The New Philadelphia Nightlife

From cooking classes to dance parties, Philly nightlife isn’t just for drinking anymore. Here, our guide to everything worth doing after dark.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Balkan Dance Party

Music | 1200 Callowhill Street
The brassy, sassy West Philadelphia Orchestra (whom you may have heard around town blasting everything from klezmer to big-band jazz) throws this bash at Underground Arts. It starts late (10 p.m.-ish), but with unique music (WPO often partners with another local band), two bars and a strobe-lit dance floor, you’ll reenergize in no time. Monthly.

Barbuzzo

Food | 110 S 13th Street
You know why it’s a good idea to hit Barbuzzo late? Because it’s still often impossible to get a table during prime time. Open till midnight Monday to Sunday.

Tabu

Karaoke | 200 S 12th Street
While the sporty gays watch Monday Night Football on the first floor, sing your little heart out with the drag queens and locals upstairs at Tabu. Each week is a new theme, but needless to say, show tunes are popular.

Classes at COOK

Arts & Culture | 253 S. 20th Street
The prices are high, the seats are extremely limited, and sessions often sell out minutes after they’re posted online. But there is simply no better way to get up-close and personal with the city’s marquee chefs (Lacroix, Vetri and Olexy, to name a few) than to have one of the seats at the short counter at COOK. Rittenhouse, 215-735-2665.

The Garage

Games | 1231 E. Passyunk Avenue
Gearheads, game geeks and beer nerds, rejoice—this is your mecca. Pinball and pool dot the sparse interior, but the real attraction (besides the indoor hot-dog cart and huge canned craft beer list) is the Skee-Ball lanes, which dispense tickets you can exchange for Garage swag.

Video Pirates Video Party

Misc. Nocturnal Frivolity | 531 N. 12th Street
Ever wonder where your old VHS tapes wound up? They’re with the Video Pirates at this mash-up of footage never intended for big-screen viewing—driver’s-ed instructionals, dog-training how-to’s, long-forgotten public-access shows, home movies and more, all spliced into thematic shorts and features. Fun throwback art for the iPod age. Every third Monday.

Khyber Pass Pub’s NSFW Dance Parties

Dance | 56 S. 2nd Street
Billed as “the queer dance party that will have you avoiding the watercooler the next day,” Khyber’s dance party puts other costumed throw-downs to shame with its creative themes. You’ll never think of the Revolutionary War the same way again. Monthly.

Classes at the Barnes

Arts & Culture | 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Meet the masters of Western art—through discussion of techniques, motifs and influences—in these workshops. You won’t need a B.A. in art history to attend classes at the Barnes, but you’ll feel like you’ve earned one when you’re done. Mondays and Tuesdays.

Adobe Cafe

Karaoke | 1919 E. Passyunk Avenue
The setup at Adobe Cafe—karaoke in a back room separate from the bar—allows for lots of space, so it’s popular with the birthday crowd and great for office parties. A Tecate and tequila shot for $5.50 won’t hurt, either.

Club Studios

Misc. Nocturnal Frivolity | 414 Green Street
A $35 yearly membership grants you access to this retro two-floor hideaway that’s part performance space, part DIY speakeasy. Club Studios serves till 3 a.m. nightly, and there are ping-pong competitions and pool tables. But it’s the inspired performances (think burlesque shows in the downstairs cabaret room, live bands, improv nights) that make it extra-fun.

Philadelphia Sketch Club

Art | 235 S. Camac Street
Mingle with like-minded types (whether you’re a creator or appreciator) at the Philadelphia Sketch Club. Nude models pose for studio sessions on Monday and Wednesday nights, while members ($150 a year) have monthly speaker dinners and use of the fantastic historic townhouse, which has a billiards room and library.

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  • Denise Rambo

    Those aren’t just any drag queens at Gay Bingo … they’re the BVDs! (Bingo Verifying Divas)

  • Will Jenkins

    I’m surprised at how many clubs are missing from this list. There are a lot of good clubs in Philly, and some great lounges too. Other than the few night life lounges here, the rest of the article is full of good info for those looking to get out at night.

    Will Jenkins | http://www.partyatpearl.com