Typically, art is thought of as a visual expression. You purchase a painting because it understands you and connects on a deeper level than the unremarkable, day-to-day pedestrian bombardment of the exasperatingly banal. But any one of your senses is fully capable of recognizing art. A mixologist creates potable masterpieces that titillate taste buds. Alcohol is a heady magic that can sooth your body and mind while encouraging your soul to revel in an intoxicating twilight of delight. Here are some establishments where you can experience that carefully crafted, transcendent bliss.
Number 2 Rector St.
Philadelphia, PA 19127
The rustic elegance of Bourbon Blue offers the unique ambiance of a casual upscale restaurant. Located along the Manayunk Canal and offering either an indoor or outdoor experience, this establishment offers a mix of American Cuisine such as wings, nachos, and sliders along with New Orleans staples that include Gumbo Ya Ya, Jambalaya, and Blackened Catfish. However, with specialty cocktails such as Bourbon Blue Martini, Blueberry Basil Lemonade, Pisco Fizz, and the refreshing Summer Sun, the artfully crafted beverages are sure to please. Casual attire; street, lot and valet parking; reservations and walk-ins welcome.
1052 N. Hancock St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Specializing in alluringly original artisan drinks, this cozy candlelit Northern Liberties locale is only slightly over two years old. The establishment was named after the lead character from the 1959 erotic novel by Emmanuelle Arsan, and the little room absolutely hums with a sultry vibe. Mixologists Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal are crafting perfectionists, each original creation is a vibrant flavorized blast of mouth-stunning brilliance. Think dressy attire, but walk-ins are welcome, and both cash and credit are accepted.
The Good King Tavern
614 S. 7th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
The Good King Tavern is one of those gems that you discover and try to keep a secret so it doesn’t become overrun with curious foodies. Located just a block off of South Street, the charming French-themed eatery serves up things like Ratatouille Omelette, Steak Tartare, Pea Croquettes, and Pommes Frites. As for the flip side, the tantalizing thirst delighting side, how does a Le Diable (tequila, lime, ginger, crème de cassis, and Club Soda) sound? Or maybe a TGK Zombie (rums, falernum, apricot, citrus, and the obligatory umbrella)? And, for the adventurous, there’s always the Cocktails Du Jour. Casual attire, reservations suggested.
Hop Sing Laundromat
1029 Race St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
To say that the Hop Sing Laundromat is inviting would be a lie. The establishment has a clear disdain for its “Imperialist American ‘friends.’” In fact, if you do not know exactly what to expect beforehand, it is highly possible you’ll never venture through the intimidating, unmarked iron gate … into a secret paradise! Imagine a most splendid mixed-drink Elysium saturated in exotic speakeasy lore, then open your eyes to discover that the Hop Sing Laundromat is beyond fantasy. The ornate alcohol oasis was inspired by a 70-day odyssey in search of the “ideal cocktail bar.” However, if you can’t obey the curious rules, then don’t even consider venturing into the hallowed lounge of this cash-only, no-cell-phone-use nirvana.
1516 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Located in the hustle-bustle heart of Philadelphia, just a few short blocks from City Hall itself, is the stylish seafood restaurant and raw bar known as Oyster House. The loft-like space provides an inviting, open feel that creates the perfect atmosphere for an upscale gathering of good friends. Besides their extensive raw bar featuring a dozen clams and oysters, the establishment offers a remarkably diverse array of choice seafood platters. And, when it comes to that fine art of drink mixing, the Oyster House bartenders are purveyors of unparalleled pouring precision. Recommended: Mucha Muchacha – made with Blanco Tequila, Mezcal, Aperol, lime, and falernum!
Allen Foster, a lifelong Greater Philadelphia resident, has been writing about all those wonderful things that make us feel so alive for over 20 years. He approaches each day as an adventure, eager to discover what new and vibrant surprises await just around life’s corner. You can see his work on Examiner.com.