Wine not hitting you quite right? Want the full story on how chef Eli Kulp makes his alt-Peking duck? Lose an earring on the way to the restroom? All these things happened to us this year at Ellen Yins revitalized Old City institution and out came a fresh glass, a masterful description, and our recovered jewelry to boot. Yin sets the gold standard for engaged ownership, and her servers go above and beyond to make everything right. 306 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, forkrestaurant.com.
Yes, you read that right. Han Dynasty has some of the best cocktails in Philly right now thanks to Lê of Hop Sing Laundromat, who swooped in and upgraded the bar menu with a handful of new, truly inventive elixirs. You’ll have almost as much fun sipping on the green matcha and vanilla Phat Phuc as you will ordering it. 123 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, handynasty.net/.
At UBIQ’s appointment-only “lab,” which opened this past winter, serious sneakerheads can design a pair of kicks in a completely custom color palette. (Deposits start at $500.) Need some inspiration? Consider taking those holy-grail Air Jordan 1’s and refinishing them in exotic crocodile or python. (Yup, they do that.) 1509 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, ubiqlife.com/.
Nope, those aren’t pint-size Comme des Garçons tees – they’re by luxe kiddie loungewear brand Noggi. And those mini Gucci-looking slides? They’re actually Hoo shoes. (The Chloé label, however, is the real deal.) cBOP is stocked with clothes so stylish that you’d covet them for your own closet if the sizes didn’t range from newborn to a children’s 6. 393 West Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041, shopcbop.com/.
One part ladylike sophistication (tailored silk jackets), two parts dreamy romanticism (ruffled frocks galore) and a dash of boho-cool (fringed shawls from the ’30s) make up this tidy vintage boutique on Manayunk’s main drag. Don’t miss the home selection, either; it’s brimming with Persian rugs, paper goods and darling jar candles. 4390 Main Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127, millayshop.com/.
The owners of Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, Los Caballitos and Dos Segundos would be qualified for this award even without their latest endeavor, Triangle Tavern. When you give a neighborhood this many affordable and comfortable spots for dinner and late-night bites, plus cheap drinks in a time when fewer and fewer bars can claim affordability as a core tenet of their concepts, it's a triumph well worth celebrating.
High-end liquor at ridiculously low prices (starting as cheap as $3.50), served alone and unadorned at a spot famous for mixed drinks? This is basically the bar's gift to its regulars (and those comfortable with drinking shots before the sun goes down), so find yourself some nice shoes, leave the cell phone in your pocket (it's the owner's biggest rule), and go take advantage between 5 and 7 p.m. (sometimes 8 p.m.). 1029 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, hopsinglaundromat.com/.
It's got limited hours, many garments are encased in plastic, and there isn't much priced under $100. Which makes finding treasures from some of the most iconic names in fashion (Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Dior), plucked from the closets of the most famous people in the world (Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston), all the more special. 111 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, facebook.com/philadelphiavintage.
As furniture shopping becomes increasingly big-box and catalog-focused, this growing local shop delivers exactly what we want: options. The Chestnut Street flagship has soft leather sofas and industrial-cool accent pieces; the next-door sister store is dedicated to mid-century modern, and the newest Queen Village annex has all the same great brands, plus more of those home-making accessories. 1214-1216 Chestnut Street and 331 South Street, 19107, cellaluxuria.com.
The fascinating (and totally free!) self-guided tour gives you a bird's-eye view of the actual, live coin-making process from 40 feet above the factory floor where some 715 million quarters were produced last year. It's the perfect Independence Mall destination for those of us who aren't tourists. 151 North Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, PA 19106, usmint.gov/mint_tours/?action=philadelphia.
Whether you're looking to get your hands on some veggie sausage or a slice of vegan cheesecake, this website has you covered. It's a handy online map of veg-friendly spots around the city, with candid user restaurant reviews—which rate the atmosphere and food and name a favorite dish—making eating vegan easier than ever. vegphilly.com/.
Head to the Art Museum at 6:25 on Wednesday mornings or Franklin Field at the same time on Fridays, and you'll see a fitness flash mob: more than 100 (crazy?) people doing burpees and squats in unison. It's all part of the Facebook-and-Twitter-fueled fitness movement, now in 17 cities, that came to Philly earlier this year. The 40-minute boot-camp-style workouts are open to all and totally free. november-project.com/.
You wouldn't think a couple of hours with a drink and a paintbrush would be such a hilarious experiment in bonding, or such an oddly satisfying creative release, but there you have it. The increasingly popular Paint Nite franchise, which sends local artists and teachers to bars all over the city every single night, is a happy respite from the ubiquitous sauv-blanc-and-pommes-frites routine. You might even go home with a painting you're proud of. (Okay, probably not. But still.) paintnite.com/pages/home/index.
It’s not just that founder Adeline Koh crafts some of the most luxurious skin-care products on the market — from the Vacuum Cleaner cleansing oil to the Dorian Gray anti-aging serum — out of her Bok studio. It’s also that she donated masks and created hand sanitizers, all while using her playful yet powerful TikToks to put racists in their place. 1901 South 9th Street #308, Philadelphia, PA 19148, sabbaticalbeauty.com.
One day, it’s Vietnamese home cooking — chilled silken tofu in a mushroom XO sauce, or stuffed squid in tomato sauce. Another day, it’s Sri Lankan curried vegetable buns and string hoppers. The options are always different because Kampar Kitchen is many things all at once: a restaurant incubator, an outlet for cooks with big ideas, a way for food-obsessed Philadelphians to try something new. 1901 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148, kampar-kitchen.square.site.