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.
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.
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.
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.