Philadelphia Nightlife

Philadelphia residents enjoy a vibrant nightlife, with hundreds of bars and clubs spread over several distinct districts. Whether you’re looking for bright lights and crowded dance floors or a quiet drink with a few friends, you’ll find that Philadelphia has you covered. It may not have a reputation as a city that never sleeps, but as anyone in Old City on a Friday night will tell you, the City of Brotherly Love certainly has its share of drowsy mornings.

Center City offers many upscale restaurants and bars with a classy atmosphere. Mahogany on Walnut is a premier cigar bar featuring premium beers and wines, top-of-the-line cognacs and scotches, and, of course, over 25 fine cigars. A state-of-the-art ventilation system keeps the air fresh throughout the plush lounge, and private humidor lockers are available for true connoisseurs.

For those looking for a more collegiate atmosphere, look no further than Smokey Joe’s, on the edge of the Penn campus in University City. Smoke’s is the quintessential college bar; President Gerald Ford famously referred to it as Penn’s 17th institution of higher learning. And if you’re looking for something even more low-key and academic, try the White Dog Café on Sansom Street, which features local and organic food and microbrews.

If the academic crowd doesn’t appeal to you, then perhaps you’re looking for the eclectic crowds in Northern Liberties. Northern Liberties is a trendy neighborhood with lots of artists and young professionals. The 700 Club, a converted rowhouse at 700 N 2nd Street, features a great bar downstairs and a crowded dance floor upstairs, attracting the hip, young crowd that exemplifies Northern Liberties.

Too cool even for NoLibs? Then try South Street, Philadelphia’s world-famous bohemian district. South Street is known for its great music clubs, hipster and punk fashion, and sex shops. There’s never a bad time to visit South Street, but by far the best South Street experience is the Zombie Pub Crawl, held every Easter Sunday since 2006. Professional makeup artists transform excited patrons into zombies before the festivities begin, although most attendees concoct their own zombie costumes at home; then, beginning at the Tattooed Mom, zombies roam the bars and the streets late into the night.

Of course, zombies and sex shops may be a bit much for some. If you’re looking for a classic nightclub with great DJs and a packed dance floor, head over to Old City. Old City is full of restaurants and bars, especially between 2nd and 3rd Streets. These are the clubs with lines out the door, so bring your lady friends, look ready to party, and keep an eye out for bouncers willing to take a bribe.

And finally, to top off your Philadelphia experience, go down to 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia to choose your side in the most delicious rivalry in the city: Pat’s versus Geno’s. The two stands are across the street from one another, both claim to have invented the cheesesteak, and regardless of whose claim is more valid, both make a very tasty sandwich. They’re both open 24 hours, so head down after last call and finish off your Philadelphia night with a truly appetizing taste test.