It’s not all historic tourist sites and Duck Tours in Philadelphia. Behind the scenes of the town’s flash and glitz, Philly residents work hard in the grittier sides of the city. When it comes to unwinding with a cold one, there is no better way to while away the hours than slugging one down as the sun sets over the waterfront. Here are the top haunts to hit up for wining, dining and spectacular water views.
Cavanaugh’s River Deck
417 N. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
With DJ entertainment every night, six bars and an outside dance floor, it’s no wonder that Cavanaugh’s River Deck is one of the top hot spots in Philly. The seasonal nightclub’s real highlight, though, is its view of the Delaware River and Ben Franklin Bridge. Expect a packed dance floor as patrons loosen up with an amazing selection of tasty cocktails and a great variety of standard pub fare. If you can adhere to the unusual dress code stipulating no hats and white T-shirts ever, and no sunglasses and high heels on Fridays or Saturdays, you’re in for a real treat.
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Maggie’s Waterfront Cafe
9242 N. Delaware Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19114
Established in 2008, Maggie’s has a great vibe as well as a great view. The waterfront cafe and Irish sports bar is located in Northeast Philly, along the Delaware River. A highly polished wood bar and brick walls make for a cozy and appealing place to hang out after work, especially for the 20- and 30-something crowd. Expect a nice selection of bottled and draft beers, as well as specialty cocktails. It doesn’t get much better than sitting outside on the river, munching on appetizers and drinking a cold one.
221 N. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Morgan’s Pier calls itself an all-American backyard beer garden, but not too many beer gardens have a location like this. Situated practically under the Ben Franklin Bridge, this open-air bar and deck has awesome views of the Delaware River, a picturesque marina and, of course, the massive expanse of the bridge. The wine and beer menus are far from the norm, but the specialty drink menu offers some really interesting concoctions. Try the Watermelon Ricky, a watermelon wheat ale over watermelon puree, or the Crow’s Nest, three types of rum, fresh juice, SNAP liqueur and pomegranate.
401 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
If a spectacular spot overlooking the Schuylkill isn’t close enough to the water for you, then head to Moshulu. It’s a restored, four-masted ship converted into an elegant restaurant and stylish bar. The circa 1904 vessel is docked on the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing and offers fabulous views of the riverfront and Philly skyline. The Bongo Bar, located on the upper deck, features al fresco cocktails and a great bar food menu during the summer. Live music with an island feel is also offered on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The Water Works Restaurant
640 Water Works Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Part of the historic Fairmount Water Works complex that once supplied water to Philadelphia, this totally renovated, architecturally awesome building now supplies great food and drink to the city. Enjoy a cocktail in the stylish bar just steps from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Schuylkill River’s scenic Boathouse Row. On a clear day, you can take your drinks out to the veranda for a second-to-none view of the river. The bar menu has a vast selection of wines and some interesting, albeit pricey, bar food options, including grilled octopus, twice grilled wings and duck spring rolls.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.