Ave.)



Photo by Jason Varney

Cicala at the Divine Lorraine
Step back in time with reclaimed wood floors and a mirrored bar wall at this restaurant in the converted, historic Divine Lorraine Hotel. The cocktail menu features regional Southern Italian-inspired options like the Calabreeze with 75 Italicus Bergamot Liquore, dry vermouth, prosecco, club soda, and olives. (699 N Broad St.)



Photo via Alpen Rose

Alpen Rose
This chandelier-adorned, swanky Schulson Collective steakhouse has a bourbon-heavy cocktail menu with options like the No. 21 featuring bourbon, smoked tea and Pedro Ximenez Fino sherry which will pair perfectly with your after dinner baked Alaska. (116 S 13th St.)



Photo via Volver

Volver
Chef Garces’ Avenue of the Arts spot is more than just a place to take the parents before a show, it’s also a great place to grab a cocktail. The beverage menu highlights bright and fruit forward flavors from around the globe. (300 S Broad St.)

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