Beef, jumbo wings, chicken fingers, jalapeño poppers, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, marinara sauce, honey mustard, and melted cheese. Those are some of the items available on The Whiskey Barrel's menu, and somehow, they all fit on the Mother of All Barrels sandwich. The 12-inch behemoth anchors a menu full of similarly hearty, borderline ridiculous sandwiches, burgers, entrees, and jumbo-sized wings that come in a variety of sauces, from whiskey BBQ to garlic-teriyaki and hot & honey.
The food provides fuel for late nights at the pub, which, like the drive-thru window outside every grandma's kitchen, stays open until 2 a.m. six times a week—including for live music performances every Saturday. Beer specials accompany all Flyers hockey games, and happy-hour deals Monday–Friday help nerves unwind after another long, hard day of resisting the urge to burn the dictionary.
With stick-to-your-ribs fare and a wide beer selection – including several dozen microbrew canned beers – The Blind Pig fits the bill for a casual dinner or hearty late-night snack. Menu standouts at this Northern Liberties pub are the piled-high plate of poutine (the cheese curds come from a southeastern Pennsylvania dairy farm) and the Thanksgiving balls, which consist of turkey wrapped inside stuffing and mashed potatoes and then deep fried, served with gravy and cranberry sauce for dipping. Patrons also gravitate toward the lamb sliders and the Cubano sandwich, while copper cylinder pendant lights, distressed-stucco walls, mason jar candle holders and plenty of knickknacks and prints depicting pigs all add up to a rustic-chic atmosphere inside.
With its authentically nostalgic décor, cheap cans of beer and an everybody-knows-your-name feel, Ray's "Happy Birthday" Bar has been one of Philadelphia's favorite dives for more than 75 years. In fact, a free birthday shot, with attached small candle, is a veritable rite of passage for any in-the-know local. This South Philly institution also opens its doors at 7 a.m., six days a week (9 a.m. on Sundays), and allows patrons to smoke inside, among walls littered with old newspaper clippings, mug shots and neon signage. And to keep the crowd entertained, Ray's hosts open mic nights on first and third Tuesdays, karaoke on Fridays and live music on Saturdays. Once last call arrives, hungry patrons can head over to Pat's King of Steaks or Geno's, two local Philly cheesesteak institutions.
A corner gastropub in the warehouse-heavy Spring Garden neighborhood, the Prohibition Taproom has carved out a unique personality for itself. Several sections of the handsome bar jut out to form elongated, teardrop-shaped tables. The beer menu isn’t trying to be exhaustive, just smart and serious, with one beer always poured from a nitro tap to create a creamy texture. The food menu includes a half-dozen or so each of small plates, salads, sandwiches and large plates, and the grilled cheese of the day, the addictive beer-battered green beans and the classic dinner of steak frites are neighborhood favorites. On Sunday evenings it’s BYOV — bring your own vinyl — when a deejay will spin a selection from an LP you’ve supplied, and you’ll get 20% off your bill.
An always-bustling Northern Liberties tavern, Standard Tap, which opened in 1999, was at the forefront of what’s generally called the gastropub revolution, with its warmly lit space, hand-built bar, complete lack of TVs, draft-only beer selection highlighting tri-state breweries and the enticing seasonal menu. The whitewashed brick exterior echoes the craft philosophy, with its faded, custom-painted signs. Find a seat in this multi-room space – the charming second-floor outdoor deck beckons in nice weather – and order popular favorites like mussels and sausage or the duck-confit salad, with its luscious, slow-cooked meat. Chalkboards throughout announce the many daily specials, at times featuring produce from the nearby Greensgrow Farms co-op.
El Cantinflas Bar's menu embodies the traditions of Puerto Rican cuisine, specifically comida criolla. Since 2004, the Northern Liberties eatery has been serving authentic dishes ranging from Mexican-inspired tacos to more traditional meals, including mofongo with fried pork, stuffed plantains with steak and cheese, and quesadillas brimming with steak and shrimp. An array of tropical drinks such as passion-fruit champagne help to wash down bites of the spice-laden, hearty fare. El Cantinflas also entertains its guests with events such as Thursday- and Sunday-night karaoke and live DJ sets on Friday and Saturday nights, which coax diners out of their seats onto the dance floor much like every bride's mother on their daughter's wedding day.