At some point in the evening at Dr. Thunder's karaoke events, the following three things will probably happen: Dr. Thunder will strip down to a cape and shiny shorti-shorts with DR. THUNDER emblazoned across the butt in bright green letters; someone will sing Journey; and you will put on some ridiculous outfit and wig from his huge crate of costumes. Just know that those photos Dr. Thunder is taking of you while you're singing (read: making a fool of yourself) will wind up on Facebook the next morning. Mercifully, he rarely takes video. Find his busy schedule at facebook.com/thunderkaraoke. Call or see website for consultation, 00000, facebook.com/thunderkaraoke.
In the past two years or so, we saw an influx of independently owned wine shops open all around Philly — many of them run by restaurant owners and bar managers who take their wine programs very seriously, sourcing and stocking only the natural, or the local, or the hard-to-find stuff. We also saw Acme and Whole Foods get into the wine game here in Pennsylvania — though their selections are, um, heavy on the Sutter Home. And then there’s the IGA, a pretty generic grocery store in a pretty blah strip mall on Aramingo Avenue, not particularly boutique-y or high-end. Just a plain ol’ grocery store. Unlike Acme and Whole Foods, though, its wine selection is vast and fairly priced and downright thoughtful. There are traditional bottles — the chianti classicos, the Châteauneuf-du-Papes — but there are orange wines from Georgia, too, and pecorinos from Abruzzo, and natural and biodynamic wines everywhere you look. You’ll leave and wonder a lot about this place: Who’s running this shop? How do they keep the prices so low? And how the hell is it still such a secret? 2497 Aramingo Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125, therichmondshops.com/bottle-shop.html.
Bars with food trucks inside. Bars with strict dress codes. Bars with 18-ingredient cocktails that take 15 minutes to make. Blah, blah, blah. When it comes time to watch the big game–or any game, for that matter–the only place I want to be is at any of the dozen or so area locations of Chickie’s & Pete’s. You and your too-cool friends can roll your eyes at my vulgar plebeianism, but while you’re at your tin-ceilinged, Edison-bulbed speakeasy, I’ll be sitting happily amidst an ungodly number of huge TVs with sound, drinking cheap beers and scarfing down crack-like Crabfries. If you come to your senses and decide to meet me for the next game, don’t ask the waitress if she has that $14 single-cask goat-tears-infused craft beer, or you might get stomped. – Victor Fiorillo chickiesandpetes.com.
Where they can make even the squarest of pegs fit into the roundest of holes. 233-237 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, .
Don't go near a Caribbean ocean, Shore house or backyard pool without coming here first. Plaza at King of Prussia, 160 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406, everythingbutwater.com.
Yes, they won "Best New Thai" last year. And they're still the best. Nothing else even comes close. 1514 Tasker Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145, circlesthai.com.
All drafts are half-price during happy hour and Great Lakes proves good things do come from Cleveland. 1148 South 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, devilsdenphilly.com.
With lump Maryland meat and no filler, chef Aaron Gottesman has returned some dignity to this clichéd menu item. 1516 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, oysterhousephilly.com.
The chafing dishes at this cigar-box-sized buffet are the closest you can come to Java without leaving the 215. 1754 South Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145, hardenas.com.
Here, you pay an hourly rate for dozens of machines, including some very cool vintage specimens from the '60s and '70s. 81 Lancaster Avenue (edited), Malvern, PA 19355, pinballgallery.net.
This resale spot with an ever-changing inventory is a wish come true: Imagine the cutest plus looks from every store in the mall, sold for a fraction of full price. 2719 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130, curveconsciousphilly.com.
Seasons change, plates change, but there are always thoughtful dishes coming out of this tiny and impressive kitchen. 2425 Grays Ferry Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19146, resurrectionalehouse.com.
The owners here have the discipline not to meddle. That pile of shrimp, the fish tacos and the fish and chips come just as the Fish Gods intended them to be: simple. 2537 East Somerset Street, Philadelphia, PA 19134, thebestseafood.com.
The big dining room and friendly staff are perfect for kids, and the menu is full of interesting things for your little Escoffier to shove in his snack hole. 117 North 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, .