Our 2015 “Best of Philly” LGBT and Gayborhood Winners
Every year, our mother publication, Philadelphia magazine, releases a list of hundreds of top picks that we emphatically call our “Best of Philly” winners. Of course, there’s plenty of gay-related selections that we can’t wait to share with our readers.
The list that follows is a non-exhaustive selection of the LGBT champions for 2015. In addition, we also threw in some additional winners that are peppered throughout the Gayborhood (plus several gay-owned businesses). For our full “Best of Philly” list, click here.
Best Gay Night Out: Our Night Out: “The smartest, most in-the-know, impeccably dressed queer professionals make these monthly Delaware Valley Legacy Fund events a permanent fixture on their calendars for one reason: the incredible networking. That they’re held at outside-the-circuit locales like FringeArts and Morgan’s Pier makes them all the more appealing.”
Best Gay Bar: Boxers PHL: “It’s hard to say exactly what the biggest draw is at this new gay sports bar. The cheap drinks? The pool-table action? The big game on the big screen? Oh, who are we kidding? It’s the shirtless bartenders wearing only the namesake uniform.”
Best Small Music Venue: Franky Bradley’s: “There are bars that happen to have music, and then there’s this place, whose whole second floor has been turned into a space for entertainment. On any given night, that might be a touring rock band, your favorite local act, or a Balkan dance party with the West Philadelphia Orchestra.”
Best Piano Bar: Tavern on Camac: “Nobody does a piano bar quite like the gays. And now, thanks to a recent renovation at this Gayborhood standby, there’s even more room for more sing-along fun.”
Best Theater Company, Up-and-Coming: Quintessence Theatre Group: “After just five years, this small repertory company has earned a reputation for creating beautiful adaptations of classic works for the modern stage, like last season’s The Three Musketeers and Alice in Wonderland. In their sixth season, you’ll want to see Romeo and Juliet, Saint Joan and — for the kids — Hansel and Gretel.”
Best Potato Skins: Franky Bradley’s: “Retro is in, but Franky Bradley’s potato skins run circles around yesteryear’s renditions thanks to tender brisket, Cabot cheddar, and zippy horseradish creme fraiche.”
Best Soft-Serve Ice Cream: Big Gay Ice Cream: “It’s all delicious, though the Salty Pimp, with dulce de leche and sea salt, is the one people talk about as they should.”
Best Private Dining: Barbuzzo Upstairs: “In March, the ambitious brains behind this 13th Street favorite debuted a new, absolutely beautiful private dining space on the second floor that holds up to 65 seated and 100 standing. This ain’t your average banquet space: There’s a vintage piano, an open kitchen (including a chef’s counter), which chef Marcie Turney uses as her test kitchen when the room isn’t booked, and they’ll customize your menu to include dishes from any of their restaurants, so you can get carnitas from Lolita, charcuterie from Jamonera, meatballs from Little Nonna’s, and, of course, the ever- popular salted caramel budino from downstairs.”
Best Happy Hour, Wine: Nomad Roman Pizza: “Looking for an early bite and drink before the theater? The Midtown Village Nomad Roman has an amazing happy-hour deal: Get a glass of wine and an excellent 10-inch pizza for $10. If you prefer your snack post-show, the same deal applies Friday and Saturday nights after 10 p.m.”
Best Citywide Special: Petruce et al.: “The Citywide Special, a shot of cheap whiskey and a PBR, goes up-market at Petruce, where it’s transformed into a shot of Angel’s Envy and a bottle of barleywine. If you survive that, explore the rest of the smart cocktail list.”
Best New Beauty Empire: Duross & Langel: “These independent soap purveyors already had us as head-to-toe customers with their own line of hair and skin-care products. Now, with the addition of a salon and a yoga studio (on the second and third floors above the original store), they’re keeping our cuts fresh and our muscles toned, too.”
Best Furniture: Cella Luxuria: “As furniture shopping becomes increasingly big-box and catalog-focused, this growing local shop delivers exactly what we want: options. The Chestnut Street flagship has soft leather sofas and industrial-cool accent pieces; the next-door sister store is dedicated to mid-century modern, and the newest Queen Village annex has all the same great brands, plus more of those home-making accessories.”
Best Flea Market: Franklin Flea: “Heavy on the vintage homewares (chairs, retro decor and antique table toppers), light on smelly “treasures.” Expect a well-curated, easily maneuverable seasonal marketplace punctuated by gourmet food trucks and a smattering of handmade goods (like pastel ukuleles).”