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An image of a pink espresso machine behind a counter at a coffee shop, with a woman barista walking behind it.
Menagerie Coffee
Ryan Strand Greenberg

The Essential Queer-Owned Bars, Restaurants, and Cafes in Philly

With a deep-rooted queer community, Philly is full of queer-owned businesses that serve excellent cocktails, filling brunch, and perfect tacos. Here are some essential destinations to try.

In such a varied and diverse city, it’s no surprise that Philly is home to a long-thriving queer community. At a time where bars and restaurants are still struggling, it’s more important than ever to support queer-owned businesses in our community, especially as those that have been forced to close their doors have left neighborhoods without some long-time favorites. Whether you’re looking for a quiet cup of coffee, a killer lunch, or a wild night out, here are the queer-owned Philly mainstays to suit every need.

Winkel

1119 Locust Street, Gayborhood

Owned by JonCarl Lachman, the chef behind the East Passyunk favorite (and sadly soon-to-be-closed) Noord, Winkel is a destination brunch spot in the Gayborhood. Come for the famous Jonnathan bread and Dutch specialties like the herring on rye, and stay for the laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff.

Mission Taqueria

1516 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor, Center City

three round trays with tacos
Mission Taqueria
Neal Santos

Daniel McLaughlin’s vibe-heavy taco joint above another Center City mainstay, Oyster House, is known for its tacos, margaritas, and more recently, its fair work environment. McLaughlin implemented a 20 percent service fee on all checks to pay for health benefits for all workers, as well as a 401(k) matching program, a rare find in most traditional restaurant environments.

Hardena

1754 S Hicks Street, #2217, South Philly

This neighborhood gem in South Philly, run by Diana Widjojo and her sister Maylia, serves up Indonesian comfort food that will bring you back for more again and again. A favorite of carnivores and vegans alike, the menu is all hits and no misses. Do not skimp on any of the homemade sambals or you’ll definitely regret it later.

Cake Life

1306 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown

Cake Life Bake Shop
Carly Fuller

Right off Frankford Avenue in the heart of Fishtown is arguably the best queer-owned bake shop in the city. If you have a sweet tooth (and honestly, even if you don’t), Lily Fischer and Nima Etemadi’s Cake Life is unmissable. The Instagram-worthy cakes and cupcakes are top tier and don’t disappoint in the flavor department either.

Mina’s World

511 S. 52nd Street, West Philly

the interior counter of mina’s world with yellow tiles and white and black tiles that say mina’s world
Mina’s World
Gab Bonghi

A staple of the 52nd Street corridor, Mina’s World is one of the best queer-owned cafes in the area. Owners Sonam Parikh and Kate Egghart stock the shelves with art and accessories from local makers, and snacks include to-die-for samosas and pakoras from another West Philly staple, International Foods and Spices. Try the signature “pink drink,” although you really can’t go wrong with any of the high-quality coffees and teas on the menu.

Burgertime

123 W. Merchant Street, Audubon, NJ

Okay, so Dane DeMarco’s new burger spot, Burgertime, is technically in New Jersey. And not open yet. But that did not stop them from making this list. Catch Chef DeMarco popping up around the city in the meantime with their classic but perfectly executed burgers and, of course, Tater Tots. If you just can’t wait to eat Chef DeMarco’s food, find them at Sunny’s Cocktail Joint and Wine Dive as the countdown till the mid-December opening ticks down.

Menagerie Coffee

18 S. 3rd Street, Old City

Menagerie Coffee
Ryan Strand Greenberg

An Old City favorite, April Nett’s Menagerie Coffee is a cozy cafe serving up Elixr coffee (in the absolute cutest cups) and an array of pastries and small bites. The soda bread is the unsung hero in the pastry case; pair it with a cup of tea from the wide tea selection.

Bike Stop

206 Quince Street, Center City

Philly’s oldest gay bar has been an icon for the leather community since 1982 and is home to the Mx. Philadelphia Leather contest. Now, not just a leather bar, Robert Porter welcomes all with four levels, including dancing, sports viewing, and often events and fundraisers.

Oyster House

1516 Sansom Street, Center City

Oyster House

Now at the helm of a fixture of Philly’s restaurant scene for the last 40 years, Sam Mink took over the family business and continued the legacy of fresh seafood in Center City. Fresh oysters are obviously the move here, complemented by the thoughtful cocktails and wide array of wines and beers.

Darnel’s Cakes

444 N. 3rd Street Lobby, Northern Liberties

Darnel’s Cakes

Kyle Cuffie-Scott and Joe Loupe bake and sell giant brownies as well as breakfast, brunch, and lunch specialties like buttery biscuits and drool-worthy baked mac and cheese in Northern Liberties. And while being a one-stop-shop for some of the best baked goods and breakfast in the area is enough to make a community staple, Cuffie-Scott and Loupe didn’t stop there. The mission for Darnel’s is to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and support organizations that are working to fight the virus, so you know your money is going to a worthy cause in the community.

Mission Taqueria

1516 Sansom Street, , PA 19102 (215) 383-1200 Visit Website

Oyster House

1516 Sansom Street, , PA 19102 (215) 567-7683 Visit Website

Cake Life

1306 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Time

1315 Sansom Street, , PA 19107 (215) 985-4800 Visit Website

Will

1911 East Passyunk , Philadelphia, PA 19148

Wine Dive

1506 South Street, , PA 19146

Winkel

1119 Locust Street, , PA 19107 (267) 639-3453 Visit Website

Noord

1046 Tasker Street, , PA 19148 (267) 909-9704 Visit Website

Menagerie Coffee

18 South 3rd Street, , PA 19106 Visit Website

Community

1200 South 21st Street, , PA 19146 (267) 319-1027 Visit Website

Helm

1303 North 5th Street, , PA 19122 (215) 309-2211 Visit Website

1516 Sansom St

1516 Sansom Street, , PA 19102

Hardena

1754 South Hicks Street, , PA 19145 (215) 271-9442 Visit Website

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