Where We’re Drinking This Weekend: Keeping It Local

Plus Brazilian cocktails, whiskey-drinking and Philly Craft Spirits Week events

Chima’s new cocktail (Gaucha) by Hop Sing’s Lê

This weekend? It’s all about the drinkers. Last night was Whiskey Fest. Tonight, Philly Craft Spirits Week kicks off with dozens of events scattered around the city and suburbs, then continues on throughout next week with a block party at Stateside’s distillery in Kensington, a big cocktail contest at Philadelphia Distilling, a Halloween party at Frank Bradley’s and more. Plus, we’ve got Le from Hop Sing Laundromat consulting on cocktails in an unlikely location, a great whiskey bar, and even a little something for the vegans.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Philly Craft Spirits Week

Obviously, the PCSW events are the big draw this weekend. There’s eight different events happening tonight (everything from a Bluecoat gin cocktail night at Teresa’s in Wayne to a dessert and liquor pairing at the Library Bar with Bluebird Distillery), but tomorrow brings the next big group event–a full-on block party at Stateside with samples from the local distillers, music, food trucks, the works. Tickets are available online or at the door.

And if you can’t make that one (or just want another way to support your friends, neighbors and local bartenders by day-drinking), Sunday brings the PCSW Cocktail Competition to Philadelphia Distilling’s Fishtown headquarters. 10 bartenders from all over the city will be competing to see who slings the best drinks under the worst possible conditions. Secret ingredients, a countdown clock, surprise twistsm — we’ll be doing what we can to make it challenging. And at the end, one bartender will be named the best in town.

Between Saturday and Sunday there are also a whole bunch of other events happening. New Liberty will be doing brunch cocktails at Johnny Brenda’s. Dad’s Hat will be doing Citywides at Heritage. Or how about making your own gin at Manatawny’s new East Passyunk tasting room? You can check out the Philly Craft Spirits Week website for details on all the events.

Hop Sing Goes Brazilian

You guys know Lê, right? Well think for a minute. Where would be the last place you could imagine the iconoclastic barman consulting on cocktails? If you said Chima, that chain Brazilian steakhouse where they bring you meat on swords, then you win because that’s exactly what he did — designing three cachaca-based drinks for their new menu. As far as I know, this is the only place in Philly he’s ever consulted for, which makes it the only place you can get Hop Sing level cocktails without actually going to Chinatown, waiting in line and going to Hop Sing.

Drinking Green

You know who has a killer happy hour? Vedge. I know it’s not the first place you think of when it comes to cocktails and snacks, but seriously, you should check it out. We’re talking $7 seasonal cocktails from a bar staff that knows how to do vegan cocktails properly. Plus, there are snacks for $6 — which is impressive because during normal hours, Vedge ain’t exactly cheap. Happy hour runs from 5pm-7pm, Monday through Friday so, you know, just leave work now so you’re there on time.

Old Favorites

For as long as I can remember, Fiume has been one of the go-to bars for the Foobooz staff. No sign, no phone, no website — it’s a bar for serious whiskey nerds (that also has a good craft beer list) that just happens to be located above an Ethiopian restaurant (Abyssinia) at 45th and Locust. If you’ve never been, check out this video that’ll give you a perfect feel for the place. And then, you know, just go.