The Foobooz 2010 Top 50 Bars of Philadelphia

We’ve once again polled a who’s-who of Philadelphia’s drinking scene, asking writers, bloggers, drinkers, commenters and others to give us their top bars in the Philadelphia area.

There’s a new top bar for 2010 and  it fits in with the overarching trend of 2010, the cocktail is king. Five cocktail bars make their way into our top 17, pushing out gastropubs, dives and wine bars as they do.

Check out the full list and the map, we hope you find the list interesting and it spurs you to check out some new places.

Top 50 Bars in Philadelphia 2010 [f8b8z]
Top 50 Bars 2010 Map [f8b8z]

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  • pablo

    are you disclosing the who’s who of panelist?

  • RJP

    Wow! No decent place to get a drink in all of Old City

  • pablo

    found the panelist- sorry

    with exception of St.Stephens at 49, fairmount is a donut too

  • SMH

    No N3rd? Interesting… Not sure I agree with that.

  • Chris

    Teresa’s Next Door is 45 minutes from Philadelphia depending on traffic.

    Yeah, these bars are OK but there is certainly a concentration in a certain type of place. The kind of place that may lack a TV to watch a Flyers game.

  • Lucky Pierre

    Fairmount was not evaluated in this survey.

  • KL

    Random observations…

    RJP mentioned Old City – My oh my how the mighty have fallen: Eulogy can’t even crack the top 50.

    Pablo mentioned Fairmount – Also surprised to see the omissions from there. No Bishop’s Collar or Kite & Key. The only 2 “Craft Beer Express” bars to miss the cut.

    I think it was left off last year too, but I gotta give 12 Steps Down a little love. For what many consider a “dive” they have a high-quality beer selection while remaining a comfortable and unpretentious place.

    Regarding the city’s brewpubs, for those wondering, Nodding Head and Earth Bread make it. Dock St, Manayunk, and Triumph all miss.

    Other notables that missed the cut – Misconduct, Old Eagle (did Manayunk get a single bar?), National Mechanics, Prohibition Taproom, McMenamin’s.

  • It’s definitely more art (and gut instinct) that made my personal list of top taverns. Proximity also plays a role… who wants to travel far to get buzzed?

    I look forward to seeing these results every year, regardless of what earns a spot and what doesn’t.

  • It’s certainly arbitrary, but it’s all in fun, people.

  • dayum-London Grill KNOCKED off the list!? bummer

  • DirkG

    No love for Rum Bar? Any place with as much liquor as them and that actually knows how to use it deserves to be on this list!

  • Lucky Pierre

    Hey Terry, this list has got to be a little bit of an inside joke, I’d guess. London, Rembrandts and Bishops are about 100 times better bars than McGlincheys. This list is too heavy on hipster art student bars.

  • Dan

    Let’s be serious: Fairmount sucks. It’s cut off from everything. When was the last time a decent new restaurant or bar opened there? Face it, that place is for suburbanites that want to act like they live in the city, but are afraid of city living and won’t give up their car under any circumstances.

  • sara

    Complain all you want, but if the panel was rating bars on the quality of product offered (few to no macro beers, craft & foreign beers, top notch spirits, great food) – this list is definitely on the money. Nor should it be the same every year!

    Now, McGlinchey’s may be the exception to my very first paragraph, but it defines a quality dive bar in all of its gritty glory.

  • @Lucky Pierre, do you know many art students who hang out at The Franklin, Chick’s or Southwark?

  • halfassed_list

    I like Adsum the restaurant but the bar’s pretty…boring.

    Swift Half’s inclusion on this list is laughable.

    No PYT? No O’Neals? No Paddywhacks?

    For Pete’s Sake is about the only palatable spot on the list. McGillins at times.

  • Lucky Pierre

    McGlincheys is disgusting but I can go there when I get flagged at Dirty Franks.

  • @Lucky Pierre

    You’re making spurious assumptions. None of the panelists are art school students.

  • sara


    “For Pete’s Sake is about the only palatable spot on the list. McGillins at times.” Not sure which pipe you’re smoking, but PYT/O’Neals/Paddywhacks don’t hold a candle to some of the places on this list. But I guess if your palate errs on the side of Irish Nachos, Village Whiskey isn’t your bag. It’s okay.

  • rascal b. schuylkillian

    Dear list detractors –

    If you are unable or unwilling to have a highly enjoyable time in some if not most of the bars on this list, then i pity your sorry existence.

    And, we’ll all be on the lookout for your scientifically-tested Cool Bar Assessment Rubric in the 2011 Winter Edition of the Journal for Douchey Drinkery Assessers.

  • need a new list

    I think that what we have here is a bunch of food bloggers each trying to “outcool” each other with their selections.

    A list of the top 50 bars should not exclude McMenimans, Dawson St. Pub, Old Eagle. The reviewers have probably never been to Mayfair to go to Tony’s.

  • I know there’s plenty of people on this panel who have issues with Eulogy, but I always have a wonderful time there. I knew as soon as I saw the list that they wouldn’t be included, but no worries, more good beer for me.

  • Yunker

    I might be a bit biased living in Manayunk, but the Terrace Taproom (situated nicely right between Old Eagle and Dawson Street) is making a lot of noise out here. Solid food, and always VERY good beers on their 12 taps. It’s a great addition to our neighborhood.

  • Meh-

    These bars are mostly all fine, very few “True Philly” bars on here though, at least in my opinion. I realize that probably wasn’t part of the criteria.

    But I’ve had a terrible time the 3 times that I’ve been to Varga bar and many of my friends have had similar experiences. What did you all like so much about it? I find it unremarkable.

  • Meh-

    Also, what’s wrong with Cherry St? That’s a great bar. What’s Stogie Joes?

  • FMT

    I think “Dan” means Manayunk, since many of us in Fairmount walk, bike, or take the bus.

    Anyway, if what “LuckyPierre” says is true, that is a disappointment. I would be OK* if all neighborhoods were included in the study and Fairmount was left out fairly. However, this list lacks integrity if the evaluation team only went to certain areas.

    *Let’s face it, it HAS been pretty weak up here, thanks in part to active bluehair nimbys.

  • We’re happy our neighbors at Swift Half are listed, good pick.
    North 3rd & El Camino are missing though.

  • matt

    This is a pretty good list, but there’s really not one good bar outside of the Center City( or nearby center city area)/University City area?

  • rory

    < On panel, lives in Fairmount, not an art student, doesn't blog, doesn't understand how people get so angry.

    can't we all just go out for a drink and relax about what made or didn't make a list that was put up by some people who like to drink? I'll meet anyone anywhere I can get to and from via public transportation easily.

  • Cherry Hill

    Was NJ not included? PJ’s on Haddon Ave has a great atmosphere, good food and nice drink specials and is much closer to Philly than Wayne.

  • NJ was included, too. I voted for Pour House but it didn’t make the cut. Maybe next year!

  • Lucky Pierre

    @Cherry Hill and @Michelle

    Tell PJ’s and Pour House to install a beer engine and feature an appetizer with pork belly as an ingredient and they will merit discussion for this list.

  • Lucky Pierre,

    I voted on Pour House based on their beer selection. They might not have a hand pump but they do have about 100 bottles, many of which aren’t sold in PA, which is another bonus. Their food is just okay, I get that. Not every place that made the final cut also has inspired food, though.

  • Jenny FattOne

    A perfect Top 50 List of “Where to drink with marginally employed hipsters short of cash”. Way off target Foobozos

  • Dimwits

    You have got some real winners on that list of panelists. Quoted above “Its the best bar in Philly because it’s close to my home”. Cute but moronic, at least she’s hot looking. The rest of the losers on the panel can’t keep a real job at any respectable employer.
    The majority of the bars on this list are empty when I look in. I’ll follow the money, the guests and the packed bars for my list of Top 50. Most of those places are missing from here. London Grill, North 3rd, Sassafras etc etc etc. You Foobooz losers enjoy all the empty space at your favorites.

  • HB

    jenny & Dimwits,

    Your at the wrong podium, your socks don’t match. Listen up im going to tell you a secret. No matter how hard you pray they ain’t going to reopen club egypt. Don’t worry you still got finnegans. Trust me as long as you have a miller lite in your hand you will be safe.

  • Does Anyone Know the Difference???

    I really don’t think you know the difference between a restaurant and a bar.


    There’s nothing Philly about Franklin, maybe that’s why it did so well with this panel.

    It’s a cool spot to go to once, but if I’m in that neighborhood, I’d stick with Tria (not on list), Black Sheep (not on list) or if I’m sports watching, Irish Pub or Cavanaughs (neither on list). They’re all just a little more fun and a little looser.

  • Lucky Pierre


    Philadelphia at heart is really a local corner bar kind of town, that’s why you’re going to get some criticism on your list. Everybody prefers their local to Franklin.

  • HBhipsterbozo

    HB your humor works on high school drop outs and liberal arts majors who can’t find jobs. Perfect for Foobooz.

    “Your at the wrong podium, your socks don’t match.”

  • Lucky Pierre

    Lots of Phillymag representation on the panel which probably accounts for the Main Line and upscale Rittenhouse spots.

  • Tim

    Phillymag is just Kirsten Henri who has been blogging for Foobooz for years. She got lucky Starr took the previous editor so she types Philly Weekly like prose in a suburban wrapper. No relevance to the Philadelphia scene. Just more of the same simple thought mentality.

  • HB

    Hold on there, I am begging you to put away those internet muscles. Get your compass out you went down the wrong path with that last post. If they say it’s the top 50 bars than it’s the top 50 bars. Don’t get your panties in a bunch because it don’t match your list.

  • KL

    Last observation…bit of a bummer to see no Bucks County bars. Hulmeville Inn (I know Lew must’ve gone to bat for that one)? Isaac Newton’s?

  • PhiladelphiaSpeaks

    KL, Isaac Newton’s is at least an hour outside the city and obviously McGlinchey’s was determined better anyway.

  • rory

    e-thuggery on a food blog is deeply amusing and, in a way, kinda sad.

    also, dimwits (ahh…irony), if you’re going to use the word “quoted” and then quotation marks, best to actually quote someone. just for future reference.

  • rory

    Isaac newton’s is within an hour and a really good spot. I haven’t been there often, though (why drive for drinks when you can walk?)

  • Tim

    Rory I doubt your fat lazy ass walks anywhere

  • KL

    From 1500 Market St (Per Mapquest) –

    TJ’s Everyday in Paoli (#47) – 34 minutes/24.36 miles
    Isaac Newton’s in Newtown – 41 minutes/31.75 miles

    An hour huh?

  • PhiladelphiaSpeaks

    Right KL..the only time that you can average 45 mph going to either place are a times when they are not open.

    Try again.

  • rory

    stay classy, tim. what’s the next step in e-thuggery? should i threaten to beat you up? lmao. i’ll even get my “fat ass” (how would you know if i’m fat? it’s the internet! good lord, e-thuggery is bizarre) to walk to you to do it too. lol.

    you’d never expect it because you’d be looking for some fat wheezing dude and up comes some skinny dude and one shots you like Ronnie. rofl.

  • Lucky Pierre

    The lack of LGB friendly bars on the list is also glaring. Tavern on Camac is a nice spot with good beer offerings.

  • barryg

    This thread is epic. I with there was more “e-thuggery” on Foobooz, this shit is hilarious.

  • DaveFame

    Brauhaus Schmitz over Fergie”s?

    No Khyber, no Eulogy?

    Someone complimented the margaritas at the Cantina? Do they like the cheapest most disgusting tequila made?

    Polling the readers may lead to a better representation of where people in the city, who try new places and spend their money, actually go.

  • YouAreSheep

    This is getting complicated…

    Foobooz cuts and pastes the original work of everyone else in Philly. Mostly the work of Mike Klein the only original source of information in Philadelphia.

    Rory comments on every cut and paste Foobooz posts and claims he is skinny, then muscular, then toned, but in general lacking on any kind of informed original opinion of his wimpy self.

    We need more fine journalism like Kirsten Henri’s Phillymag that found a way to fit LaBan’s fat face onto one page of the magazine.

    This blog website gets more pathetic every day. I’m only hanging on to watch you go down. My love.

  • Andy

    People are fuckin animals.

  • Michael G

    Too bad the Trestle Inn burned down, I mean an evening of warn cans of PBR, strippers with stretch marks and all the ready rock you can smoke makes for a fun night out.

  • heather

    Lucky Pierre:

    We host a GLBT poetry reading twice each month and in december will be hosting a social mixer for GLBT. I think that most bars in the city are more or less the same as ours when we say love all respect all. We go to any number of other bars and find a very diverse crowd. People should be able to feel comfortable in any setting. One of our favorite places is STIR. We also like Woody’s.
    We are very appreciative to make the list this year. For a small bar like mine something like this is very meaningful.

  • pablo

    Can we get a list of the 50 worst bars in Philadelphia? Watch some fireworks happen then!

  • Dave lame

    Dave, How can you compare Brauhaus Schmitz to Fergies?? The only thing they have in common is the fact that they are bars… This is just a list, next time just make it the top 300 bars in Philly and then everyone can be included and nobody gets their feeling hurt.

  • Mike

    I’m shocked that I’ve only been to about half of these bars. Looks like I have to step up my game.

  • Jennychop

    It’s nice to know we take our preferences in bars so seriously, but for cryin’ out loud, no one is handing out any Michelin stars here. It’s just meant to be an interesting guide to great bars. No need to get snippy about it! Personally, I’m happy to see Resurrection, Local and Memphis on the list – amazing beer and lovely people.

  • rory


    when was foobooz ever anything but this type of blog? So how is it “going down” if it’s not changed? I rarely comment, have quite an informed (and wonderful!) opinion of myself, and feel sorry that the closest you ever got to being the cool kid in a room was anonymous e-thuggery on a (“pathetic”) food blog’s list of bars.

    At least you didn’t incorrectly use quotes under this moniker, so you’re getting grammatically more correct (though I never claimed to be “toned” or “muscular). So I guess that’s a start.


  • Sara

    Jesus Christ people, time to lose the tired “damn hipsters!” argument.

    The terrible scourge of Generation X & Y Greater Philadelphia residents who take pride in their neighborhoods, support a burgeoning dining scene, and love more than the option of Bud Light in their bars is here to stay. We pay the same taxes and support an otherwise shitty economy. If you want as many Wal Marts, Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Irish bars as far as the eye can see, please relocate to Pennsyltuckey.


    A Self-Professed Hipster Liberal Arts Graduate (who I might add, is also employed full-time)

  • Tim

    Rory, never heard of paraphrasing ? What a doofus…


  • rory

    I don’t think you know what paraphrasing means, tim, if you’re defending dimwits version of it. Unless you’re talking about your claim that i claimed i was toned or muscular, which i never did.

    in any case, this thread becoming about my body type is just weird…amusing…but mostly weird.

  • Willie

    Tim, I think Rory has a real good grasp on paraphrasing vs quoting. Dimwits claimed to be quoting – but he was in actuality paraphrasing. This is what Dimwits wrote:

    Quoted above “Its the best bar in Philly because it’s close to my home”.

    He was referring back to something Felicia D. had written. But it wasn’t a quote, it was a paraphrase. That’s where Rory stepped in, because that wasn’t an exact quote of what Felicia wrote. It was a paraphrase. Rory called Dimwits out on the fact that it wasn’t an exact quote yet he (Dimwits) referred to it as such.

    Got it now? Good.

  • Willie

    BTW, I love this site and I comment here. Same can be said for folks like barryg, Felicia, Rory.

    Why the haters appear on a blog they say sucks, commenting on a list made by people they don’t know, I don’t know. No lives, I guess.

    I know that I may have time to comment on a blog that I read and enjoy, I certainly do NOT have the spare time to visit blogs I don’t read & don’t like to trash people and troll.

    Get a life, haters.

  • Brittany

    Really glad to see Teresa’s Next Door on here…I make the trip out to Wayne a few times a month, and it’s really easy with regional rail.

  • kbor

    Booze + Food = Awesome.

  • Felicia D’Ambrosio

    So funny, I didn’t notice until now that I was insulted and called “cute but moronic”!

    I never said it’s a great bar b/c it’s close to my house. I said, “who wants to travel far to get buzzed.”

    This list is always such fun ;)