The Best Bars In Old City, Philadelphia

Philadelphia City Hall is the largest municipal building in the USA
Philadelphia City Hall is the largest municipal building in the USA | © Roman Babakin / Alamy Stock Photo
Riley Londres

When you think of Colonial Philadelphia, you might imagine the numerous taverns and inns that populated the busy streets of the first capital of the USA. Some of these taverns are still around the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia, as well as some newer, more modern watering holes. Here is our guide to the 10 best.

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Sassafras Bar

Founded 35 years ago, Sassafras is an old standby in this neighborhood. The environment is warm and inviting, the bartenders are experienced and friendly, and the food is top-notch. They boast a selection of single malt scotches, whiskeys and bourbons, as well some unique drinks that change daily, like the Lavender Champagne or Hibiscus Mojitos. The menu has its own unique option, the Ostrich Burger, for those courageous enough to give it a try.

Khyber Pass Pub

Situated in a late 19th century tavern, the Khyber Pass Pub is a modern pub . The menu features authentic Cajun specialties from New Orleans, like Gumbo and a vast selection of Po’boys. Patrons can also partake in Hickory-Smoked Barbecue served with three different types of barbecue sauces. Leaving this bar satisfied is practically guaranteed.

Revolution House

Originally a Quaker Friends Meetinghouse, 200-year-old bricks can still be seen in the Revolution House’s inventive interior. This bar stays in touch with its historic roots with custom-made concrete tables inlaid with skeleton keys, and has a roof deck seating overlooking Market Street for people watching or enjoying a sunset on a cool summer nights. The drink menu offers local Yard’s Philly Pale Ale, among other popular American favorites, and a varied wine list.

JJ Bootleggers

JJ Bootleggers, Philadelphia

One of the first moonshine themed restaurants in Pennsylvania, with wood beamed ceilings and lounges, JJ Bootleggers brings southern hospitality to an urban setting. The bar makes use of the once illegal drink, Moonshine, with twelve different types and flavors, not including mixed cocktails. The Moonshine is even used in several items on the menu, like the White Lightning Wings or the Honey & Shine Wings. Be sure to head upstairs for a game of darts or pool.

Victoria Freehouse

The Victoria Freehouse, Philadelphia

Located on Front Street, the Victoria Freehouse is a short walk from Penn’s Landing and the Seaport Museum, making it a perfect stop after a long day at the waterfront. This British Gastropub offers a wide variety of beers and ciders from the United Kingdom to accompany dishes like Welsh Rarebit, Fish and Chips, and even Scotch Eggs. For fans of trivia, the Victoria Freehouse hosts regular pub quizzes.

National Mechanics

Built in 1837 by architect William Strickland, this Greek revival building has housed banks, churches and bars before finally becoming the home of National Mechanics Bar and Restaurant. The gothic décor and stained glass windows give off an old world meets new world feel. The bar offers 32 different varieties of drafts and bottles from around the word, as well as trans fat oil free bar menu, with items such as Grilled Salmon, Veggie Burgers made with real chopped vegetables and the classic Pub Steak. They also host a popular Quiz every Wednesday night.

Mac’s Tavern

Mac’s Tavern, Philadelphia

Part-owned by ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ actors Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson and located in a late seventeenth century building, Mac’s Tavern is a mix of both historic and modern. The bar provides several TVs to watch Philadelphia sports, and with a jukebox in the corner and pub quiz once a week, this bar is ready for patrons to have a good time. The atmosphere is comfortable and casual with an extensive list of beers, ciders and cocktails that can be paired with a steak sandwich, wings or gravy fries.

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