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Top Spots In Philadelphia To Sip a Cocktail in Comfort



Nightlife with a touch of comfort is what you'll experience when you frequent Philadelphia's best city cocktail lounges. These tucked-away places lend themselves to sophisticated evenings out - or comfortable evenings in front of a fireplace with friends, or simply places with a great view or experience about them. Their stylish furnishings and interiors promote conversation and relaxation, and their cocktails, wines, beers and spirits are taken seriously. For a taste of what Philadelphia offers, visit comfortable upscale places like the Ranstead Room, which is known for its top-notch cocktails and comfortable yet sophisticated vibe, or lounge about upstairs of The Franklin for more of a low-budget living-room experience. Hit up Fiume which delivers on drinks with no apologies for its back-to-basics decor and ambiance. Whether you prefer the secretive speakeasy atmosphere or a more casual, bar-and-eatery experience, with these options to serve you, your meet-up just got that much better.


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R2L


Located on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place. Legendary Philly restauranteur Daniel Stern is the force behind R2L, whose menu includes everything from striped sea bass accented by dill and bergamot, veal prepared three ways, and ricotta-stuffed pasta with vegetables to lighter bites like smoked rabbit taquitos, lobster mac-n-cheese, and venison cheesesteaks. If you're not here to dine, the sleek BAR2L is as good a place as any to sip a cocktail and be seen. Happy hour makes this venue affordable and a great choice, as you can easily enjoy views of the city without necessarily trying to sit at a table by the windows. Bring friends and enjoy!

Recommended for Lounges because: Nothing makes a place rocket t the top of your must-go list than a killer view of the city. This place rocks the view.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't go for the food, go for the drinks and the beautiful sights from the windows.

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Located just around the corner from Dock Street Brewpub, this little gem is housed in an industrial garage and serves as a bar and tasting room, as well as a cool little hangout. The seating is sparse with some outdoor seating in warmer weather, and there are small food bites available, but the main focus is on the drinks. Get a cocktail or an IPA and sip them by yourself or with friends. Many cocktails are made with one of the varieties of Dock Street beer, which is an appropriate and interesting touch. Go for the drinks and the interesting upscale, garagey atmosphere.

Recommended for Lounges because: When the brewpub of the same name gets a bit crowded, this little gem around the corner is a nice option for drinks.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't go here for the food, but there are light bites available.

Read more about Dock Street Cannery & Tasting Lounge →


A Bar
Photo courtesy of Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock


This bar was a 2013 addition to the lauded A. Kitchen. It's an understated and sunny wine bar that provides a more spacious space to suck down $1.50 oysters and boutique wines. The wines, poured in 3 or 5 ounce servings, focus on minerally whites and sherries that pair with the seafood and small plates coming out of the kitchen. The interior, designed by New York architect Edward Asfour, combines warm natural woods with clean lines and floor-to-ceiling windows. Not cheap, the experience is instead a deliverance from the ordinary, with cocktails that take matters a step above the mainstream, watered-down, hum-drum usuals. Up your game with a trip to A Bar.

Recommended for Lounges because: With many cocktail bars concentrating on, well, cocktails, it's nice to have one that's a little more focused on wine options.

Sharon's expert tip: Not into wine? With an impressive draft and bottle list, plus a serious nod to whiskey, there's no reason to skip A. Bar.

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Hop Sing Laundromat is a bar. It's not meant for everyone to find it, and it's aim is not to be like every other bar. Come knock at the nondescript front door located in the Chinatown section of the city, and prepare to be judged on your appearance and bar-worthiness. You won't want to come in shorts or flip-flops. Dress like you care. Once inside they make a production of letting you know the rules to stay. Don't talk or use your phone, don't cause a ruckus, don't bring a group of loudmouths, and don't make noise after you leave so that you wake the neighbors. The place is cash-only, and is mighty enjoyable with the benefit of these great rules. Grab a delicious cocktail and settle in.

Recommended for Lounges because: There's nothing that amps up your venue more than being called a "secret" speakeasy with rules to follow. Enjoy upscale cocktails and interesting decor here.

Sharon's expert tip: Come here prepared to abide by the rules - no photos, cash only and don't dress like a slob.

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6
West Philly


This tiny dive bar makes up for its fun lack of fanciness in delicious cocktail choices and a huge variety of beer offerings, as well as a great, laid back atmosphere. Located above an Ethiopian restaurant, it's just as if you're visiting a friend who lives in the upstairs apartment. Walk through the restaurant, head upstairs, and listen to cool live music on some nights, or just chill and enjoy on others. Chairs are mismatched, the decor is funky cluttered, and the vibe is friendly. Feel free to order food from the menu downstairs and the staff will walk it up to you.

Recommended for Lounges because: Not all great cocktail bars are upscale and pretty. Some are grungy and funky and fun, and this place fits the bill nicely.

Sharon's expert tip: There is an art to finding this place, a no-frills attitude once you're there, and a cash-only policy you'd want to remember.

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Heading off to the Library? The Library Bar, that is. This cool nightlife spot is located in the Rittenhouse Hotel, so if you'd like to stop by, enter through the hotel and cozy up to the bar. You'll be able to enjoy a lighted fireplace in the cooler months, and comfortable seating options no matter when you stop on by. Drinks are crafted with care and many great options are available including cocktails, wines and beer. It's an upscale environment, so don't stop by in your car-washing clothing, but treat yourself and your crowd to a nice night out when you're able to. It suits the Rittenhouse area nicely.

Recommended for Lounges because: This cozy, sophisticated, library-themed cocktail lounge serves drinks up in a refined atmosphere complete with finely-appointed leather chairs and a fireplace.

Sharon's expert tip: This bar, although it can be pricey, is great for pre- or post-dinner drinks, so don't hesitate to treat yourself when in the area.

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The Franklin Bar


From the moment you approach the black door of this literally underground establishment, you get the feeling that you're entering the private lair of a 1920s starlet or politician, where alcohol flowed secretly out of sight of enforcement agents. Taking its name from the largest Prohibition-era alcohol ring in the country, The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company is everything you want it to be: hushed, dark, elegant, low-ceilinged, exclusively pricey and captained by some of the most decorated cocktail creators in the business. The narrow space features classic cocktails and modern interpretations thereof, a handful of conversation tables and just enough seating to accommodate people who know people.

Recommended for Lounges because: Whether you're in the mood for a bit upscale or a casual environment, this place has both along with great drinks to boot.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't be offended if you're asked to wait outside until space clears: bouncers only allow in as many people as there are seats.

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Located just off of Rittenhouse Square in a small space that's just enough room to feel cozy and cool, V Street offers up a great little hangout option for those interested in vegetarian eats, as well as those who just want to grab a beverage and catch up with friends. It serves as a great option to it's sister restaurant, Vedge, and excels in small bites and drinks. Everything on the menu is under $15, and perfect for you or your vegan friends to enjoy. Even those who are not vegan might be surprised by the delicious options available. Their sensitivity to food allergies is also a great selling point.

Recommended for Lounges because: This small space boasts itself as a Street Food Bar, and offers an exciting approach to vegetable cooking, as well as drinking and socializing.

Sharon's expert tip: Try one of their natural wines or craft beers to round out your evening.

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Sitting in a quiet little spot on the street of the same name, if you don't know where this place is, you may easily walk right by it. And sometimes that's the point for those not-in-the-know. Regulars have scoped it out and appreciate the dark, cozy room for what it's good at: great cocktails and an atmosphere and decor remnant of days gone by. Don't mind the art (nude women paintings), just chalk them up to adding to the ambiance. Drinks are seasonal and have cute names, or the bartender can whip you up a creation of your choice. Seating is limited but enjoyment isn't so make your way over to this great little speakeasy lounge.

Recommended for Lounges because: With its red walls adorned with loud wallpaper, leather booth seating, nude art and great cocktails, how could you go wrong here?

Sharon's expert tip: Leave yourself some time in case there's no seating here. They only allow a certain number of guests into the room at a time.

Read more about Ranstead Room →




More like a parlour or the living room in a slightly eccentric rich person's house, 1 Tippling Place is the bar you wish your grandparents had in their basement. This isn't to say that it's stuffy. Au contraire. Bartenders here mix up some of the most innovative, fresh and labor-intensive cocktails in the city, and if you're not in the mood to sip quietly on a plush banquette, you can sit in the intimate � and more traditional-looking �" bar area with all the other youngsters. Take stock in the fact that this venue serves up some of the finest cocktails in the city, too.

Recommended for Lounges because: One of the more interesting things about this lounge is the emphasis on seasonal cocktails meant to be enjoyed inter parlor-like setting.

Sharon's expert tip: With the entrance tucked into the side of a wall and with nary a sign to identify it, 1 Tippling can best be located by looking straight across Chestnut Street from the El Rey restaurant.

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