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Dirty Frank's: a windowless Philly classic.
Dirty Frank's: a windowless Philly classic.
Photo: Dirty Frank's/Facebook

An Incomprehensive Anti-Beer-Garden Guide to Philly

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Dirty Frank's: a windowless Philly classic.
| Photo: Dirty Frank's/Facebook

It's common knowledge by now that Philly has gone completely nuts for beer gardens. They've been completely dominating the conversation this summer: They've popped up on just about every corner, their legal standing has been brought into question, we've been asked to sign petitions to save them, we've been asked to shut up about them, we've been assured they're probably safe for the moment, at least. And plenty of you have been following all of this intently, presumably in between sun-drenched sips of shandy.

But others of you do not care. Some of you have never cared and will never care. So to ensure there is something on this site for you, here are 15 bars where you can just drink while mostly avoiding the sun and entirely avoiding the peer pressure to join in endless rounds of cornhole.

These are just a start: 15 great places that come to mind when we think of the opposite of sunshine, fresh air, elaborately landscaped vistas, and diversionary amusements. OK, they're mostly dive bars, which is what happens when you give preference to places with scant or no windows and then give bonus points if patrons still smoke inside. That said, we intentionally left off a ton of dank, windowless haunts that don't open until the evening, because it's pretty easy to avoid the sun at night.

Got another favorite place you think fits in? Nominate it in the comments, via the tipline, or tell us on Twitter or Facebook. We'll add to the map whichever nominees we see fit to add, based entirely on our own whims and finicky, hard-to-pin-down definitions.

· All Eater Guides [-EPHI-]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Oscar's Tavern

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1524 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 972-9938
Oscar's has a surprisingly large food menu, but we have seen it so rarely - and have had our time with it so tightly restricted by our server when we have seen it - that we suspect they may only have one copy.

2. McGlinchey's

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259 S 15th St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 735-1259
Just watch out if there are any big bar crawls making their way around Center City, because for some reason they always seem to stop here and never seem to have it in them to properly appreciate it.

3. Dirty Frank's

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347 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 732-5010
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Dirty Frank's needs no introduction. Bring cash. (In fact, bring cash to most of these places.)

4. 12 Steps Down

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831 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 238-0379
Although often a little brightly lit for our liking (like, basement rec room rather than basement dungeon?), you're drinking in a basement and you're leaving reeking of smoke whether you partake or not. Done.

5. The Dive Bar

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947 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 465-5505
Can a dive bar be a dive bar if it calls itself The Dive Bar? Seems that way.

6. Bob & Barbara's Cocktail Lounge

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1509 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-4511
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This is the place credited with the creation of the Citywide, so.

7. Doobie's

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2201 Lombard St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 546-0316
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Not really a dive, but a solid (and solidly dim) neighborhood bar — and if you must do something else while you drink, there are board games.

8. The Locust Bar

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235 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 925-2191
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We (and probably you) have been coming here so long it formed our platonic ideal of bars.

9. Locust Rendezvous

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1415 Locust St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 985-1163
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Not to be confused with the entry right above this, the 'Vous is just as crucial. (It also bears the distinction of being categorized on Yelp under both "Dive Bars" and "Salad.")

10. Ray's Happy Birthday Bar

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1200 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 365-1169
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Ray's is one of the more divisive of these spots, but you are guaranteed to get a free shot on your birthday and learn about a couple random celebrity birthdays and get into some interesting conversations, so we're not sure what anyone else finds to hate here.

11. Friendly Lounge

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1039 S 8th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
If nothing else, this is where you camp out when you're waiting for Center City Pretzel to open.

12. Nick's Old Original Roast Beef

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2149 S 20th St
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 463-4114
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Is Nick's a dive bar where you eat gravy fries and roast beef sandwiches, or a sandwich shop where you hole up and drink beer? Why are you so hung up on defining things?

13. Krupa's Tavern

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2701 Brown St
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 765-7769
We do not have a picture of Krupa's. Does anyone have a picture of Krupa's? It's not windowless, exactly, but there are curtains. Watch sports with your neighbors.

14. Bonnie's Capistrano

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1503 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
It's friendly and smoky and there's a vending machine.

15. Les & Doreen's Happy Tap

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1301 E Susquehanna Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
You haven't strayed far from the Johnny Brenda's universe, but you can start drinking so many hours earlier!

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1. Oscar's Tavern

1524 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Oscar's has a surprisingly large food menu, but we have seen it so rarely - and have had our time with it so tightly restricted by our server when we have seen it - that we suspect they may only have one copy.
1524 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

2. McGlinchey's

259 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Just watch out if there are any big bar crawls making their way around Center City, because for some reason they always seem to stop here and never seem to have it in them to properly appreciate it.
259 S 15th St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

3. Dirty Frank's

347 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Dirty Frank's needs no introduction. Bring cash. (In fact, bring cash to most of these places.)
347 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

4. 12 Steps Down

831 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Although often a little brightly lit for our liking (like, basement rec room rather than basement dungeon?), you're drinking in a basement and you're leaving reeking of smoke whether you partake or not. Done.
831 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

5. The Dive Bar

947 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Can a dive bar be a dive bar if it calls itself The Dive Bar? Seems that way.
947 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

6. Bob & Barbara's Cocktail Lounge

1509 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
This is the place credited with the creation of the Citywide, so.
1509 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

7. Doobie's

2201 Lombard St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Not really a dive, but a solid (and solidly dim) neighborhood bar — and if you must do something else while you drink, there are board games.
2201 Lombard St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

8. The Locust Bar

235 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
We (and probably you) have been coming here so long it formed our platonic ideal of bars.
235 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

9. Locust Rendezvous

1415 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Not to be confused with the entry right above this, the 'Vous is just as crucial. (It also bears the distinction of being categorized on Yelp under both "Dive Bars" and "Salad.")
1415 Locust St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

10. Ray's Happy Birthday Bar

1200 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Ray's is one of the more divisive of these spots, but you are guaranteed to get a free shot on your birthday and learn about a couple random celebrity birthdays and get into some interesting conversations, so we're not sure what anyone else finds to hate here.
1200 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

11. Friendly Lounge

1039 S 8th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
If nothing else, this is where you camp out when you're waiting for Center City Pretzel to open.
1039 S 8th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

12. Nick's Old Original Roast Beef

2149 S 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19145
Is Nick's a dive bar where you eat gravy fries and roast beef sandwiches, or a sandwich shop where you hole up and drink beer? Why are you so hung up on defining things?
2149 S 20th St
Philadelphia, PA 19145

13. Krupa's Tavern

2701 Brown St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
We do not have a picture of Krupa's. Does anyone have a picture of Krupa's? It's not windowless, exactly, but there are curtains. Watch sports with your neighbors.
2701 Brown St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

14. Bonnie's Capistrano

1503 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
It's friendly and smoky and there's a vending machine.
1503 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

15. Les & Doreen's Happy Tap

1301 E Susquehanna Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
You haven't strayed far from the Johnny Brenda's universe, but you can start drinking so many hours earlier!
1301 E Susquehanna Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

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