Philadelphia’s Best Bars

Our 85 favorite places to start a tab

DIVE BARS

Oscar’s
It’s a hellhole, yes, but one that’s barely changed in all the years we’ve been drinking in it. And it’s one where everybody—from the corporate honchos to the hipsters to the skateboard kids to the old men with their behinds glued to the stools—gets along. Always. 1524 Sansom Street, 215-972-9938.

McGlinchey’s
The waitstaff here is surly as hell—and sometimes that’s exactly what we want to be around. Also, it doesn’t hurt that you can smoke inside, because it makes the place feel like an actual bar rather than some fake, politically correct appletini theme park. 259 South 15th Street, 215-735-1259.

Dirty Frank’s
It’s aptly named, the bartenders are angry all the time, they don’t take credit cards, the beer list is nothing special. It’s dark and crowded with people in for a real drink, and it has dartboards. It’s the best dive bar in town. 347 South 13th Street, 215-732-5010.


The El Bar
A Fishtown favorite. We go for the drinks but love it for the Star Wars pinball machine. 1356 North Front Street, 215-634-6430.

McKenna’s Bar
Also known as the Aldine, it’s perfect as ground zero for a Mayfair bar crawl. And with the Mayfair Diner across the street, you never have to wonder where your last-call pancakes will be coming from. 7322 Frankford Avenue, 215-332-3230.

Bob & Barbara’s Lounge
A classic dive, full of PBR, problem drinkers and history. This is where the Citywide Special was invented, and the best way to drink here is to slap $3.50 on the bar, ask for one, drink it down, and repeat all night. 1509 South Street, 215-545-4511.

To read about the city's best neighborhood haunts, click here.

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  • heavy

    you can’t have a list of the best bars in philadelphia withouth mcgillins ale house. one of the best bars in town and a philadelphia legend.

  • Joe

    Where’s Perch Pub? Wake up Philadelphia Magazine. All brown everything.

  • Gloria

    What no Capital Grille in Philadelphia! One of the best bars and bartenders (my son-in law especially) in the city.
    Gloria

  • Rachel

    I can give you 150 reasons why McGillin’s should have been on your list of best bars!

  • B

    McGillin’s. End of comment.

  • j

    this list is garbage. mcgillins is one of the best bars on the east coast, let alone philly.

  • Jodi

    I’m from Seattle, and I send anyone I know coming to Philadelphia to the Franklin. Best bar in your city.

  • Travis

    The fact that I live 10 steps from the Pickering Creek Inn and have gone exactly 1 time and live over an hour from McGillin’s, through traffic-invested 76 and Center City, and have gone over 100 should tell you everything you need to know about this list. It is a complete and utter joke.

  • Ken

    Btw, Sweeney’s does have a website if you want to fix that on your Neighborhood Haunts page –

    http://www.sweeneyssaloon.net/

  • accky

    i know the girl who gave the tria quote. shes a boozehound. she thought i was a jerk but turns out she was the one that did the jerking (in the bathroom nonetheless). whoot whoot.

  • Nope

    Ha, no McGillans!?! How do you take yourselves seriously? Your online editors just wasted their time writing this article

  • Jim

    Although this list isn’t perfect, everybody relax about McGillin’s. It’s not a list of Philadelphia’s 85 oldest bars, or it’s most obvious bars.

  • Bill

    This list loses all of the respect it gains for putting Franks and Cocos on here when it names Fox and the Hound as one of the best bars in the city.

  • Rosie

    uhhhh, what about misconduct tavern? this list is s#*%!

  • stew

    I don’t understand how you can write an article about best gastro pubs and not have a good understanding of what a gastro pub is. It is a bar with Chef-driven comfort food in a casual setting usually including interesting cocktails and thoughtful beer and wine selections. It seems this list was put together randomly and without focus. Half of the selections do not meet the criteria – Fox and Hound? I was hoping to learn something from this, now I just want my 5 minutes back.

  • Harvey

    I have looked at various lists like this over the past week. I only have one question, did eulogy close or something?

  • Robert W.

    I’m saving this years’ Nov. issue to see whether
    my suggestions make it to next years list. Two
    good places, (one in N.E. Philly and the other
    in Feasterville) are Dagwoods Pub located at
    Torresdale & Linden Aves. and the other is The
    Copper Kettle at Bristol & Bridgewater Town Rds.
    They are both reasonably priced with a full menu and friendly atmosphere.

  • Robert W.

    I’m saving this years’ Nov. issue to see whether
    my suggestions make it to next years list. Two
    good places, (one in N.E. Philly and the other
    in Feasterville) are Dagwoods Pub located at
    Torresdale & Linden Aves. and the other is The
    Copper Kettle at Bristol & Bridgewater Town Rds.
    They are both reasonably priced with a full menu and friendly atmosphere.

  • River

    It’s incredible that you neglected to include Kraftwork Bar in Fishtown. It could easily have fit under neighborhood bar, craft brews or gastropub, but you missed it altogether! A beautiful space with two dozen beers on tap & delicious, reasonable food.

  • Gandhus

    Lists like this are usually a little silly as are many of the descriptions, but so are a lot of the comments. A rash of McGillin’s lovers and few other jokers. Sweeney’s? Dagwood’s? Kopper Kettle? (Yes, with a ‘K’) Come on, get serious. I do however, agree with the last comment about Kraftwork.