Where We’re Eating: SoWe in Graduate Hospital

sowe-bar-400I’ve gotten better service at the DIY froyo place off South Street than I did at SoWe. One Saturday night, I made a reservation for 8:15. The table wasn’t ready then, so our party of four was ushered outside, where we waited five minutes for a server, and then another 10 minutes for the drinks she forgot to bring us. The cocktails were comped, which almost made up for the fact that it was nearly 9 p.m. when we were finally seated—at a hastily arranged table outside the dining room, next to the bar, with broken hinges that kept knocking big flanks of wood against our knees. After the move, our food was brought out at random. My mussels and mac-and-cheese gratin were delivered simultaneously, while my friend’s starter soup came after her tuna tartare. Oh, and then our waiter decided to argue with us when we raised objections. If the food had been exceptional, the nonstop horrific service might have been forgiven. Alas, it was not.

SoWe [Foobooz]

First appeared in the December, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.


  • Matthew Gansert

    Why now publish a review written after a single visit over two months ago? I see you are new at this but come on Simon!

    As the new chef of this establishment, I’d like to think I’m owed an answer before you throw my shit in the street. In the restaurant industry (where I work and you play) timing is everything. Please fix yours.

    • Nancy Law

      In addition to the wonderful addition of Matt as our new chef, we also have a great new front of the house manager . Unfortunately we fell short when you were here, which is why we have a new team. We hope you give us another try.

      • lex

        Unfortunately, medicore seems to be the draw at SoWe. I ate there a few months ago my apps came out ice cold and the steak was over cooked. It was a hassle sending them back. Our table was bumped by the bar overflow (repeatedly). The servers were disorganized and the owner was busy smoozing another table. She never left the 1 table as her entire dining room and kitchen was crashing. Thanks, but no thanks, Go to Rex 1516, Theambridge or The Mildred. The good news is that there are much better options all over town.

  • Nancy Law

    Unfortunately we fell short when you came in a few months ago . That is why we have a new fantastic chef and manager. We hope you come back in to get an accurate reflection of who we are and the great food, drinks and service we are providing.

  • tijuana

    Is that a Yelp review disguised as a restaurant review? Coming soon, my review of The Butcher and the Baker.

  • Concerned

    I’m fair confused by this article. It’s called “Where we are eating” but it’s all negative and from a few months ago. Yelp has cornered the market place on old, biased reviews. A regular features on some positive stuff would help the site a lot

  • jlk7e

    This is a ridiculous review. I can load up Yelp and read reviews by petty assholes very well on my own, thank you.

  • wantagoodlocalbar

    I’ve been going here for a while now as its in my neighborhood. There are a couple of problems with this place. Their biggest…consistency with the food. Its always hit or miss. They did get a new chef recently, but appears they are still changing the menu constantly. Its a neighborhood bar. Settle on your best selling food and change up the rest. I ordered wings the other night and got blue cheese or dressing but no celery. When I asked for some, they didn’t have it. Really? I stopped ordering other items on the menu because I haven’t been impressed.

    The upside, the burgers aren’t bad and its a friendly atmosphere. You can talk to everyone sitting around you, most of the time. I haven’t been able to do that at Sidecar which is the next closest bar.

    • wantagoodlocalbar

      I also failed to mention the bartender doesn’t appear to really care. When I asked about the celery, he sort of shrugged and said that’s how it is. Their old bartender was much more attentive and accommodating ie he cared.