Vinyl heads come here to flip through the 50,000-strong record collection (all genres, though the specialty is funk, soul and hip-hop), to listen to live midday performances, and to talk music with owner Max Ochester, who has sold LPs to everyone from Questlove to Q-Tip. Check out the shop’s Instagram feed for a first look at the latest rare finds. 2710 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130, brewerytownbeats.com/.
These days, even your corner shot-and-a-beer bar can mix up a technically perfect manhattan. (In other words, we wonder if Philly has reached maximum craft-cocktail capacity.) And then along comes barman Paul MacDonald with his zinger of a list. The star: the Assassin’s Handbook, a mixture of Jamaican rum, cognac, averna, amaro and mulled wine, with a spark of habanero at the finish. Wow. 261 South 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, fridaysaturdaysunday.com.
If your neighbors' verdant window boxes make you and your scattering of marigolds feel inadequate, consider a subscription from Bucks County-based Enliven Planters. Their garden designers — the same brains behind the beautiful boxes at Vedge and Russet — will come at the start of every season to create a customized box or planter that can hold its own against any of the other stunners in your neighborhood. enlivenplanters.com.
Despite all the excellent beers the mad geniuses of Ardmore-based Tired Hands Brewing Company come up with, we always find ourselves returning to this one. It's a crisp, refreshing American pale that drinks like a perfect sweet summer beer, without any unnecessary complication to the flavor save a mild undertone of pine needles. tiredhands.com.
Weve come to accept the fact that New York has better bagels. They just do. But this South Street institution is the closest weve found to New Yorks greatness nice and crispy on the outside, just the right amount of soft chew on the inside and the $7.75 lox special on a toasted everything with pickles on the side will sustain you for most of the day. 613 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, southstphillybagel.com/.
We loved watching Philly (and formerly Philly) music greats Darryl Hall, Questlove, Amos Lee and Patti LaBelle come together for this telethon/variety show, which raised $1.5 million for the PHL COVID-19 Relief Fund. Miss Patti absolutely killed it, as did the gospel choir that followed her. Find the full concert on YouTube. philafound.org/covid-19/phlove/.
Instead of Fido going to the doggie motel, the Pet Nanny comes to Fido. Pet-first-aid-certified “nannies” stay overnight with your fur baby when you’re outta town — and while they’re there, they can also vacuum your carpets, water your plants, and even pick up a few groceries. Services the Main Line. pet-nanny.net.
With its crowded bar, multiple-choice menu and (admittedly strange) Hee-Haw-meets-Gotham aesthetic, Urban Farmer is the exception to stuffy steakhouses. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the vertical steak tasting, which offers three different New York cuts from three different producers in three different regions, playing up the massive variations in flavor and texture that can come from different feeds. 1850 Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103, urbanfarmerphiladelphia.com/.
Sign up for one of the intimate classes offered by this stellar branding and design studio. (They've worked with such stylish local companies as BHLDN, Maggpie Vintage and Peg and Awl.) Expert instructors will help you master topics ranging from SEO to basic photography to digital art, and hands-on brainstorming time will get your gears turning. You'll come out on the other side with new skills and a stronger brand. 125 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, inkandmortar.com.
You know the city has changed when the best Indian food is coming out of a cheery, colorful place around the corner from the Melrose Diner. The menu's not huge, but that's just fine. The namesake chaats (Indian street snacks) and chais (Indian teas) make for a perfect, well, afternoon tea. For a more substantial meal, reach for the curry bowls. 1532 Snyder Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145, facebook.com/chaatandchai/.
The city's most "civilized steakhouse" may be in need of an interior decorator, but this Square stalwart keeps us coming back with half-priced cocktails, $6 clams casino, crispy potato skins, deviled eggs, and great people-watching from our vantage point at the bar. Plus: Sunday happy hour, should you need to ease into your Monday. 220 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, theprimerib.com/philadelphia-pa/.
Convincing arguments have been made for the homey kitsch and time-honored cred of the 700, but we take umbrage with the relentlessly throwback soundtrack of the place. In the end, when it comes to a dance-heavy good time, the Barbary is a surefire bet. True, a select breed of douchebaggery occasionally infests this two-floor hipster haunt, but the place is big enough to avoid the types (both human and musical) you want to and still have room to spread out and dance. Check Facebook for monthly theme nights and special events. 951 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125, thebarbary.org/.
Readers' Choice: Since opening up in Fishtown nearly 10 years ago, Johnny Brenda's has clearly been the go-to Philly venue to hear up-and-coming artists. And why not? The sound is crystal clear, the beers are all local, and the room, which holds 250, is comfortable and has plenty of character. And thanks to a dedication to treating both customers and performers with respect, the indie concert hall has more than enough good karma to go around unusual in the normally dirty business of rock-and-roll. 1201 North Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125, johnnybrendas.com/.
This Abruzzo-focused Italian restaurant takes the prize in a city full of Italian restaurants because weve never had a bad meal, a bad time or even a bad moment here. There's always just one more thing on the menu you have to try the next time you come in no matter how many times youve already been. Plus, the bowl of sausage and polenta is as good as tube-shaped meats get. 1927 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148, levirtu.com.
Blink and you'll miss this little shop, which from the sidewalk looks as though it vends orchids only, but then reveals itself to be unrivaled when it comes to imaginative and sophisticated arrangements incorporating all sorts of blooms. We've tried DIY here; it doesn't quite work. Let owner Kevin Kim do his thing. You'll be happy. 225 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, .