Wine Some, Lose Some: Good News and Bad on the Sommelier Beat

Mariel Wega of and

Mariel Wega of and Best New Sommeliers

Mariel Wega, the wine director of and has been named one of the Best New Sommeliers of 2016 by Wine & Spirits magazine. This is just the latest accolade for Wega and as they were also named one of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants by Wine Enthusiast magazine earlier this year.

But a bit of a bummer comes from across Rittenhouse Square. Justin Timsit of the Rittenhouse Hotel, who was named New York’s best sommelier in April, despite being employed here in Philadelphia, is leaving the hotel for New York City.

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Cocktails to Cool Off with at

a-bar-angostura-float-400Earlier today we stopped by to check in on the summer cocktails that the Rittenhouse cocktail bar has added to their menu. Bartender Paul MacDonald joined us on Facebook Live to make us an Angostura Float, a rum-based cocktail made with Angostura bitters ice cream that is just perfect for this unbearable hot days and nights.

The cocktail is definitely rum forward in the best way and as the ice cream melts, becomes a creamy cooling and refreshing way to relax. The angostura ice cream worked remarkably well, definitely better than just about any beer-flavored ice cream I’ve come across.

More summer cocktails at »

New Spring Cocktails At A.Bar


While winter calls for boozier, slow-sipping beverages, the warming weather is inspiring drinks with more dilution–ones that you can drink with abandon. The theme of spring at Beverages that are either shaken, swizzled, or stirred. Bar manager Dan Hamm (formerly at 1 Tippling Place and one of the brains behind the pop-up cocktail events at Spirit Forward) has created a mix of offerings, many of which include seasonal elements.

Yes, we tried them. And yes, we came home with pictures.

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Announcing the 2015 50 Best Bars in Philadelphia

Keith Raimondi at Townsend | Photo by Neal Santos

Keith Raimondi at Townsend | Photo by Neal Santos

For seven years now we’ve polled bartenders, beer reps, booze writers and professional drinkers of all stripes, and asked them to pick their most-loved bars in the area. We then add our own favorites, do a little cocktail-napkin math and come up with the 50 Best Bars in Philadelphia. This year the Best Bars list includes dives, gastropubs, cocktail lounges and even an awesome little spot in Port Richmond.

This year’s list features a new number one bar, but that’s far from the only interesting tidbit on the list.

Inside the Best Bars List »

A.Kitchen Is Launching An Express Lunch Service

A.Kitchen now serving weekday express lunch.

A.Kitchen now serving weekday express lunch.

This one’s for the Center City crowd looking for something a little different for lunch.

A.Kitchen and A.Bar are rolling out a new weekly changing sandwich-and-a-side special, and it will probably trump your usual hoagie.

Actually, it’ll pretty much definitely trump your usual hoagie. I mean, if nothing else, we’re talking about bread from High Street On Market and that is always a good thing.

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5 Things To Expect When You See Oscar at Opera Philadelphia

Oscar Header 2

David Daniels in “Oscar.”


It’s the opera that has the entire city buzzing, and clearly theres a reason: Oscar is probably the largest production Opera Philadelphia has staged in some time—at least as far as it’ talent and technical elements are concerned—and it generally is a major home run for the company. You still have a few chances to catch the staging at the Academy of Music before it fades away on February 15th. Here are some things you can absolutely count on as you take in the performance. Read more »

Six Pack: Philly’s Best Restaurants For Dining Out Alone

Photo by Jason Varney

Nothing wrong with a table for one at Vetri

Sure, dates and dinners with friends are nice, but sometimes you just want to grab a meal all by yourself. Maybe you’re too busy to make plans, or you just need some alone time. Or maybe you just want to order all the appetizers on the menu and not have to share them. Whatever your reason for dining alone, we’ve got the six best places in Philly to treat yourself.

So, you know, happy Valentine’s Day…

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Out Opera Superstar David Daniels On Breathing New Life Into the Philly Production of Oscar

David Daniels

David Daniels

When Oscar, the opera that examines the downright depressing tale of Oscar Wilde’s love for another man and how it led to his persecution and imprisonment, first opened at the Santa Fe Opera, it was panned by critics. David Daniels, arguably the world’s greatest countertenor for whom the show was written for, openly admits he could care less what those reviewers thought of the show.

“The critics didn’t like it, and I don’t care,” he told me during a rainy Sunday afternoon at the AKA Hotel on Rittenhouse Square. “The audiences loved it. We were playing to houses that were 98 percent full.” Read more »

Cheezbooz: Even More Cheese News For People Who Love Cheese

cheezboozAs if the last cheese event wasn’t enough, here we come with two more, happening on December 15th and 16th.

First off, there’s a cheese pop-up happening at High Street on Market on Monday, December 15. Starting at 5:30, authors and cheese experts Max McCalman and Tenaya Darlington will be signing books, curating side-by-side cheese tastings and offering a cheese master class for those who are seriously into their curds.

Then, on Tuesday, December 16, at, there’ll be a cheese happy hour, also featuring McCalman, this time with wine expert Mariel Wega by his side.

Details for both events are after the jump.

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