Cravings: Root Beer Floats and Milkshakes

Stay cool with these refreshing summer treats

This month we’re craving frosty drinks. In our print edition, we rhapsodize over Philly’s best root beer floats, but even if your tastebuds don’t fancy sassafras, you can still indulge in cool, creamy sips this summer. Click through for our tribute to our favorite Philly milkshakes.

Ants Pants Café
A neighborhood coffee shop with an Australian accent, the Ants Pants Café serves up treats from down under like the Violet Crumble milkshake. The thick shake, which features the popular chocolate-and-honeycomb Aussie candy bar, will make you resent the fact that you grew up with Hershey’s chocolates.
Ants Pants Café, 2212 South Street, 215-875-8002

Bassetts Ice Cream
For a classic, perfect shake (malted or not), head to the Bassetts counter at Reading Terminal Market. Or, order a root beer float or  ice cream soda with a scoop of vanilla ice cream bobbing in it.
Bassetts Ice Cream, Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch Streets, 215-925-4315

Bobby’s Burger Palace
Once you’ve braved the line at Bobby Flay’s West Philly burger joint — it always seems to be snaking out the door — reward yourself with a spiked milkshake. They swirl rum into the pineapple coconut shake and bourbon into the vanilla caramel. If booze plus ice cream sounds too Dionysian, opt for a regular dark chocolate or cola shake, with real whipped cream on top, please.
Bobby’s Burger Palace, 3925 Walnut Street, 215-387-0378

Charlie’s Hamburgers
Charlie’s is the kind of shack where the burgers come wrapped in wax paper and the no-fuss Black and White milkshakes — made with Bassetts Ice Cream — are thick, creamy, and harmonious.
Charlie’s Hamburgers, 336 Kedron Avenue, Folsom, 610-461-4228

Franklin Fountain
The Franklin Fountain’s delightfully antiquated, bow-tie-and-suspenders-wearing soda jerks serve an authentic menu of shakes, egg creams, and ice cream sodas. The root beer float — made with their own spicy root beer and a scoop of creamy vanilla bean — is smooth and frosty; the shakes are lip-bruisingly thick.
Franklin Fountain, 116 Market Street, 215-627-1899

Nifty Fifty’s
Our Best of Philly 2009 Milkshake winner, Nifty Fifty’s spins thick, creamy, classic milkshakes and malts. Their flavors run the gamut from traditional vanilla to “exotic” fluffernutter, with classic ice cream soda-esque renderings like cherry bomb in between.
Nifty Fifty’s, 2491 Grant Avenue, 215-676-1950

Along with their Adult Root Beer Float, this NoLibs joint serves Adultshakes, like the Jack Rabbit Slim (vanilla or chocolate ice cream blended with Maker’s Mark) and the Jon Valdez (homemade espresso ice cream with Kahlua and Patron XO).
P.Y.T., 1001 North 2nd Street, 215-268-7825

Owned and operated by Philadelphia’s golden boy, Stephen Starr, this glorified shed serves what may be the quintessential Philly dessert – the Cake Shake. They blend TastyKakes with vanilla ice cream into a treat that would make any cardiologist cringe.
SquareBurger, Franklin Square, 200 North 6th Street

The Trolley Car Diner and Ice Cream Shoppe
Diners and milkshakes are a classic combination, and this diner-ice-cream-stand is just about as kitschy and old-fashioned as you can get. The Ice Cream Shoppe literally operates out of a revamped green PCC trolley car circa 1948, and they churn out classic shakes and root beer floats. Head to the diner if you want a burger and fries too.
The Trolley Car Diner, 7619 Germantown Avenue, 215-753-1500