Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers!! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Gin and Lavender Lemonade. Philadelphia in the spring was amazing! The city was in full bloom and the cocktails and cuisine to celebrate the season took me by surprise! I ventured up to Philadelphia to spend a few days with my cousin, Jeremy who has been in the food and beverage industry for years. He took me some of the best spots in Philadelphia while showing me around the eclectic neighborhoods of downtown Philadelphia. I love this city! There was a beautiful balance of historic buildings that have been preserved and updated to support a modern fresh feel. I was also surprised how easy it was to walk everywhere! We stayed near Rittenhouse Square, but easily walked to Queen Village, Old City and Center City. Before I arrived I assumed there would be some amazing food, the Starr Restaurants are headquartered there, but I was truly impressed with the quality and variety built up not only across the city, but in each neighborhood of independent restaurants and visionaries. I only had four days in Philadelphia, but I did my best to taste and sip my way through the historic cobblestone streets. Also check out my Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Philadelphia post for ideas for what to do while in 'The City of Brotherly Love'!
1. Will BYOB
For me this was the peak of my culinary adventure in Philadelphia. Chef Christopher Kearse has created the most charming of locations deep within South Philly. The neighborhood was full of eclectic bars and restaurants. We picked up a bottle of wine (or two) before heading in for dinner which is the meaning of BYOB... During our visit we had the option for a special Mushroom Tasting to compliment our meal. So. Good. If you can only do one meal while in Philadelphia, please indulge at Will BYOB. The restaurant is small but mighty. You need a reservation, as they are often booked up far in advance.
Out in the growing neighborhood of Fishtown, Suraya was a delightful adventure. We took the subway out of the city and strolled through the area. Charming shops, creative restaurants and bars and homes being renovated with modern twists while protecting the historic details. It was my understanding Suraya was about to begin offering a full service dinner menu, but even just our lunch/cafe menu was impressive. The labne was one of the best I've ever had, and the Spritz Cocktail was fragrant and beautiful. This neighborhood and restaurant should be top on your priority to visit in Philly!
3. Oyster House
Raw oysters, great cocktails and an impressive but concise menu set within a charming environment with an eclectic display of oyster dishes sprinkled on the brick walls, what more could you want!? Personally I am a fan of the flavors in east coast oyster <insert onset of war cries from west coast oyster lovers> and we were able to order a beautiful assortment of oysters to start our meal. Oyster House was my first experience in Philadelphia, and from the first bite of grilled octopus, to the oyster selection, to the crab cakes, I knew I was in trouble...Philadelphia was a food town to be reckoned with.
4.The Olde Bar
Why not go to Philadelphia and go to bar called The Olde Bar!? My cousin and I had just finished our Ghost Tour and were ready for some cocktails. Originally called Bookbinders which was a fine dining establishment for decades, Olde Bar was ready and able to delight! The cocktails were delicious and we ended up enjoying dinner here too. I love classic southern cuisine, so when I saw shrimp and grits offered on the menu, I had to try it...other then needing to do a little peeling of the shrimp on my own, the flavors were fabulous! Not as much heat as we pack into our dishes here in the south, but still great savory flavors. If you're in the Old City neighborhood, this is definitely worth a stop.
J'adore French cuisine. My cousin had heard from a friend of his who hailed from France, that this was the cafe in town that she preferred. So off we went for an amazing brunch. The ambiance was cozy and the food was absolutely wonderful.
A place after my own heart! The decor was rustic and cozy, the food was innovative and fresh and they had a downstairs restaurant lit by candles, I love this spot! Our intention was to step in for coffee, and two hours later, we enjoyed delicious food, amazing cocktails and a double treat experiencing the ambiance of the upstairs lounge and the downstairs restaurant. By 6pm they were filling up quickly, I highly recommending looking into a reservation for dinner for this location.
7.Butcher and Singer
Set in the glamour of an old bank building, Butcher and Singer is the spot to be seen. Rich decor including impressive chandeliers from the original Foutainebleau Hotel in Miami, this location oozes posh elegance. Chef Jeff was a delight to meet and the food was exceptional. Come hungry, the portions are generous and the cocktails persuasive.
8. Charlie was a Sinner
Well aren't we all?....at least Charlie admits it... This place was like a second home. Opulent chandeliers, plush seating, a vegan menu and amazing cocktails. This was one of the few bars I felt comfortable telling the bartender..."make me something creative!" If I lived in Philadelphia, this would be one of my regular spots.
9. Library Bar
Posh bar set in classy hotel. We all love this set up. We can get all dressed up, look pretty and go have Instagramable drinks in an elegant setting. Library Bar is set in the backdrop of the beautiful Rittenhouse Square. Dark and sassy, the Library Bar was indeed a great spot to enjoy drinks and be seen.
10. Ranstead Room
I love speakeasy inspired bars. Dark and opulent with exotic artwork and enticing cocktails. The Ranstead Room delivers on all points. You will find this hot spot on a street with the businesses name sake, Ranstead St. This is a great spot to grab cocktails before your evening out
Philadelphia is full of amazing spots for cuisine and cocktails. I am excited for my next trip back to Philly to continue my adventures in eating and sipping! A big thank you to my cousin Jeremy for showing me around his city. I see why you love Philadelphia.