If you think the only reason to go to Philadelphia is to eat the famous cheesesteaks, think again. Of course, that’s not to say that the cheesesteaks may not be the highlight of your visit, but just that there are a few other things to do in Philadelphia besides eating cheesesteaks, such as go to a nightclub, have a few drinks, or even dance – all of which are far less likely to cause weight gain and clog the arteries.
Philadelphia is a town known for its vibrant nightlife and down-to-earth attitude, cheesesteak notwithstanding. With that in mind, here are a few things that you can do, after the sun, and the cheesesteak go down in Philadelphia.
1. Howl at the Moon
With a tagline like “remember to howl loudly and drink responsibly,” it is pretty clear where the priorities lie at Howl at the Moon. While it may be known for its infectious high energy party tunes, it’s the Dueling Pianos and bucket drinks that keep the locals howling for more. Try a cherry-topped bucket of Adios Mofo, or have a little Sex on the Moon, while you watch the pianos fight it out. It’s also a great place for your wedding or bachelorette party, so be sure to check it out.
2. The 700
It’s a sports bar, it’s a brewery, it’s a dance club, it’s the 700. Just when you think you’ve got this place categorized, it becomes more difficult to define. It certainly seems to be big on beer; the website gives you an entire research paper on the subject. It also seems to place a lot of importance on music.
There’s a house party complete with bass-thumping DJs every Thursday through Saturday after 10 pm on the second floor, and a Dirty Boogie party on the first Thursday of every month, so you can rock off your blue suede shoes. However, it may be the soccer that this club is really about. With a sponsorship from the Philly soccer firm, there’s always a packed crowd on game day ready to take in some international footy on the telly every Tuesday night, so come in and order a Guinness and belly up to the bar for the beautiful game at the 700.
3. Johnny Brenda’s
If you grew up on the east coast, you probably knew a Johnny Brenda. Maybe not specifically Johnny Brenda, but some version of him: the Italian kid who gets into trouble a little too much, and hangs out with all the cool kids; sort of a Danny Zuko type, for all the Grease fans out there.
So it should come as no surprise that the Johnny Brenda for whom this gastropub is named is a Philadelphia Boxer, or that the pub features an open kitchen where you can watch tattooed and pierced chefs whip up gourmet dishes, even though you would think most of them wouldn’t even know how to spell arugula, much less eat a watermelon salad There’s also a music hall upstairs for indie rockers to let off steam and local beers on a hand-pumped tap for the would be artists and musicians who come across town to imbibe.
4. The Union Transfer
Way before Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah played its first show at the Union Transfer, the Union Transfer was providing service to the city of Philadelphia. From 1918 to 1942, the Union Transfer Baggage Express Company was storing baggage for the railway company and was even used by the German embassy prior to World War II. Although the building would undergo several incantations as a trust company, tire shop, and even Spaghetti Warehouse over the next 50 years, it is the Union Transfer identity that stuck. In 2011, the Union Transfer became one of the hottest indie music venues in Philly and still is today.
In the past years, the Union Transfer has hosted bands such as The Cold War Kids, Jim James, Dinosaur Jr, the Tallest Man on Earth, Diplo, and M83 to name a few. They may not serve up cheese fries, but they do offer free admission if you were on any of the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, or 76ers championship rosters.
5. The Trestle
If you’re stuck in the 60’s and 70’s, so is the Trestle Inn. With a history dating back to the railroad age, the Trestle Inn was always a place where patrons could come for a drink and a little socializing under the Reading Railroad viaduct, and the Trestle Inn has no intentions of letting bygones be bygones.
Visitors to today’s Trestle can don their bellbottoms, platforms, and heavy eyeliner and join in the fray as the go-go dancers boogie down to the vinyl sound of the Trestle DJs spinning funk, soul, disco, and classic rock. Also known for reintroducing Philly to the vintage tastes of the Classic Whiskey Sour, the Trestle is the perfect place for after-work drinking with 70+ domestic and international whiskey, 18 craft cocktails, and 13 rotating craft beers.
6. Tattooed Mom
Nothing gives quite as accurate an image of today’s world like the name “Tattooed Mom.” The cross-generational styles, the “anything goes” attitudes, the self-expression; all kind of what you can expect from the Tattooed Mom Bar and Restaurant. With funky retro leopard print couches, poetry readings, and chances to customize your own rubber ducky, the Tattooed Mom gives new meaning to the word eclectic, and that doesn’t even include the cocktail and food menu. The drinks at this place look more like children’s art projects than cocktails, and the vegan pickle fried chicken sandwich is not for the faint of heart.
However, when it all comes down to it, you really have to love Tattooed Mom. Why? Because Tattooed Mom is all about mom. From the Mom’s Mule to the Hot Mom Toddy, Tattooed Mom never forgets the woman who made it all possible, and any place that loves Moms so much is a place with a heart, and that’s alright with everyone.
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Updated: April 3, 2018