TRAVEL: Philly

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Tackle Philly like a local with these bite, beer, music, & museum recommendations.—INGRAIN, Spring 2019

Philadelphia is a city full of great craft beer, food, music, and culture

STORY / Jesse Valenciana

Philly cheesesteak, the staple food of Philadelphia

Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but it’s still got that “locals only” vibe. (So you’d better know how to properly order a

damn cheesesteak!)


When it comes to finding a great drink, Philly reigns supreme. The Founding Fathers of craft brewing in Philadelphia can be found at Yards Brewing Company (500 Spring Garden Street); up-and-comers Crime & Punishment Brewing Company (2711 West Girard Avenue) and Second District Brewing (1939 South Bancroft Street) are also very much worth checking out. Be sure to make the drive to Ardmore, Pennsylvania, to taste the excellent brews at Tired Hands Brewing Company (35 Cricket Terrace). For tasty cocktails back in Philly, the Ranstead Room (2013 Chestnut Street) is hidden in plain sight (you enter either through a barely marked alley door or through the kitchen of El Rey, the restaurant in front of this clandestine gem). To satisfy a rum itch that needs to be scratched, you can get your tiki on at The Upstairs Tiki (112 South 18th Street). It would be a disservice and failure if a beer publication didn’t pay homage to one of the most iconic beer bars in the country, Monk’s Café (264 South 16th Street). Stop in for one beer or ten; they have quite an impressive beer list.

Philadelphia is a city full of great craft beer, food, music, and culture


Toss a quarter in Philly, and you’re bound to hit a cheesesteak spot that claims to be the best in town. (It’s basic bitch and touristy, but you HAVE to have at least one cheesesteak when you’re in Philly.) Get your tourist ass over to Jim’s Steaks (400 South Street) and order a cheesesteak like a local: “wiz wit” for cheese whiz and onions and “wiz witout” for cheese whiz without onions. In this sandwich town, we think the best and most underrated sammie is the roast pork. Tony Luke’s and John’s Roast Pork get the hype (well deserved), but you NEED the “Arista” at Paesano’s Philly Style (148 West Girard Avenue) in Fishtown. Take a crusty sesame roll from Sarcone’s Bakery, fill it with juicy, shredded, whole suckling pig (cooked in-house), broccoli rabe, and Italian long hots, and you have a sandwich that you’ll be dreaming about back home. And find yourself a friend with a membership to the Palizzi Social Club (1408 South 12th Street). The Italian dishes of generations past (served family style) at this century-old institution will take you back in time to your nonna’s house.

Philadelphia is a city full of great craft beer, food, music, and culture


From R&B acts like the Roots to the low-fi, indie hipster rock heroes War on Drugs, Philly has been home to countless great musicians. (Self-promo alert!) Swing by the Goose Island Brew Pub in Fishtown (1002 Canal Street) before you head over to a show at The Fillmore Philadelphia (29 East Allen Street), a huge state-of-the-art music space. The multilevel World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut Street), built in a renovated art deco factory, also houses the radio studio for WXPN. For an intimate weekday show, Johnny Brenda’s (1201 North Frankford Avenue) is your spot, with its hip, low-key bar (good cocktails, late-night bites, and a well-crafted beer menu) and standing-room music venue on the second floor; check out an indie rock band and feel the building s-h-a-k-e.

Philadelphia is a city full of great craft beer, food, music, and culture


You can do the obvious and visit the Liberty Bell, but buyer beware: There’s a crack in it, and you don’t need more than ten minutes to experience it. Instead, why not run up the stone steps leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway) like an out-of-shape Rocky Balboa? (It’s a hoot and a half.) If you do run those stairs, you might as well pop into the actual museum, as it’s quite a sight to behold. For something a bit more, shall we say, interesting, take in the “sights” at The Mütter Museum (19 South 22nd Street). Here you’ll find Einstein’s brain, the tumor that was lodged in President Grover Cleveland’s jaw, and specimens from John Wilkes Booth’s vertebra, among other things you’ll never unsee. Keep the the creepy train going and make your way over to Eastern State Penitentiary (2027 Fairmount Avenue). Notoriously haunted, the prison-turned-museum once housed Al Capone. It’s sure to give you the chills.

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