Periodically, cries of "Nevermore!" reverberate through The Raven Lounge, which continually reaches out to local celebs such as NBC 10's John Clark to deliver in-house readings of the classic Poe poem. They are among many famous faces that fill the club, where six area DJs spin the latest jams every week, bands frequently blast out their tunes, and comedians H. Foley and Chris Cotton host open mic comedy every Thursday.
Neon lettering scrawled on the ceilings helps illuminate the two-floor lounge, where projectors and flat-screens showcase sports and, as reported on BBC Two, members of the rock, papers, scissors league compete for a spot in the world championship in Las Vegas. To complement optional bottle service from the fully stocked bar, The Raven Lounge's menu of bar classics includes chicken and vegetable dumplings or hot dogs from a late night menu that starts at 2 a.m.
In 2012, a group of well-connected Philly nightlife entrepreneurs transformed an old Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant in the Spring Garden neighborhood into Union Transfer, and it quickly became one of the most popular music venues in the city. Several nights a week, this mid-size, 1,000-capacity club books generally indie and small-label national touring bands: the garagey Heartless Bastards, retro-soul purveyors Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and the synthy electronic-music trio Chvrches are the types of bands that grace Union Transfer’s stage. Shows are general admission with limited seating available in the upstairs balcony. Most concertgoers stand in the main floor area in front of the stage. During all-ages shows, concertgoers need a wristband to access one of the three bars.
First opened in 1968, the Electric Factory has been hosting rock shows for almost as long Puerto Rico has been a state. After dancing their faces off to headliners from Erykah Badu to the Dropkick Murphys, concertgoers can stop by The Chive Café to recharge with a cheesesteak or an all-beef hotdog on a potato bun, or refill their draft Yuengling at the bar. In summer, the Electric Factory reveals an outdoor location complete with more refreshment booths, vendors, and upgraded food stands.
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.
Father-and-son team Ken and Terry Sweeney founded Sweeney's in 1985 to fortify sports fans and unaffiliated revelers with family hospitality and hearty pub eats. Like visiting foreign dignitaries, wings arrive smothered in one of eight zesty sauces and sampler platters designed for digital delectation bear chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, pizza fingers, and onion rings. Eight Philly-steak sandwiches sport tender slices of beef and chicken alongside oven-warmed jewels such as a roast-chicken grinder stacked with bacon and swiss cheese on crisp garlic toast. A pair of house-made broiled crab cakes steps out on dinner platters with potatoes draped in parsley and the vegetable of the day carved to comment on that day's newspaper headlines.