PHOTOS: Our Night Out at XIX

The extremely nasty weather didn’t stop hundreds (literally, hundreds … it was packed) of gay Philly’s finest from taking the Bellevue elevators all the way up nineteen floors for an evening of cocktails, mingling, and holiday cheer. The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund‘s popular Our Night Out happy hour and networking event was co-sponsored this month by the HRC Philadelphia Steering Committee, who showed up with plenty of equality stickers and paraphernalia for guests.

The views, even in the cold rain and wind, were stunning: Several of XIX’s signature bay windows were opened so guests could take a peek at the City of Brotherly Love (if they didn’t mind getting a little wet in the process). We were there to capture some of the fabulous fun and excellent outfits that graced the evening.

P.S. Kudos are in high order for the folks at DVLF for throwing another great event so quickly after their annual TOY fundraiser, which was this past Saturday evening. Now, that’s some great party planning!

XIX Updates its menu for the Season

XIX has a whole new menu for fall and that’s not all, brunch is back as well. Running from 11am-2pm every Sunday it is $46 for adults, $23 for children 5-12 (children under 5 are free). Includes raw bar, dim sum, entrees and desserts.

XIX Fall Menu (PDF)

Hurray for Whiskey at XIX

fireplace_xixToday, XIX is hosting a whiskey dinner featuring premium whiskeys paired with five-courses of XIX’s fare.

Expect pairings like 10-year old Talisker with oysters and Bulleit Bourbon with apricot beignets. The dinner is just $50 per person and only a few seats remain.

XIX [Official Site]

Quick Bites

It is post-Labor Day and that means brunch has returned to Meme. The $35 prix fixe menu is sticking around too giving you one more Restaurant Week alternative.

Yes, the commenters who figured Shola Olunloyo is aiming to open his StudioKitchen in NoLibs down the street from Kong were right. He’s aiming for a November opening. [Grub Street]

XIX named by MSN as a top 10 Penthouse Restaurant in the United States. [MSN]

Monk’s Cafe’s back bar is open again. [Liquid Diet]

ROOT liqueur gets a shout-out in October’s Vanity Fair. It’s the skewing young one with Jackie O on the cover.

City inspections are the only thing left for the second location of Flying Monkey before it is ready to open at 1112 Locust Street. [Restaurant Club]

Elevation Burger, the environmentally friendly burger chain that has opened locally in Wynnewood is planning  on opening on Walnut Street near Rittenhouse Square in 6 to 8 months. [Blogalicious]

Brick House Tavern + Tap has opened in Willow Grove. Self-described as a Man Cave the beer selection isn’t too shabby and includes Victory Hop Wallop on cask.

Recess Lounge did not open Saturday as the vague “plumbing issues” reared its ugly head. [Grub Street]

Our Can’t-Miss Restaurants for Summer Guests

Hosting houseguests has its ups (spending time with friends) and downs (intensive pre-arrival cleaning), but far and away the best part of the experience is falling in love with Philadelphia all over again by seeing the city through a visitor’s eyes. Those of us who live in the area take everything for granted: our rich history, our stately architecture, and most of all our food scene. From the humblest sandwich stops to our flashiest restaurants, Philadelphia is a delicious destination to show off. So even if you don’t have friend coming to town, invite one and revisit our Restaurant Club team favorites: We promise you’ll get excited about Philly eats all over again. And let us know: What are your must-hit food stops when out-of-towners come calling?

Read more »

Varga Wants You to Lunch a Bunch

Varga Bar, the new pinup-themed eat-and-drinkery from chef R. Evan Turney and partner George Anni, has been up an running for a couple of weeks now, breathing new life into a part of Washington Square West that isn’t 13th Street. Starting this Sunday the 7th, the restaurant will open for lunch, serving the same diet-blowing items — like truffled mac and cheese and smoked ribs — that are on the dinner menu. And, of course, the many craft-beer-fueled taps will be flowing.

And because Varga loves Restaurant Club members so much, they are giving away five $20 gift certificates so you can check it out for yourself. Send an e-mail with your name, phone number, and e-mail address to by 5 p.m. this Friday, June 5th. Winners will be contacted early next week. If you aren’t 21, don’t be naughty and try to enter — Varga will be checking IDs both when the gift certificates are picked up and when they are used. Good luck!

Varga Bar, 10th and Spruce streets; 215-627-5200.

Quick Bites

Rick’s Steaks is aiming for a June 9th soft opening in the Bellevue, the Whiz has already arrived.

In other Bellevue news, Dave Schultz and Bob Wilkie host a live Internet hockey radio show from the XIX bar at 1pm on every Tuesday.

Demetris is a handsome Mediterranean spot at 45th and Chestnut that is open for breakfast daily. [The Insider]

The permanent Stephen Starr burger stand is aiming to open on July 4th inside Franklin Square. There’s still no name. [Philly Chit Chat]

Stephen Starr’s and investor Allan Domb were spotted on a train to Washington. Could a Parc DC be far behind? [Philly Gossip]

Iron Hill Maple Shade is still on track for a July opening. If all goes well brewing could start around June 12th. [The Brew Lounge]

943 is an Italian-Argentine BYO in the Italian Market that’s several weeks out. [The Insider]

Merl’s which was had a nice review in City Paper back in April has closed. [Kitchenplay]

Al Fresco Dining, Hold The Exhaust

The Center City District recently released their State of Center City 2009 report where they counted 215 outdoor cafes. As the outdoor cafe has become ubiquitous we’ve started hearing a new question, where can I eat outside away from the sidewalk. Today’s edition of The Bite highlights a handful of restaurants where the atmosphere is never broken by the blaring of, “welcome to route….”

Outdoor seating without the cars [Metro Philadelphia]

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