Sometimes you want to go out without spending a lot of money, and a bar without a cover offers just that. Fortunately in Philly, there’s an abundance of bars sans cover that offer great food, drinks and service.
1114 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Barcade is full of classic arcade games from the 1980s like Super Mario Brothers, Ms. Packman and Frogger. These vintage video games cost only a quarter to play and a change machine is onsite, so there’s no need to fill up your pockets before leaving the house. The kitchen serves great comfort food like mac and cheese, pierogies, nachos and sandwiches. Specials during the week include $1 pork tacos on Mondays and half-off small plates during happy hour until 7 p.m.
2013 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
There are few things better than great drinks, great food and great service, and if you come to the Bards, you’re guaranteed all three. With no cover, this small bar on Walnut St. is no-frills and has a number of specials throughout the week. The Bards serves authentic Irish fare, including fish and chips, Irish stem and shepherd’s pie, along with appetizers that make great late-night snacks (since the kitchen is open until 1 a.m.). Drexel students receive 20 percent off with a student I.D.
Bob And Barbara’s
1509 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Bob and Barbara’s is one of the better dive bars in Philadelphia, and “never a cover, but always a good time” should be its motto. Home to the first citywide special – a shot of whiskey and a PBR for only $3.50 – this joint is decked out in PBR paraphernalia that only a true-dive bar can pull off. Come in on a Friday or Saturday night to hear the always-joyful jazz band playing what’s become known as “liquor drinking music.” Thursday night is its famous drag show, and every other Wednesday is its ever-popular country music night, hosted by the Wallace Brothers Band.
Good Dog Bar
224 S. 15th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Good Dog Bar is one of the best bars in Midtown Village without a cover. No matter which day you choose to come here, whether it’s during the week or weekend, you’re sure to have a great time. By the end of the night, you’ll probably be friends with both its bartenders and patrons. This place has three floors full of excellent bar food and one of the best beer selections in the city. Head to the third floor for billiards and darts or stick around on the first or second floor for food, drinks and a guaranteed fun time.
The Sidecar Bar And Grille
2201 Christian St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
The Sidecar Bar & Grille is a great neighborhood joint in the Graduate Hospital area on 22nd and Christian St. Come in on Sundays for “Pork Me Sundays” and $7 nachos, $10 pulled pork and a $4 raspberry mint cooler cocktail, or during happy hour for great drink specials. Every first week of the month, Sidecar brings in one of Philly’s top chefs to collaborate on a chicken wing recipe with Chef Brian Lofink, which is then served as a special all week. The kitchen serves until 1 a.m.
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Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.