South Street, one of Philadelphia’s most famous streets, is well known for its diverse urban mix of restaurants, bars, and shops.
South Street has evolved over the years; until the 1950s, it was known as the garment district. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was filled with clubs, bars, and live local music. Today, it remains a popular hangout for teens, college students, and twenty- something’s alike.
Boys II Men’s music video, “Motown Philly,” was filmed on South Street, and the stretch is also featured in the opening credits of FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” But the nation first learned about “the hippest street in town” in 1963, when it was the star of The Orlons’ Top 40 hit, “South Street.”
BITES & BREWS:
200 South Street
For over 30 years, Bridget Foy’s has been a South Street staple. Originally named East Philly Café, the name was later changed after the owner’s daughter, Bridget, was born. She is now the general manager. Bridget Foy’s is open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The menu consists of comfort food favorites, along with double fried hand cut fries, short ribs, and cheese steak spring rolls. Bridget Foy’s also offers a good neighborhood vibe and daily happy hours.
Famous 4th Street Delicatessen
700 South 4th Street
This traditional Jewish deli has been serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1923. The Famous 4th Street Delicatessen pickles its own corn beef, and all baking is done in-house. The most popular menu items are smoked fish, homemade deli meats, omelets and challah French toast, and the portions are so big you can either share or take leftovers home. Famous 4th Street Deli has also been featured in the movies “Philadelphia” and “In Her Shoes.”
718 South Street
Brauhaus Schmitz is Philadelphia’s only authentic German bierhall and restaurant. Specializing in German music, food and beer, Brauhaus Schmitz offers a full selection of draught beers, German Schnapps, wines and spirits. All of the food is prepared using only the freshest of local ingredients. Brauhaus Schmitz is open daily from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 a.m.
400 South Street
(215) 928- 1911
Jim’s Steaks is a Philadelphia landmark that has been serving up some of the city’s best cheesesteaks for 70 years, and the walls are filled with photos of the celebrities who have eaten there. Jim’s Steaks is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-1 a.m., Friday & Saturday from 10am-3am and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Lorenzo and Sons
305 South Street
The best place for late night/early morning dining on South Street is Lorenzo and Sons. This cash-only pizza shop serves up oversized slices of pizza daily until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. There is no seating, so you will probably be enjoying your giant, plain cheese, American-style slice of pizza standing on South Street.
611 South 7th Street
This upscale vegan dining destination offers an innovative menu, chic dining room and two stocked bars. The owners, Chef Rich Landau and his dessert chef wife, have been invited to cook at the highly regarded James Beard House. Horizons is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner.
926 South Street
Supper serves up seasonal, modern American cuisine in a rustic urban farmhouse setting. Guests enjoy the fresh produce that is purchased from local farms multiple times a week, and the menu is arranged into “Tartines,” “Hors d’ Oeuvres” and “Plates.” Supper was even named one of Philadelphia magazine’s 50 best restaurants.
Percy Street Barbeque
900 South Street
Enjoy BBQ year-round on South Street at Percy Street Barbeque. This Texas-inspired menu includes brisket, pork belly, jalapeño cheddar sausage, homemade green bean casserole, cornbread, vegan chili and mac & cheese. Percy Street is open daily for lunch and dinner and happy hour from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.
622 South 2nd Street
Since its 1992 opening, Mustard Greens has been a local favorite serving up contemporary Chinese cuisine. The eatery dishes out fresh and simple selections, and a dish including mustard greens is always included. Mustard Greens is open daily for dinner.
530 South Street
Open for 13 years, Tattooed Mom’s is a place for everybody. This laid-back dive bar is open daily and offers specials like $1 PBR cans and half-price sandwiches from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. Its casual comfort food menu is also vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
ART & ENTERTAINMENT:
B Square Gallery
614 South 9th Street
It’s hip to be square at the B Square Gallery! Owner Heather Bryson showcases one of a kind handmade jewelry, functional art and imaginative paintings by local artists—including herself. Gallery hours are Thursday from 1:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. or call for an appointment.
The Laff House
221 South Street
(215) 625- 0692
Be prepared to LOL at this South Street institution. The Laff House Comedy Club hosts nightly local and stand-up comedy acts with Caribbean-influenced entrees, snacks and drinks. Standard show times are Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Friday at 8:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., and Saturday at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight. Tickets can be purchased in advance online and at the box office, or at the door up to half an hour before show time. You must be 18 years or older to attend a show.
624 South 6th Street
L’etage is a luxuriously decorated lounge above the French creperie Beau Mode. The upscale bar menu is accompanied by an ever-changing drink list. Guests enjoy DJ’s, musicians, B movies on various nights and cabaret performers.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
1020 South Street
Award-winning mosaic mural artist and Philly native Isaiah Zagar’s work is on display on over 100 walls throughout the city. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens preserves the artist’s work and educates visitors about mosaic and folk art through tours and workshops. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is open daily from Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Society Hill Playhouse
507 South 8th Street
Located just off South Street, the Society Hill Playhouse is a theatre for people who don’t like theatre—or think they don’t. The historic century-old building plays host to new comedies and East Coast premieres. The cabaret on the first floor seats 99 people, and the main stage on second floor seats 223 people.
Theatre of Living Arts
334 South Street
The Theatre of Living Arts, or TLA, has been a South Street staple and a hub for both local and national musical acts for decades. This standing-room-only midsized music venue was originally converted from a single screen movie theatre.
Atomic City Comics
638 South Street
Atomic City Comics is home to the city’s largest collection of comics, graphic novels, magna and t-shirts in one place. It also houses ‘90s arcade games and an extensive $1 comics and back-issues. The multi-room storefront hosts book signings, art shows and new comic and graphic novel releases every week.
615 South 6th Street
(215) 592- 0256
Antiquarian’s Delight is located just off South Street in a 100-year-old building that was once a synagogue. A variety of vendors there specialize in mid-century apparel, accessories and furniture. It is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Blue Bond Guitars
511 South 4th Street
(215) 829- 1690
Blue Bond Guitars is an independently-owned shop that caters to the working musician. Since the ‘80s, it has been an essential part of the Philadelphia music scene. The shop offers a variety of used guitars, amps and basses, as well as private lessons and repairs. It also specializes in boutique and used effect pedals. Blue Bond is one of Philadelphia best used and vintage shops.
Crash Bang Boom
528 South 4th Street
(215) 928- 1123
Having evolved from the legendary 1980s punk shop Zipperhead (which was made famous by Dead Milkmen 1988 song “Punk Rock Girl”), Crash Bang Boom is located a few paces off South Street. Goth, emo, punk and glam rockers can find a plethora of plaid, animal prints, band tees, leather, vinyl, studs and spikes.
Harry’s Occult Shop
1238 South Street
The motto of Harry’s Occult Shop is “we aim to help,” and they do that through spiritual, mystical and occult guidance. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Harry’s stocks magic supplies and incense. The upstairs wellness center offers readings, workshops and alternative healing methods like Reiki and hypnotherapy.
Loop and Spool
1912 & 1914 South Street
(215) 545- 0755
At Loop, a variety of yarns, patterns and knitting accessories bedeck the walls and tables. The shop also offer classes for all skill levels. Next door, at Spool, customers can explore their huge selection of fabrics, patterns, tools and classes.
538 South Street
(215) 627 3775
For the past decade, Repo records has called South Street its home. This underground music haven specializes in the buying and selling of new and used CD’s, vinyl and music DVD’s. Repo Records also carries many genres of music, including indie, punk, new wave, alternative rock, soul and jazz, along with hard to find releases.
Reported by Melony Roy, KYW Newsradio