Best of Gay Philly: Where to Eat in Midtown Village
Best New Restaurant
Jamonera, the newest eatery from chef Marcie Turney, is all about small plates packing big Spanish-inspired flavor, like Lancaster pig egg and clams with house-made chorizo. To learn more about the Best New Restaurant in Gay Philly: Jamonera, 105 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, 215-922-6061.
Best Brunch ’n’ Lunch
We love Green Eggs in South Philly. We love Green Eggs in NoLibs. And now we love Green Eggs in the Gayborhood. To learn more about the Best Brunch ‘n’ Lunch in Gay Philly: Green Eggs, 212 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, 267-861-0314.
Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant
Vedge planted itself in the Gayborhood, where it bucks tradition with its gourmet twists on meat-free cuisine by chefs/owners Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby. The bar is set high in this sleek eatery—not just for plant-based plates, but for Philly dining period. To learn more about the Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant in Gay Philly: Vedge, 1221 Locust Street, Philadelphia, 215-320-7500.
Best To Go
Garces Trading Company is the perfect spot to pick up a great red or white, or gourmet treats for that last-minute shindig. To learn more about the Best To Go in Gay Philly: Garces Trading Company, 1111 Locust Street, Philadelphia, 215-574-1099.
Best Thai Restaurant
Looking for authentic Thai food? Sawatdee is a fast, affordable BYOB—and a great alternative to the usual haunts for that first date night. To learn more about the Best Thai Restaurant in Gay Philly: Sawatdee, 1501 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-790-1299.
Best Italian Restaurant
Amis is a little bit rustic and a little bit rock ’n’ roll, thanks to multicourse meals that are certainly not for the carbophobic. And the atmosphere? Perfect for celebrating a milestone.To learn more about the Best Italian Restaurant in Gay Philly: Amis, 412 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, 215-732-2647.
Best Bar Food
Westbury has upgraded its beer list, and the longtime gay bar is vying to be a true gastropub thanks to affordable comfort food from burgers and fries to shepherd’s pie. To learn more about the Best Bar Food in Gay Philly: Westbury, 261 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, 215-546-5170.
Best Quick Bite in the ’Burbs
Get your Greek on at Desert Rose, a low-key restaurant and market that keeps it real with authentic Mediterranean dishes and a laid-back vibe in downtown Media. To learn more about the Best Quick Bite in the ‘Burbs in Gay Philly: Desert Rose, 305 State Street, Media, 484-442-8012.
Best Shore Thing
You don’t have to go to the Shore to taste chef Jose Garces’s Spanish tapas, but you’ll want to when you see the stunning oceanfront view from Amada at Revel. To learn more about the Best Shore Thing in Gay Philly: Amada at Revel, 500 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 855-348-0500.
Best Juice Bar
Do it raw at Jar Bar. From the elixirs to the no-nonsense dishes that do a body good, recharge from the night before with a cucumber, celery, lemon, parsley and spinach juice. To learn more about the Best Juice Bar in Gay Philly: Jar Bar, 113 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, 215-923-1600.
Best Late-Night Bite
Chicago-style hot dogs feed Philly’s after-hours scene. Underdogs serves up some of the best beef wieners in the city until 4 a.m. on the weekend with highly original toppings. There’s even a veggie dog. To learn more about the Best Late-Night Bite in Gay Philly: Underdogs, 132 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, 215-665-8080.
Best New Hope Eats
Experience a taste of New Orleans at the refined Creole kitchen Marsha Brown, where the eponymous chef pays homage to her Louisiana roots in gay-friendly Bucks County, a stone’s throw from the Raven. To learn more about the Best New Hope Eats in Gay Philly: Marsha Brown, 15 South Main Street, New Hope, 215-862-7044.
It’s all about farm-to-table at Russet, a rustic BYOB that serves up local-inspired specialties with many ingredients from nearby Lancaster County. To learn more about the Best BYOB in Gay Philly: Russet, 1521 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, 215-546-1521.
Best Collingswood Eatery
Don’t expect a lot of extras at Il Fiore. But do expect a traditional Italian feast for less than you might spend just to get into Voyeur for the night. 693-695 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, 856-833-0808.
Finally, something for the adult sweet tooth. Federal Donuts bakes ’em fresh with flavors like Indian Cinnamon and Creamsicle. The fried chicken is a bonus. To learn more about the Best Dessert in Gay Philly: Federal Donuts, 1219 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, 267-687-8258.
Best Healthy Takeout
Three words: Crispy HipCity Ranch. Eat this meatless “chicken” sandwich with a green smoothie at HipCityVeg and you won’t regret it—and neither will your waistline. These vegan dishes are a Rittenhouse delight. To learn more about the Best Healthy Takeout in Gay Philly: HipCityVeg, 127 South 18th Street, Philadelphia, 215-278-7605.
It may have changed owners (and names) over the years, but Café Twelve is still the coffee shop to see and be seen in the Gayborhood. The sweets and sandwiches aren’t too shabby either. To learn more about the Best Coffee in Gay Philly: Café Twelve, 212 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, 215-893-5680.
Best of Gay Philly: Where to Play in Midtown Village
Best Happy Hour
Stir has some of the friendliest bartenders in the city serving up seasonal sips. The lesbian-owned bar welcomes the Rittenhouse crowd seven days a week. To learn more about the Best Happy Hour in Gay Philly: Stir, 1705 Chancellor Street, Philadelphia, 215-732-2700.
Dirty Frank’s isn’t gay—but it isn’t straight either. The regulars know a good thing when they see it: cheap drinks, great conversation and work by emerging artists for sale on the wall every month. To learn more about the Best Saloon in Gay Philly: Dirty Frank’s, 347 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, 215-732-5010.
Best Piano bar
Dinner, drinks and songs by the piano take us back to the old days. Walnut Street Supper Club channels the classics with a new twist on the gay piano bar scene. To learn more about the Best Piano Bar in Gay Philly: Walnut Street Supper Club, 1227 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-923-8208.
Best Roof Deck
ICandy’s remodeled roof deck was worth the wait; it’s the perfect place to sip a frozen drink well into the cooler months—even if it’s raining—thanks to a new awning, bigger bar and true tiki style. To learn more about the Best Roof Deck in Gay Philly: ICandy 254 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, 267-324-3500.
Best Party Outside of the Gayborhood
NSFW is a queer go-go dance party, hosted by Paul Blore and Marquise Lee, that started at the newly refurbished Trestle Inn and moves to new venues throughout the city this season. To learn more about the Best Party Outside of the Gayborhood in Gay Philly: NSFW, Nsfwparty.com.
Best Up-and-Coming Queen
If you’ve heard her tear up “Proud Mary,” then you know why we love Tammy Faymous (real name: Alexander Kacala). She sings, she dances, and she has the hairiest chest this side of Martha Grahamcracker. To learn more about the Best Up-and-Coming Queen in Gay Philly: Tammy Faymous, @tammyfaymous
Best Film Fest
Every September, Gender Reel kicks off with a collection of movies about the transgender experience. Thanks to founder Joe Ippolito, it’s one of the largest festivals of its kind. To learn more about the Best Film Fest in Gay Philly: Gender Reel, Genderreelfest.com.
Best Personal Trainer
Noe Espinosa will kick your butt or any other body part that needs work at 12th Street Gym. To learn more about the Best Personal Trainer in Gay Philly: Noe Espinosa, 204 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, 215-985-4092.
Gambling has gone gay at Resorts in Atlantic City. Not only does the casino have a gay nightclub, Pro Bar, but it even introduced a piano bar this year. To learn more about the Best Casino in Gay Philly: Resorts, 1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 800-334-6378.
Best Drag Night
Mimi Imfurst headlines Dollhouse Revue every Wednesday at Voyeur. This RuPaul Drag Race alum and her Dollstars bring down the house with drama, comedy and no shortage of sequins. To learn more about the Best Drag Night in Gay Philly: Dollhouse Revue, 1221 Saint James Street, Philadelphia, 215-735-5772.
Best Day Drinking
Bartender by day (drag star by night), Ian Morrison will put on a puppet show, pour your favorite elixir and get the party started—all before noon at Uncles. To learn more about the Best Day Drinking in Gay Philly: Uncles, 1220 Locust Street, Philadelphia, 215-546-6660.
Best Bar in the ’Burbs
The Beagle Tavern in Norristown continues to kick out parties each week, including drag shows and its very popular Sunday brunch. To learn more about the Best Bar in the ‘Burbs in Gay Philly: The Beagle Tavern, 1003 East Main Street, Norristown, 610-272-3133.
Best Yoga Studio
Stretch out your inner spirit at Blue Banyan in oh-so-gay Mt. Airy. The spacious studio is ideal for beginners and disciplined yogis alike. To learn more about the Best Yoga Studio in Gay Philly: Blue Banyan, 7153 Sprague Street, Mt. Airy, 267-974-6527.
Best Kid-Friendly Park
Grab a sandwich at Milk and Honey and get your feet wet at Sister Cities Park—the best new destination for kids in the city. Bonus: free wi-fi. To learn more about the Best Kid-Friendly Park in Gay Philly: Sister Cities Park, 18th Street and the Parkway, Philadelphia, 215-665-8600.
Yui Giraldo and Jeff Shablin, the guys behind Optimal Sport Health Club, have four locations, but their newest—Optimal 1315—gives back to the LGBT community: New members can direct a portion of their dues to the Mazzoni Center or the William Way Community Center. To learn more about the Best Gym in Gay Philly: Optimal Sports Health Club, 1315 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-735-1114.
Woody’s was the first bar in the Gayborhood to have windows, but this year, the longtime nightclub took it a step further by refashioning the downstairs bar into an open-air lodge and the upstairs into a sleek lounge. To learn more about the Best Renovation in Gay Philly: Woody’s, 202 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, 215-545-1893.
Matt Taylor definitely has the right touch. His studio, Taylored Touch, puts a relaxation session within reach of our favorite Gayborhood haunts. To learn more about the Best Massage in Gay Philly: Taylored Touch, 1223 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-667-0040.
Best Hair Salon
André Richard Baldini knows hair. Ask about the new all-natural treatments at his André Richard Salon. To learn more about the Best Hair Salon in Gay Philly: André Richard Salon, 1218 Locust Street, Philadelphia, 215-735-1590.
Philadelphia Falcons Soccer brings together players of all skill levels. Not only is it co-ed, but it’s a great way to get to know other LGBT jocks outside of the usual bar scene. To learn more about the Best Team in Gay Philly: Falcons Soccer, Falcons-soccer.org.
Ever since Butch Cordora (of In Bed With Butch fame) took over as resident curator, Ven and Vaida has been spotlighting well-known and emerging LGBT photographers. To learn more about the Best Gallery in Gay Philly: Ven and Vaida, 18 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia, 215-592-4099.
Best of Gay Philly: Where to Shop in Midtown Village
Best Men’s store
Sport designer styles from Barney’s Co-Op, a taste of New York City on Philly’s Rittenhouse Square. To learn more about the Best Men’s Store in Gay Philly: Barney’s Co-Op, 1811 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-563-5333.
Best Handmade Gifts
Where else will you find hand-painted cards, fancy hairpins and original prints? Yep, that’s why we love Art Star. To learn more about the Best Handmade Gifts in Gay Philly: Art Star, 623 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, 215-238-1557.
Best Kitchen Goods
We sure do miss Foster’s, but we love the new Kitchenette, the ultimate cook’s paradise. There’s even a gift registry in this big and beautiful Gayborhood shop. To learn more about the Best Kitchen Goods in Gay Philly: Kitchenette, 117 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, 215-829-4949.
Gay-owned Hello World has you covered for bags, jewelry and creative accessories. To learn more about the Best Accessories in Gay Philly: Hello World, 257 South 20th Street, Philadelphia, 215-545-5207.
Best Women’s Store
Sugarcube—it’s for girls who dress like boys (sometimes). The men’s department is very unisex-friendly, with stylish brands like Pendleton, Big Star and Levi’s Vintage. To learn more about the Best Women’s Store in Gay Philly: 124 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, 215-238-0825.
Best Kids’ Fashions
Gay moms and dads have a new place to shop for adorable outfits for the kiddies, and the play area at Nest is a great alternative to (gasp) Chuck E. Cheese’s. To learn more about the Best Kids’ Fashions in Gay Philly: Nest, 1301 Locust Street, Philadelphia, 215-545-6378.
Best Pet Shop
Pet parents can rest assured that Fido is being groomed to the nines at Doggie Style. The independent chain also has super-stylish duds for man’s best friend (and fabulous felines, too). To learn more about the Best Pet Shop in Gay Philly: Doggie Style, 1700 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-271-5200.
Philly AIDS Thrift is getting bigger and better every year since it opened in 2005. The new nonprofit space in South Philly has huge preowned-clothing and music departments. Plus, proceeds benefit the AIDS Fund. To learn more about the Best Charity in Gay Philly: Philly AIDS Thrift, 710 South 5th Street, Philadelphia, 215-922-3186.
There’s a reason MODA Botanica wins prizes each year at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The designs range from all-out lush to completely cutting-edge. Hire Armas Koehler (right) for your gay wedding—now. To learn more about the Best Florist in Gay Philly: MODA Botanica, Modabotanica.com.
Best Gift Shop
We don’t know which we like more at Verde: the Marcie Blaine chocolates or the stylish “I Heart Philly” jewelry and accessories. Either way, no one will return these giftable goodies. To learn more about the Best Gift Shop in Gay Philly: Verde, 108 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, 215-546-8700.
Best Home Store
Jonathan Adler’s whimsical homewares make us want to redecorate every season—or at least spruce up our sofa with some new pillows. To learn more about the Best Home Store in Gay Philly: Jonathan Adler, 33 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, 215-574-1999.
Best Custom Suits
This Philly bespoke tailor caught the eye of Hollywood royalty thanks to his custom suits, all hand-sewn in Philly. Commonwealth Proper even has a showroom in Los Angeles now. To learn more about the Best Custom Suits in Gay Philly: Commonwealth Proper, 1732 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, 215-435-0809.
Giovanni’s Room is the oldest operating gay bookstore in the country—and for good reason. Many famous authors read here. And longtime owner Ed Hermance will order anything for you—he even has Google eBooks now. To learn more about the Best Books in Gay Philly: Giovanni’s Room, 345 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, 215-923-2960.
Need a sleeve for your new MacBook Air? A stylus for that new iPad? The folks at Springboard Media are smart and friendly—and you don’t even have to make an appointment. (We’re looking at you, Apple Store.) To learn more about the Best Gadgets in Gay Philly: Springboard Media, 116 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, 215-599-9000.
Best Most Unique Shop
Yes, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction has a store. And we love it for things like the Garrison Bag, Root Soap and Baron Wells Cufflinks. To learn more about the Best Most Unique Shop in Gay Philly: Art in the Age, 116 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, 215-922-2600.