Connoisseur: Steven Grasse

Steven Grasse. Photography by Courtney Apple.

Steven Grasse. Photography by Courtney Apple.

The founder of ad agency Quaker City Mercantile has long been involved in Philly’s booming spirits scene, but now he’s adding a twist by partnering with Kensington’s New Liberty Distillery on new liquors and turning his Old City boutique, Art in the Age, into a booze-and-barware-only spot. Read more »

The Warby Parker-Philly EyeWorks Feud Intensifies

Philly EyeWorks airs its grievances with groovy picket signs. Photo by Andrew Bonacci.

Philly EyeWorks airs its grievances with groovy picket signs. Photo by Andrew Bonacci.

On Saturday, January 28th, as eyewear brand Warby Parker feted the grand opening of its sparkly Walnut Street storefront, seven demonstrators stood outside, pumping candy-colored signs into the air and doling out cards emblazoned with “FUWP.” While the rest of the city was dizzy with excitement over the brand’s arrival, the ragtag group picketed, imploring Instagram followers to take photos with a #FUWP sign and post them online with the corresponding hashtag; randomly selected winners would win a free pair of Philly EyeWorks specs. For a protest, it was kind of, well, cute.

Leading the resistance was Philly EyeWorks’s Clifton Balter, who first faced off against Warby Parker back in 2012, when the latter parked its school bus — a roving eyewear shop on a cross-country “class trip” — outside InnerVision, his Rittenhouse eyeglass boutique, for two consecutive Saturdays. Sales tanked during this time (falling to about half the average, Balter says), and his anger was stoked. Adding fuel to the fire: He then had to stand by and watch as Warby Parker’s profile skyrocketed. (Launched by Wharton students who soon fled Philly for NYC, the start-up quickly vaulted to unicorn status, achieving a $1.2 billion valuation.) Read more »

Connoisseur: Amy Sadao

Amy Sadao. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou.

Amy Sadao. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou.

Since becoming director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in 2012, Sadao, a Rittenhouse resident, has used her keen eye and business acumen to help catapult the University City museum to national recognition. Here, the acclaimed aesthete shares the places, people and things on her radar. Read more »

Spring Travel: Get Active in Austin

At Travaasa, guests can try their hand at horseback riding. Photo via istockphoto

At Travaasa, guests can try their hand at horseback riding. Photo courtesy of Travaasa Experiential Resorts

Most vacations are punctuated by a staid lineup of activities, like regrettable sunbathing and reservations at lackluster seafood joints. While some sojourners favor the familiar, more intrepid types face a dilemma: Should they bite their tongues and hit the beach, or plan a more outside-the-box getaway? For the latter, there’s Travaasa, a 72-room “experiential resort” in Austin that marries action-packed instructional programming (daily dude-ranch-inspired classes) with leisure (tranquil spa treatments and farm-to-table dining). Read more »

Day in the Life: Tenaya Darlington

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

I wake up just before dawn, stretch for 20 minutes, and then fix a cup of Steap and Grind’s Black Tea with Coconut with a slosh of Green Aisle’s raw milk. By 8 a.m. I’m on Google Hangouts with my brother, André. We’ve written two books together, The New Cocktail Hour and TCM’s Movie Night Menus. Read more »

The Best Philly-Area Spas to Help You Reboot for Spring

Inside the Moorestown Mall, the sprawling Rizzieri Salon & Spa is ideal for groups looking to primp in tandem. Photograph by Courtney Apple

Inside the Moorestown Mall, the sprawling Rizzieri Salon & Spa is ideal for groups looking to primp in tandem. Photograph by Courtney Apple

For Frill-Free Relaxation: Chung Dam Spa & Fitness

Though its strip-mall location is short on charm, this cult-favorite Korean spa is worthy of a visit thanks to its lineup of body scrubs, massages (they’ll tiptoe on your back by request) and reflexology, all of which ring in under $100. Services come with a pass for the spa’s facilities, which include herbal steam baths, a charcoal room and a dry sauna. Pro tip: Prepare to strip down; most guests unwind in the buff. 41 Cheltenham Avenue, Cheltenham Read more »

Day in the Life: Christopher Dodson

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

I wake up around 5:30 a.m. If it’s an OR day, I start my first case around 6:30 at the Rothman Institute. In the operating room, I listen to ’90s and 2000s R&B. Sometimes I’ll see some of the older patients smile when they hear it before they fall asleep. Read more »

Day in the Life: Palette Group Founder Nate Nichols

Nate Nichols | Photograph by Jillian Guyette

Nate Nichols | Photograph by Jillian Guyette

I wake up at 6:30 a.m. to work out. I get to my studio by 8:30. The first thing I do there is boil water for pour-over coffee. I only drink single-origin varieties from Central or South America. ReAnimator Coffee is the office favorite.  Read more »

The Philly Guy’s Grooming Manual: Best Barbershops and Salons for Men’s Cuts

Barber on 24th’s buzzy shop, far left, and pomades to recreate the look at home. | Photos by Jauhien Sasnou

Barber on 24th’s buzzy shop, far left, and pomades to recreate the look at home. | Photos by Jauhien Sasnou

For the Reluctant Groomer: Meister’s Barbershop

If the temptation to DIY is strong, defer to the five-person team at this intimate shop. For the uninitiated: It’s first-come, first-serve (they don’t take appointments; expect a line), and the near-uniform approach to cuts — subtle gradational fading on the sides, full on top — is universally flattering. Tip: The longer wait for scissor time with owner Rob Baumiester is totally worth it. // Starting at $26; 1810 East Passyunk Avenue, East Passyunk.  Read more »

The Best Indie Toy Shops in Philadelphia and the Suburbs

Ardmore's Puccimanuli is packed with toy cars, board games and plush animals. | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

Ardmore’s Puccimanuli is packed with toy cars, board games and plush animals. | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

For One-and-Done Shopping: Puccimanuli // Odds are your giftee list spans different ages and interests. Tick ’em off in record time at this all-encompassing toy emporium, where the owner — who regularly hits the toy-fair circuit for new, special finds — stocks enormous stuffed animals, art kits for burgeoning creatives, a mind-boggling assortment of dolls, and even a tightly curated lineup of artisan-made goods (like wooden tops and puzzles). Bonus: Gift-wrapping is complimentary. // 35 Cricket Avenue, Ardmore.  Read more »

« Older Posts