Chinatown is an active pocket nestled in between Center City and the loft district of Spring Garden. We explore where you also can get exotic drinks and classic cocktails in the area with the top 10 bars in Chinatown, Philadelphia.
A mainstay for those who like drunken karaoke, Yakitori Boy is an izakaya, a Japanese version of a pub. The pub features small plates for snacking while drinking. Happy hour is featured every weekday from 6pm to 8pm, with cheap Japanese-style cocktails like the happy sumo with sake and natural yuzu. There is also a imported draft selection of Asahi, Hoegaarden and Sapporo. Karaoke is hosted on the second floor, and there are eight private rooms available for parties and large groups.
One of the best cocktail bars in the country, Hop Sing Laundromat is a speakeasy-style bar with no sign and an iron gate in front. To enter, ring the doorbell that is answered by the doorman, who may interrogate you with questions or turn you away for dress code or lack of ID. No sandals or cell phones are allowed, and only groups of four or more are permitted. However, when you enter, you’ll find yourself sipping some of the best expertly crafted cocktails. They have every liquor imaginable, and bartenders frequent the ladder to grab bottles on the top shelves. The dark library style room is cozy and perfectly intimate for a date. It is cash only.
One of the best sports bars that sits in the heart of Chinatown, BarLy features 60 drafts and 20 large screen TVs that make watching the game a breeze, even with beer goggles on. They host a happy hour from 3.30pm to 6.30pm Monday through Saturday with cheap domestic bottles, imports, draft beer and cocktails. A late-night happy hour from 10pm-12am Sunday through Thursday is when you can get $3-$5 craft beers and bar appetizers. They also have cheap margaritas, a slew of lychee-tinis, and a surprisingly great list of bar food, from the duck dumplings to the bahn mi. Also, check out their Quizzo on Tuesday nights at 7.30pm.
Just a few blocks north of Chinatown, is the whisky go-go bar The Trestle Inn. The hip joint features burlesque dancers to add to the mood of the themed dance nights, ranging from funk to jazz. However, the bar is also known for its fantastic whiskey drinks. Patrons can choose from a list of several beers and a massive scotch, bourbon and blended list. For a sweet, tangy drink, go for the Black Power, or the Highland Whiskey for a smooth apricot finish. Happy hour features $2 off whiskey sours and drafts, as well as $5 cocktails with a single mixer from 5pm-7pm.
Brick and Mortar is a cocktail bar featuring rustic American cuisine. A mix of modern bar and graffiti-like artwork add to the mood with creative spins on handcrafted, vintage-inspired cocktails made with homemade juices. Their happy hour from 4pm to 6pm every Monday through Friday features great deals on craft draughts, house cocktails and tap wine. There are also inexpensive bar bites and other snacks. The bar is reminiscent of one you’ll find somewhere like Chelsea in NYC. It draws a younger crowd, but their great happy hour makes it perfect for persuasion of the 21+ crowd.
Nom Wah Tea Parlour is not your usual bar. Focusing on tea and dim sum, Nom Wah is a space for drinks and Asian cuisine, but they also serve beer imported from countries like Japan and Thailand. Nom Wah takes you on a small tour of these international lagers that highlight malt flavors from hoppy to crisp. They also serve a variety of traditional Chinese teas, like Jasmine with a blooming flower. You can order drinks at the bar and choose from their light dim sum appetizers. Whether going for tea or beer, it’s a great way to experience drinks you might not normally try otherwise.
Vietnam Restaurant has a third floor bar called Saigon featuring a lounge and comfortable bar area with a stellar cocktail menu. They have a modest list of beers and wines, but the real draw is their Polynesian cocktails and house martinis like the lemongrass. Order some snacks at the bar, or share a flaming volcano drink for two. The fruit juice concoction with rum, vodka, gin, brandy, Bacardi 151 and grenadine is served in a big punch bowl with straws. The list of nine cocktails are sure to pack a punch to guarantee a fun night.
Located inside the Reading Terminal Market, Blue Mountain Vineyards & Cellarsholds an outpost with their tasting room where you can try their wine grown in their vineyard in the Lehigh Valley or other local PA wines. Several wines are available by the glass or by the bottle. You can find a selection of sweet reds or premium whites, and the excellent waitstaff will help you learn about wine in this cozy little shop.
Prohibition focuses on their quality craft beer selection of more than 50 national and international brews from ciders to stouts. They also hold an assortment of hard liquors that they use in their house cocktails. The small, dimly lit bar is elegant pub material with its black wood paneling and wooden table tops. Monday through Friday 5pm to 7pm is happy hour. A plus is Protap (nicknamed lovingly by locals) hosts brunch on the weekends with a free mimosa or Bloody Mary with your entree. For appetizers, go for the fried green beans.
Located on the edge of Chinatown in the Loews Hotel, Bank & Bourbon features an upscale bar with small barrels of bourbons on tap. The menu offers a large selection of bourbons, international whiskeys and ryes, plus cocktails. Flights are also available for their barrel-aged whiskeys ranging from corn whiskey, blended malt scotch or Kentucky white whiskey. There is also a bar menu with the likes of tuna tartare or a local cheese plate.