Are you looking for the best bars in Philadelphia? Because visiting Philadelphia can’t JUST be about the history. Yes, we know about the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Ben Franklin, and Betsy Ross’s house – all great spots to check-out at least once in your life. But, don’t sleep on the bar scene in Philadelphia. The “City of Brotherly Love” has some of the best bars in the country. Whether your pub crawling with your friends or looking for a spot to have a drink after a long day of sightseeing, these are our picks for the best bars in Philadelphia …
1. McGillin’s Old Ale House
1310 Drury Street
Philly has a lot to brag about. It’s an old city with lots of firsts – the Declaration of Independence, the first stock exchange, the first mint, the first bank … you get the idea. So, in a city that gave birth to America, it’s only fitting that you visit the OLDEST continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia – McGillin’s. They opened the same year that Lincoln was elected President (1860) and have been slinging beers and celebrating ever since. McGillin’s has three drafts beers made exclusively for them, and they also highlight Pennsylvania microbrews. Don’t worry, you can get a pitcher of Rolling Rock, too! Known for their speciality cocktails, respectable day drinking crowd, and party atmosphere, McGillin’s is a common spot to bring a date. In fact, so many people have met here that the bar keeps a guest book for happy couples who met at McGillin’s making it a must-visit bar in Philadelphia!
2. Monk’s Cafe
264 S. 16th Street
People literally travel from all over the world to have a beer at Monk’s Cafe – named after the fictional diner on “Seinfeld”. Monk’s is the best beer bar in Philly, and it may be one of the best bar in the US – period. Don’t take our word for it. USA Today named it the Best Beer Bar in the US in 2019, and Monk’s consistently ranks in the top 10 of many “best of” lists each year. This place LOVES beer and treats its brews with the utmost respect. They are internationally known for curating some of the best beers in the world, and they take that responsibility seriously. The draft lines are pristine. The pours are always perfect. And, they keep all their beers at the perfect serving temperature.
This Philadelphia bar is most famous for their Belgium-style beers (and food), but their overall beer selection is ridiculous featuring beers from all over the world and right in Philly’s backyard. Monk’s has it all! PS – they also update their website meticulously so you always know what’s on tap. Well done, Monk’s.
3. Dirty Frank’s
347 S. 13th Street
No bar list would be complete without at least one dive bar, and Dirty Frank’s may be the diviest. Hit an ATM before you go because Frank’s is CASH ONLY. The place is a museum of trinkets, and you could spend hours taking in the eclectic decor while sipping your Miller High Life. The place is basic. But, that’s what makes it charming – just cold beer and a cool, neighborhood bar feel. Expect the bathroom to not work. You might see a dog sitting on a bar stool. There may be a line to play Ms. Pac-Man. It’s all good. This place doesn’t pretend to be anything but the best dive bar in Philly.
4. Khyber Pass Pub
56 S. 2nd Street
We need to sneak in a personal favorite and hidden gem. The Khyber is located in Old City, so it’s a perfect oasis from a day of looking at broken bells and old pieces of important paper. Why do we love the Khyber? First, their beer is outstanding and the selection is adventurous and rotating. Ask your bartender to pour you something – you will not be disappointed! Second, this place has amazing Creole / Southern food inspired by New Orleans cuisine. There is literally nothing better in Philly than sipping a beer and eating Khyber’s famous freshly popped bacon grease popcorn. Not a fan of cured meats? Khyber is also known for its extensive vegan and vegetarian menu. Lastly, it’s just a cool place to chill for a bit. Check out the wooden bar – it was repurposed from the Centennial Celebration in 1876. History and beer – the perfect combination!
5. National Mechanics
22 S. 3rd Street
Lastly, we recommend a visit to National Mechanics – a cool, Old City bar/restaurant housed in one of Philly’s oldest banks. They have a great cocktail menu (some served by the pitcher!) including the Bad Hombre Margarita (with jalapenos!) and a unique Negroni-twist called the Strickland. Most importantly, the beers are solid and the food is delicious, but it’s the building and the decor that will keep you entertained while you have a few drinks with your friends.
Looking to explore Philly and mix in a few drinks along the way? Learn about Old City, all the important sites, and visit some of Philly’s best bars with Brews & Clues – a self-guided bar trivia experience. Skip the brew bus or the boring tour guides – Brews & Clues: Philadelphia is a different way to see the sites. Everything’s on your phone – they design your whole day for you. You’ll hit the best spots in Old City and stop for drinks along the way.