Mixology Wine Institute's oenophilic classes teach aspiring mixologists and mixonomists how to craft a diverse roster of libations while regaling students with the rich history and social function of the cocktail. The seasoned staff—which includes a resident sommelier and beer experts—dispense thoughtful nuggets of drink-dispensing wisdom, such as ways to add flair to a bartending routine, various wine-and-food pairings, and how to win a cocktail-sword duel. Each session takes place in the institute's well-equipped classroom, which simulates a real bar setting with working soda guns, sinks, and a full catalog of liquors. Pupils leave classes with the knowledge necessary to help bargoers make informed drink decisions.
"There are no strangers here—just friends you have yet to meet,” so reads the motto painted on the parchment-colored walls of Maggie O'Neill's foyer. The pub aims to live up to this neighborly ethos by offering up an inviting hangout space with three stories. In the top-floor bar area, you can sip on a draft beer, play shuffleboard, or catch a basketball game on TV. The downstairs dining area has table draped in linens, and you can head here to enjoy beer-battered fish and chips and golden-brown shepherd’s pie.
Maggie O’Neill’s décor is an homage to Ireland: there’s a hand-painted Guinness ad on the building's exterior, and the bartop is made of dark varnished wood. Along the walls inside, you might notice the Poet's Corner, which is dedicated to famous Irish authors. It has impassioned musings on art from James Joyce, witty nuggets of wisdom from Jonathan Swift, and Brendan Behan’s rhymed shopping lists.
The Mann Center is a prepossessing structure from anywhere you sit in the semi-covered amphitheater—all huge, rough slabs of timber that evoke the setting for a barn dance held by elegant giants. Even the lawn section isn’t an ordinary lawn: from the top of the steep hill where the theater perches, audiences can see not only the performers lighting up the stage below but also the canopy of trees in surrounding Fairmount Park and the city skyline just beyond.
Ever since its first location opened in 1994, very rarely is there a quiet moment at J.D. McGillicuddy's. Crowds watching the Phillies cheer and groan in unison, and members of bachelorette parties dance around groups of old friends meeting for a drink. The only time the noise dips is when the staff brings out plates of the house's flavorful pub food. Wings, burgers, pizzas, and nachos fill the menu, with East Coast twists such as Old Bay seasoning and jumbo lump crabmeat. Each spacious location has also been known to host special events, from DJ-spun theme nights and pub crawls to Easter breakfasts.
The Adobe Cafe's chefs find a way to accommodate nearly every diner without sacrificing the piquant flavors and aromas attributed to southwestern cuisine. They skillet-sear filet mignon and marinate chicken breasts and duck before tossing the seasoned meat with black beans, sautéed green peppers, and white onions for fajitas. But they also alter their traditional Mexican-inspired fare by substituting ground beef, chorizo, flank steak, and carnitas with seitan and tofu for vegetarians or meat eaters' pet goats. The chefs' use of ranchero sauce, roasted peppers, jerk seasoning, and even barbecue has earned the eatery a number of awards; The Adobe Cafe was recently named Best Southwestern Restaurant in Philadelphia by LocalEats.
It can be difficult to tear your gaze from Tavola Restaurant & Bar's dining-room windows, which overlook the lush rolling hills, majestic pines, and rustic gazebo of the surrounding country club. But soon, an enticing aroma compels your nose to turn toward the kitchen. Inside, chefs bustle about, folding fresh herbs, aromatic sauces, and crisp vegetables into a variety of Italian specialties—including the buttery shrimp scampi lauded by reporters from CBS Philly. A nearby brick oven melts mozzarella cheese onto gourmet pizzas.
The elegant dining room hosts diners swirling strings of pasta beside chandelier-illuminated oil paintings, and the cushy white sofas of the bar area support guests sipping Italian and American wines. Those seeking the best views venture to the outdoor patio, where they can watch seasoned golfers play on Springfield Country Club’s course or make sand angels in the sand traps.