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Nightlife & Music

Top Cocktail Bars In Philadelphia

October 17, 2013 8:00 AM

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(A drink topped with fresh cream from Hop Sing Laundromat.  Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

(A drink topped with fresh cream from Hop Sing Laundromat. Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

Philadelphia is becoming a hot spot for crafty cocktails. With many bars sprouting up in the past few years, from the most exclusive speakeasies to the more relaxed gastropubs, bartenders are taking pride in their creations and patrons are taking note. Made with the best ingredients in a fun environment, these are the top places to grab a cocktail in Philly.

The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
112 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 467-3277
www.thefranklinbar.com

The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. has the recognition of being Philadelphia Weekly‘s 2012 Best Cocktail Bar and for a reason. Its cocktail list is extensive and each one is made with perfection (and a lot of ingredients). The waiters and waitresses are very knowledgeable and can offer suggestions based on your preferences, so don’t hesitate to ask. The bartenders will even create a cocktail just for you. The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. is located in a basement, just a block away from Rittenhouse Square. With its speakeasy vibe, the lights are dim and the bouncer at the front door will keep you outside until a table opens up. It’s worth the wait.

The Farmers’ Cabinet
1113 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 923-1113
www.thefarmerscabinet.com

The Farmers’ Cabinet is an 1800s Victorian-style bar and restaurant. It also resembles a speakeasy and the bartenders are dressed like they came straight from the Prohibition era. The live music performed here is unique and a jazz band along with pianist Drew Nugent play tunes from the early half of the 20th century five nights a week. The bar is lit up entirely by candles and lanterns and the cocktails are innovative and traditional. The Farmers’ Cabinet also has an extensive craft beer list and a menu that uses locally grown foods.

Lemon Hill
747 N. 25th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 232-2299
www.lemonhillphilly.com

Lemon Hill is the best place to get a cocktail in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia. The bar was opened in 2011 by the owners of The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. Lemon Hill offers more great cocktails, but this time in a relaxed, gastropub vibe instead of the extravagance of a speakeasy. The cocktail list features many classics for only $9. Lemon Hill also has quite a few unique cocktails. Although the list is not as extensive as Franklin Mortgage, the cocktails also have a lot of ingredients to them, creating unique flavors. Lemon Hill has a full brunch and dinner menu as well.

Related:  Top Spots for Unique Cocktails

1 Tippling Place
2006 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 665-0456
www.1tpl.com

1 Tippling Place can be hard to find – the unmarked entrance is right beside Spice Ends just off of 20th and Chestnut. Once you’re able to find the building, however, you’ll be glad you did. This is a cozy bar with plenty of comfortable chairs, sofas and tables. The atmosphere here is more relaxed and less pretentious than other speakeasies in Philly. The bar is open six days a week (closed on Monday) from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. It has a good selection of classic and seasonal cocktails, all made with precision. Also on the menu is beer, wine and a small selection of hors d’oeuvres.

Hop Sing Laundromat
1029 Race St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
www.hopsinglaundromat.com

To enter this unmarked speakeasy, you must first ring the doorbell at its iron gate where you are then greeted by its owner or a doorman, asked a series of questions and taken into a waiting room where you are read a list of rules. These set of rules includes no talking on your cell phone and no taking pictures. And be warned – this cocktail bar will escort you out if you break them. Hop Sing Laundromat, a hard-to-find bar in the middle of China Town, likes to stress that it is only a “simple cocktail bar.” Maybe it’s modesty, but once you enter, the Prohibition era ambiance will prove that it’s much more. The cocktails are made with premium liquor and cost between $12-$15. Hop Sing also follows a strict dress code, so make sure you dress to impress.

Related: Most Creative Cocktails in Philadelphia

Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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