The 10 Best Bars In Old City, Philadelphia

Bar  | © Michela/Flickr
Bar | © Michela/Flickr
Photo of Riley Londres
11 April 2017

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.

Bar | © Hotel du Vin & Bistro/Flickr

Sassafras Bar

Bar, American, $$$
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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.


Bar, Restaurant, German, $$$
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Bierstube | © Courtesy of Bierstube
As the German translation of the name suggests, Bierstube is indeed a beer-centric bar, and they have quite the extensive collection. With approximately 150 types bottled beers, 30 on tap and 10 types of canned beer, there is a vast variety of German and local beers to chose from. But beer is not the only thing that Bierstube has to offer, the menu also includes German specialties such as Bratwurst, Spaetzle and Schnitzels, which can be enjoyed indoors or at the outdoor Biergarten during the warmer months.

Khyber Pass Pub

Bar, Pub, Vegan, $$$
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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

Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
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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

Bar, American, $$$
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JJ Bootleggers, Philadelphia
JJ Bootleggers, Philadelphia | © Photo by Riley Londres
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

Pub, Restaurant, British, $$$
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The Victoria Freehouse, Philadelphia
The Victoria Freehouse, Philadelphia | © Courtesy of Victoria Freehouse
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

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, American, $$$
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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

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Mac's Tavern, Philadelphia
Mac's Tavern, Philadelphia | © Photo by Riley Londres
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.

d Story Brewing Co.

Bar, American
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Walking into 2nd Story Brewing Co. you might think that it is simply an ordinary bar, but what makes it so unique and worth a visit is the fact that a substantial amount of their beer list is made on-site, in fact, it’s made right upstairs. The seasonal brewing menu of ales, lagers and IPAs is supplemented by a full bar with beers from several other brewers and companies. If you are a fan of great flavor brewed fresh, than this is the place to be.

Eulogy Belgian Tavern

Bar, Restaurant, Belgian, $$$
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With over 400 international and domestic bottles beers, plus 30 draught beers, Eulogy Belgian Tavern is every beer lover’s dream. The bar has a menu of both Belgian and American Cuisine, with six types of Mussels, Roasted Lavender Chicken or Belgian Fries. For a brave few, the bar features a ‘coffin room’ where the tables in the small dark room on the second floor are made of old (empty!) coffins.

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