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Philadelphia's LGBT Nightlife Scene Buzzes Evening Through Late-Night At Center City Bars, Restaurants & Nightclubs
A Guide To Where To Eat, Drink & Party In Philadelphia’s Gayborhood & Beyond
LGBT revelers of every stripe meet their nightlife matches among the buzz-worthy bars, restaurants and nightclubs in and beyond Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. After dark, partying patrons enjoy laid-back vibes and stiff cocktails at watering holes Knock and U Bar, at the well-rounded club scenes of Woody’s and Voyeur and at bar-nightclub hybrids—venues with bars on the first floors and dancing on the second—Franky Bradley’s and Tavern on Camac. Then, there’s the late-night food scene, featuring stylish go-tos like Bud & Marilyn’s and Zavino along the restaurant row that is 13th Street, plus quick noshes in the wee hours.
Here’s a lineup of Philly LGBT hotspots that get even hotter as the night gets later:
Bars & Nightclubs:
- Bob & Barbara’s is one of Philly’s most legendary dive bars. It’s not gay, per say, but it is home to the city’s longest-running drag show, which takes place every Thursday night. Patrons seeking the authentic B & B’s experience should order a signature $3 “citywide”—a shot of Jim Beam with a Pabst Blue Ribbon chaser. 1509 South Street, (215) 545-4511, bobandbarbaras.com
- Shirtless mixologists man the well-stocked bar at Boxers PHL, known for its craft beer and ample spirits. This popular destination for sports fans features plentiful plasma TVs and a second-floor pool table. For those looking for a quick bite, the bar’s brick oven cranks out pizzas with funny names like “Get Lei’d” and “The Italian Stallion.” 1330 Walnut Street, (215) 735-2977, boxersphl.com
- Franky Bradley’s breathes new life into former lesbian bar Sisters, which inhabited these digs for 17 years. Bar owners keep the spirit alive with kitschy art from the original location and bawdy drag and burlesque performances upstairs. The downstairs dining room and bar offer a more low-key experience with beer and cocktails and full menu of American fare, including must-have smoked chicken wings. 1320 Chancellor Street, (215) 735-0735, frankybradleys.com
- Gay baby boomers congregate around the bright bar at Knock for conversation and cocktails. Guests in the adjoining dining room are treated to piano tunes and a menu of new American fare. During warmer months, patrons populate tables outside for weekend brunch—and some of the best people watching in the Gayborhood. 25 S. 12th Street, (215) 925-1166, knockphilly.com
- L’Etage offers an LGBT-friendly atmosphere atop French creperie Beau Monde in the picturesque Bella Vista neighborhood. The bar is known for its craft cocktails and serves small plates and crepes from an abbreviated version of Beau Monde’s menu. On weekends, L’Etage fills up for DJ dance parties and occasional queer entertainment, including the monthly Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, a must-see for drag connoisseurs. 624 S. 6th Street, (215) 592-0656, creperie-beaumonde.com
- Center City’s only LGBT bar outside the Gayborhood, Stir manages to be both sleek and laid back. On a quaint side street near Rittenhouse Square, the brick-walled bar hosts Stirsdays, a jam-packed Thursday night party featuring $1 drinks and DJs spinning tunes until 2 a.m. 1705 Chancellor Street, (215) 732-2700, stirphilly.com
- A dual personality venue, Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar has sports-tuned TVs and classic pub fare—quesadillas, pulled pork sliders and tater tots—downstairs and nightly live entertainment and dancing upstairs. Tabu also offers what might be Philly’s most popular lesbian parties, Back 2 Basics, every second Saturday of the month. 200 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675, tabuphilly.com
- Tucked-away Tavern on Camac is the Gayborhood’s three-in-one special. It boasts a handsome first-floor piano bar, a haven for songbirds who gather nightly for show-tune sing-alongs; an upstairs Ascension Lounge for dancing on Friday and Saturday nights; and a basement-level restaurant featuring upscale American fare that’s available until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 243 S. Camac Street, (215) 545-0900, tavernoncamac.com
● As the Gayborhood’s most Cheers-like locale, U Bar serves as a no-nonsense drinkers’ refuge, where the only entertainment is a glowing jukebox at the end of the bar. 1220 Locust Street, (215) 546-6660, ubarphilly.com
- After 2 a.m., club kids with energy to spare seek out after-hours Voyeur. The 15,000-square-foot, tri-level complex offers multiple bars and three dance floors illuminated by stunning light shows and thumping with tunes from local and international DJs. 1221 St. James Street, (215) 735-5772, voyeurnightclub.com
- Woody’s is Philadelphia’s best-known gay bar—with one of the busiest weekend scenes. Gents squeeze in on Friday and Saturday nights to dance and mingle in a sea of tank tops and muscle shirts. The upstairs dance floor comes with disco balls, strobe lights and Top 40 tunes blaring from the DJ booth. Downstairs, patrons revolve around the central bar for beer, cocktails and heavy flirting. 202 S. 13th Street, (215) 545-1893, woodysbar.com
Dining & Drinking Until Midnight:
- One of 13th Street’s busiest bistros, Mediterranean Barbuzzo rolls out a low-priced late-night menu of signature burgers, wood-fired pizzas, draught beers, house-made sangria and wine every Sunday to Thursday from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. On weekends, chef Marcie Turney and partner Valerie Safron’s restaurant serves a full menu until midnight. 110 S. 13th Street, (215) 546-9300, barbuzzo.com
- On Friday and Saturday nights, the bar at retro-American joint Bud & Marilyn’s stays open until midnight for locally brewed Bud’s Best Pale Ale, the house take on Bob & Barbara’s “citywide” and a night owl menu of crispy cheese curds, pierogi platters and a double-patty burger. 1234 Locust Street, (215) 546-2220, budandmarilyns.com
- Atmospheric hideaway Double Knot stays open on Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and 1 a.m., when the bar serves beer, wine by the glass and revivifying cocktails that include a handful of coffee-infused concoctions. Edamame dumplings, a selection of sushi rolls and pork bao buns from the kitchen here and from neighboring Sampan are available until midnight. 120 S. 13th Street, (215) 631-3868, doubleknotphilly.com
- The crowd is lively and guacamole bowls overflow at flashy corner spot El Vez. Cali-Mex dishes (heaping nachos, mahi-mahi tacos), plus nine margaritas (classic to smoky mescal) are on offer until midnight Fridays and Saturdays. 121 S. 13th Street, (215) 928-9800, elvezrestaurant.com
- Philadelphia meets the East Village at colorful Graffiti Bar, a snug outdoor hangout serving sake flights, bottled beers and Pan-Asian satay, dumplings and pork buns until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. 124 S. 13th Street, (215) 732-3501, sampanphilly.com
- A low-lit, rustic vibe welcomes patrons to Lolita, a contemporary Mexican restaurant that serves tostadas, tacos and a handful of heftier entrees until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Best-loved beverages here: margaritas by the glass or pitcher, tequila flights and red and white sangrias. 106 S. 13th Street, (215) 546-7100, lolitaphilly.com
- Just a short walk from the Gayborhood, Mixto buzzes with young, energetic crowds who pile in for Latino cuisine and mojitos. The latter come in 20 flavors that range from traditional to jalapeño, coconut or basil-infused. Food and drink are available until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. 1141 Pine Street, (215) 592-0363, mixtorestaurante.com
- The aroma of oven-fired pie lures early club-goers to Nomad Roman, an intimate pizzeria steps from most Gayborhood bars. The focus here is local, organic ingredients that play out on a menu of salads, vegetarian small plates and a dozen varieties of pizzas. Wine, beer and a limited array of spirits are available too. Nomad closes at midnight, but the last seating is at 11:45 p.m. 1305 Locust Street, (215) 644-9287, nomadpizzaco.com
- Open until midnight every night of the week, trendy Tredici Enoteca serves small plates and seafood dishes with a Mediterranean flare. The bar is extensive, with a standout wine list and a selection of classic and specialty cocktails and beer. 114 S. 13th Street, (267) 928-2092, tredicienoteca.com
Dining & Drinking After Midnight:
- Charlie was a sinner holds sway as the neighborhood’s vegan specialist. Menu standouts include avocado toast, artichoke frites and potato croquettes, while the cocktail list is both classic and adventurous—how about a wheatgrass shot mixed with green chartreuse liqueur? The bar is open until 2 a.m. every night, with food served until 1 a.m. 31 S. 13th Street, (267) 758-5372, charliewasasinner.com
- Pennsylvania 6 stays hopping every night of the week until 2 a.m. The menu of contemporary American cuisine is punctuated by the restaurant’s specialty, an extensive raw bar stocked with fresh East and West Coast oysters. Friendly bartenders shake up inventive cocktails. 114 S. 12th Street, (267) 639-5606, pennsylvania6philly.com
- Mai Tais, daiquiris and zombies adorned with little umbrellas—along with shrimp dumplings and pork bao—are the specialties of Tiki, which brings Polynesian vibes to the Gayborhood until 2 a.m. nightly. 102 S. 13th Street, (215) 309-3435, tikiphilly.com
- Mediterranean- and Latin American-inspired tapas flow from the kitchen until 1 a.m. at Valanni, an attractive neighborhood spot one block from the Avenue of the Arts. The bar serves up craft cocktails, a hefty wine list and selection of beers until 2 a.m. 1229 Spruce Street, (215) 790-9494, valanni.com
- Open until 2 a.m. nightly, Vintage is an oenophile’s dream-come-true. The rustic French bistro pours 60 wines by the glass along with two- and three-glass flight options that allow guests to sample multiple varietals. A late-night menu of small plates (crostini, croquettes) and “fancy-ass cheese fries” is available until midnight Sunday through Thursday and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 129 S. 13th Street, (215) 922-3095, vintage-philadelphia.com
- Artisan pizzas star at Zavino, which sits at a bustling intersection in the heart of the Gayborhood. The menu, available until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, also features a selection of meats and cheeses, tapas-style small plates, small-producer wines, plus beer and fruity drinks. 112 S. 13th Street, (215) 732-2400, zavino.com
- Little Pete’s, a cozy 24-hour diner located near Stir, is the greasy spoon drinkers crave after a night of partying. Regulars cozy up to the center counter or pile into booths for a menu of classic diner fare—everything from omelets and double-decker clubs to hoagies, salads and shakes. The sassy waitresses are just the cherry on the cheesecake. 219 S. 17th Street, (215) 545-5508
- Pizzeria Cappelli took over a late-night joint across the street from Woody’s that was once affectionately referred to as “Gay Pizza.” The name has changed, but the vibe and hours—until 4 a.m.—remain the same, attracting a line of slice seekers before they head home. 209 S. 13th Street, (215) 398-1065, pizzeriacappelli.com
- Fried chicken is the name of the game at Wishbone, which cranks out buckets of the good stuff until 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Think of it as a fancy-pants KFC, with white and dark tenders and wings—all buttermilk battered with a pretzel crust. Sides include biscuits, coleslaw and mac and cheese. 210 S. 13th Street, (215) 921-3204, wishbonephilly.com
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On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
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