Taste: Spirits: Getting Tanked
This used to be Weaver Lilley’s living room. When the photographer opened Friday Saturday Sunday, he lived in a small apartment above the small 21st Street restaurant. Long ago, that apartment was replaced by the restaurant’s bar — “Tank Bar” a neon sign announces, with a large fish tank and three spotted occupants — but Lilley is still here, perched at the polished glass counter.
It’s been 27 years since the Tank Bar opened; 35 since Friday Saturday Sunday debuted. And the restaurant — one of the first, and few remaining, symbols of Philadelphia’s Restaurant Renaissance — is proudly stuck in its 1970s and ’80s heyday, a time when a handful of inexperienced artists, $14,000 and a bet was a business plan. An oversize CD player behind the bar — the bartender plays deejay for the lulling soundtrack — seems the only concession to the passage of time in the windowless second-floor room. Its mirrored walls still reflect white Christmas lights and the fabric canopy stretched across the ceiling as if this were the big top.
At times, this bar has been a circus: a place for celebrity-spotting, a second home for FSS regulars, an impromptu waiting room for the neighborhood’s BYOBs, all fueled by the famous $10-over-cost wine list and three decades of cocktail trends, from sidecars to apple martinis. But it’s the bar’s enduring favorite — the frozen banana daiquiri — that will transport you back to Weaver Lilley’s living room, circa 1973.
Friday Saturday Sunday’s banana daiquiri: In a blender, combine one small, ripe banana, peeled and cut into chunks, with a half-ounce Bacardi Silver rum, a half-ounce Mount Gay rum, a quarter-ounce banana liqueur, a dash of half and half, a splash of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), and 1 cup ice cubes. Blend well, and serve in a daiquiri glass. Garnish with a banana slice.