Who says a happy hour has to start at 5 p.m.? Leave work early — hell, you’re probably WFH anyway — and head to this new Main Line spot that offers discount drinks and snacks from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Your best bet is the $16 temaki trio — three hand rolls of shrimp, salmon and yellowtail — washed down with a glass of French rosé ($9) or a 3 Floyds Zombie Dust pale ale ($6). On Wednesday afternoons: $20 Japanese whiskey flights. 110 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, PA 19087, blueelephantwayne.com.
This Mexican restaurant in Kensington serves $1 tacos and $2 wings during happy hour — you can spend $20 and eat like a king. And the outdoor backyard is fantastic. 2800 D Street, Philadelphia, PA 19134, cantinalamartinapa.com.
Bethany Rusen, founder and director of this inclusive pottery studio, says ceramics saved her life, adding, “I’m hoping I can pass that experience on to other people.” Black Hound offers affordable space to artists and sliding-scale pricing for workshops. If you just want to drop in, you can create a functional piece of art like a mug or planter in about two hours. More ambitious? Try an eight-week session in wheel-throwing ceramics. Up next: A second location is coming this fall to Point Breeze. 715 South 50th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143, blackhoundclay.com.
These local dance-party promoters have something for (almost) anyone at various locations in the area, whether you want to shake it off with Taylor Swift tunes, unleash your inner diva at “Beyoncé vs. Rihanna,” gather with fellow K-pop enthusiasts for a few jubilant hours, or brood the night away with “Depeche Mode vs. NIN.” riotnerdphilly.com.
We could run down a list of technical specifications, but suffice it to say this just-expanded Chinatown gaming center has the fastest and newest gear and games on the market. You can get an hourly pass for as little as $2.50. Super Smash Bros. fan? The Monday- and Thursday-night tournaments are a hoot. 924 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, tapesportscenter.com.
When Nicholas Elmi opened Laurel in 2013, he was trying to make fine dining fun after working at Le Bec-Fin. Over the years, though, the place became serious. Then, this spring, he took on two new partners (general manager Jane Fryer and chef Kevin McWilliams) and transformed Laurel into an à la carte restaurant serving coconut-fat-washed Negronis, and clams topped with creamy vin jaune sauce and pops of trout roe that give it a new lease on life. Honestly, it’s just way more fun this way. 1617 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148, restaurantlaurel.com.
You want artisanal ice cream hand-churned with organic milk? You want twee, made-from-scratch mix-ins? Keep walking. At Richman’s, you’ll find sky-high swirls of old-fashioned soft-serve that transport you straight to steamy summer days and simpler times. If you really want to elevate it, get the cherry dip. Various locations, richmansicecream.com.
Cobbs Creek’s Kenneth Johnston set out in July 2022 on a 400-mile Walk to Freedom, retracing Harriet Tubman’s trek from Harlem through the Hudson River Valley and across New York state before winding up in September at Ontario’s British Methodist Episcopal Church, where the enslaved heroine once worshipped. Back in 2019, Johnston walked 140 miles from the Choptank River in Maryland to Philly, the route Tubman took in 1854 to rescue her brothers. Next up: a 1,000-mile slave trail from Virginia to New Orleans. “I’m not a historian,” says Johnston, who calls himself a “walking artist,” “but I build stories along the way and connect them.”
When WHYY and Marty Moss-Coane decided to end the long-running Radio Times last year, we wondered what would fill the microphone-sized hole in our midday hearts. In stepped station stalwarts Cherri Gregg and Avi Wolfman-Arent with a new idea, Studio 2, which is as much a news program as it is an introspective dive into the Delaware Valley’s collective psyche on any given day. The co-hosts’ easy rapport suggests they’ve been running this playbook for years, not just a few months.
Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist may not have led her team to victory in the NCAA tournament this year. But that’s just about the only honor that eluded the recent grad — and number three pick in the WNBA draft. In her storied career, she was the all-time Big Five women’s scoring leader, the fastest Wildcat to reach 1,000 points, the Big East’s all-time regular-season scorer, and a multiple Player of the Week honoree; notched records for most points in a game and most field goals made … and became ’Nova’s leading all-time scorer, male or female, breaking a 36-year-old record. Look for her this WNBA season in a Dallas Wings uni.
Edwards (six-foot-seven out of Imhotep Charter School), Wagner (six-two out of Camden High) and Bradshaw (seven-one, also Camden) are among ESPN’s top six high-school basketball prospects in the nation. They’ve all committed to Tyrese Maxey’s alma mater of Kentucky. And they’re all projected to go in the first round of the 2024 NBA draft. Maybe this is the Philly hoops team we should be trusting in.
When we got the news in June that a tragic tractor-trailer fire had taken out a portion of I-95, we all had the same collective thought, perhaps expressed best by city managing director Tumar Alexander: “I-95 will be impacted for a long time, for a long time.” But Josh Shapiro — doing his new-governor flex and demonstrating an undeniable knack for seizing a big moment — wasn’t having any of that. He promptly set in motion a flurry of emergency declarations and resource-marshaling we’ve not seen round here since the pope’s visit.
He was aided by a bit of kismet. There was the blink-and-you-missed-it demolition job by Deptford’s C. Abbonizio Contractors, who happened to be working nearby on a different I-95 project. Then we all became experts on foamed glass aggregate, thanks to Delco’s Aeroaggregates, providers of the miracle backfill material — made of recycled bottles! — that temporary lanes would be built upon. And there was the rebuild by South Philly-based Buckley & Company, which also had its equipment nearby, for work on the I-95/Betsy Ross Bridge interchange. Serendipity! PennDOT chief Mike Carroll arrived on the scene within hours and lived out of a Jeep as he planned and orchestrated the rebuild. And thanks to the wildly popular I-95 livestream, the city had something new to cheer for.
The collapse played into the “Bad things happen in Philadelphia” narrative. The reopening less than two weeks later neatly flipped that gloomy fallacy on its head. Well played, Brotherly Lovers!
All restaurant-inclined Philadelphians have an arsenal of Mexican spots they talk about with regularity. But, surprisingly, Plaza Garibaldi doesn’t come up in conversation that often. Since 2002, it’s been serving excellent cabeza and al pastor tacos in fresh corn tortillas, tomahawk steaks with grilled scallions and nopales, and house horchata. You’ll find yourself wondering how you’ve never been here before. 935 Washington Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147, plazagaribalditogo.com.
Downingtown may seem like a long way to go for dinner, but chef Andrew Hufnagel (ex of Zola, Dandelion and Jean-Georges) makes the trip worth it with this French BYOB that can do hyper-classic onion soup spiked with sherry, a charcoal-roasted squab with strawberry rhubarb and spring onion soubise, or kombu-poached shrimp with yuzu mayonnaise, all without breaking a sweat. The kitchen trades classical stuffiness for a bright, restrained experimentalism (and occasionally serves a really good cheeseburger, too), making De La Terre the best restaurant you’re going to find in the last place you’d ever look. 47 West Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335, delaterrebyob.com.
At this South Philly specialty deli, you can stock up on homemade pork sausages or stop by for lunch and listen to owners Patrick Alfiero and Melissa Pellegrino talk about local sourcing while you eat zungenblutwurst sausage and pickled vegetables stacked on rye. Or you can snag a ticket to the weekly family-style dinners, where you’ll be treated to pork liver pâté and veal-stuffed pasta made from local grains. No matter how you Heavy Metal, Alfiero and Pellegrino’s approach to whole-animal butchery will keep you coming back again and again. 1527 West Porter Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145, heavymetalsausage.com.