Where to Celebrate Bastille Day in Philadelphia

Liberté, égalité, fraternité ... and lots of macarons and wine.

bastille day

Celebrate Bastille Day around Philly. / Photograph courtesy of Good King Tavern

Commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison during the Revolution, le quatorze juillet (July 14th) is France’s celebration of independence.

For so long, Bastille Day in Philly was synonymous with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret at Eastern State Penitentiary. John Jarboe, dressed as iconic chanteuse Édith Piaf, would headline a whimsical retelling of the French Revolution, complete with a person dressed as a baguette, Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” rewritten with lyrics about the revolution, and la pièce de résistance: Marie Antoinette ordering hundreds of Tastykakes to rain down from the prison. Nothing will ever fill the Krimpet-sized hole in my heart.

But if the Francophile in you still longs to get your liberté-égalité-fraternité on, here are your best bets around Philly.

Block Party at The Good King Tavern

For the eighth year running, Good King Tavern is shutting down the streets with live music, French street food and drink specials, games, a raffle giveaway and more. The restaurant itself will also be open all day serving some food specials (walk-in dining only).
Pay-as-you-go, July 14th, noon-6 p.m., 614 South 7th Street.


Stop by this Old City French bar and restaurant on July 11th for their monthly French AF dinner inspired by Marseille — think lots of seafood. That five-course $95 dinner may only be available on Thursday, but Forsythia will keep some of its menu features — plus even more seafood selections — throughout the weekend in honor of Bastille Day. French AF Dinner: $95 (plus $65 for optional wine pairing), July 11th; specials continue on a pay-as-you-go basis through July 14th, 233 Chestnut Street.


The Mount Airy restaurant is celebrating Bastille Day early with a limited-time menu from Tuesday, July 9th through Friday, July 12th. The three-course prix-fixe menu includes French favorites like vichyssoise, coq au vin and crème brûlée. Make reservations here. $65, July 9th-12th, 7402 Germantown Avenue.

Alliance Française Party in FDR Park

Bring your own picnic and meet at the Boathouse at FDR Park for a fun, family-friendly afternoon including fun, games (including a “waiter’s race”), and juggling from Andrew’s Big Show. Pre-register online. (Alliance Française will also have a flag raising ceremony at City Hall on Friday, July 12th at 11 a.m.) $10, July 13th, 2-5 p.m., FDR Park, 1500 Pattison Avenue.

Royal Boucherie

For a special early Bastille Day celebration, Royal Boucherie is hosting a cover-free Marie Antoinette-themed drag brunch with Henn House Events. Make your reservation here and enjoy a drag performance, drink specials and brunch. Let them eat pancakes! Then on Bastille Day itself, they’re throwing a party complete with costumes, cake and a Kir Royale fountain. Pay-as-you-go; drag brunch: July 13th, noon, party: July 14th, 5 p.m.-midnight, 52 South 2nd Street.

Bastille Day

Bastille Day celebration at Parc / Photograph courtesy of Parc


Bastille Day is also Parc’s (16th!) birthday, so naturally the French restaurant goes all out with food and drink specials, live music and more. Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society will be performing live jazz throughout the day (noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), and there will be face-painting, balloon art and caricatures in the afternoon. As for food and drink specials? Their adorable ice-cream and macaron cart will be parked on the sidewalk all day, selling treats to restaurant guests and passersby alike till 7 p.m. Inside, they’ll have a Niçoise-style pan bagnat tuna sandwich special. Pay-as-you-go, July 14th, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 225 South 18th Street.

Matines Café

The Parisian cafe in Chestnut Hill is celebrating with live music, food and drink specials, local vendors, a prize wheel and more.
Pay-as-you-go, July 14th, Matines Café, 89 Bethlehem Pike.


The French restaurant on East Passyunk is teaming up with Avenue neighbor Latchkey Records for a special collab happy hour on Bastille Day. Mark Faletti will be at the restaurant spinning vinyl from Latchkey, while the bar will be serving up $10 cocktails and spritzes. They’re also offering a shareable $35 three-course prix-fixe menu including foie gras and escargot. Or opt for the $18 “Le Burger” on a house-made brioche bun. Pay-as-you-go, July 14th, 4:30-8:30 p.m., Townsend, 1623 East Passyunk Avenue.