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The Eater Philly Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Now

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Thanks to the Eater 38 and the Eater Heatmap, it's simple to find out where to eat right now, whether it's a hot newcomer or an old neighborhood standby. Now, in honor of Cocktail Week 2014, we're making it just as easy to figure out where to drink.

Introducing Eater Philly's Cocktail Heatmap, your guide to the hottest drinking dens and restaurant bars of the moment. Rather than feature the perennial favorites, this list focuses on operations that have opened in the last year. Happy drinking, and as always, feel free to write in with new suggestions.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. V Street

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126 S. 19th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 278-7943
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It's official: After a few days of soft-opening without a liquor license, all the necessary paperwork has come through and the bar is fully open at V Street, the new street food bar from the owners of Vedge. While we think you'd be crazy to miss the bold, street-food-inspired, totally vegan food, the cocktails here can surely stand on their own. There are subtle twists on classics (the Last Flight From Munich, for example, is an interpretation of a Blood and Sand, with warming spices for a perfect cool-weather drink) and more whimsical creations, like the popcorn-garnished Lima Mist and the eye-searingly yellow Colonel Mustard in the Library With a Dagger. As with the beer and wine lists, cocktails here are designed to suit the food, and are not highly boozy.

2. Abe Fisher

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1623 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 867-0088
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With ingredients like barrel-aged Manischewitz and dill-pickle and beet juices, the eclectic Jewish deli theme of Abe Fisher carries through to its cocktail list, though the results are hardly gimmicky. Drinks here are thoughtful and executed deftly enough that even hefty, smoke-intensive combos like the Bonfire and Blood & Smoke manage to complement the food. All cocktails are $12 normally, but if you drop by the bar during happy hour (from 5 to 6 p.m., seven days a week), you can sample them for just $7 apiece.

3. Bardot

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447 Poplar Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(267) 639-4761
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At this new spot from the owner of the Pub on Passyunk East, the cocktails carry names inspired by French cinema, even if their contents sometimes draw from elsewhere — yes, there's a decent amount of Lillet and absinthe to be found, but the Pierrot le Fou combines tequila, mezcal, and ginger beer. And while brunch cocktails feel like an afterthought at so many places, the mimosas and bloodies here are offered alongside a welcome bounty of variations on the classic kir. In addition to the standard model (creme de cassis with white wine), you can opt for a royale (made with bubbly), a communard (made with red wine), or a few other takes. (We'd be willing to bet they'd even make you a kir-beer if you asked nicely enough.) [Photo: Matt Faisetty]

4. The Yachtsman

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1444 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(267) 251-3234
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In a town long-deprived of any of the kitschy, goofy joys of tiki, Tommy Up's new Fishtown bar has undoubtedly filled a niche. But among all the frenetic decor, say the critics, are some masterful drinks, courtesy of the gifted Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal. Craig LaBan has praised the mai tai, while City Paper's Adam Erace found so much to love he even considered the viability of banana daiquiris for breakfast.

5. Lolita

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106 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 546-7100
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Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran's baby, Lolita, got a top-to-tail makeover for its tenth birthday, yielding a truly bar-centric concept for the long-time BYOT spot. The street food-inspired menu is more drinking-friendly, late-night happy hours (featuring different versions of "sixth pan punch") keep the energy up, and the tequila selection is no joke. There are lots of variations on the margarita, of course (try the cucumber-jalapeno), but don't be afraid to break out - there's a nice version of a michelada, and the tamarind sour is a must-try for bourbon drinkers. [Photo: Jason Varney]

6. Charlie Was A Sinner

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131 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 758-5372
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Two vegan cocktail bars on this brief list? What can we say, it's been a huge year for the stylish, cruelty-free set. Fresh off a two-bell review from Craig LaBan, Charlie has undoubtedly made itself part of the cocktail conversation in Philly. While the appeal of eating spaghetti and "meat"balls at a fancy bar may be lost on some, the cocktails here are serious, and there's lots to explore. Fresh fruits and veggies are featured throughout, as well as sophisticated infusions of tea and tobacco. (The not-so-serious set will appreciate the chartreuse-spiked wheatgrass shot, which reads as one bright spot of knowing levity in a setting that even admiring LaBan called "pretentious" more than once.)

7. Society Hill Society

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400 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 273-1434
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The bar may be the number-one draw at this Headhouse Square haunt (a replacement for the Artful Dodger), though the food more than holds its own. With a back bar meticulously designed to look haphazard in a comforting, homey way (bottles and glassware aren't fastidiously displayed so much as tucked into nooks and mismatched cabinets) and a ambiance that feels historic because it is, it's just an awfully nice place to drink. The drink menu runs classic, with a number of fresh upgrades and serious bartending skill throughout. And if you're tired of being offered juice diluted with bubbly at brunch, this is your spot — they don't shy away from offering boozier options before noon.

8. Bar Volvér

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300 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 670-2303
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While the tasting-menu-only fine dining arm of Volver has struggled to connect with Philly diners, the more relaxed bar has had far more fans from the start. Cocktails are fairly priced at $12 apiece, and feature some unexpected and seasonal flavors. (Look for sugar snap peas in the spring, calvados and cloves in the fall; the popular Truffle Rush has been a year-round staple so far.) To go with your drinks, you can graze on caviar, a variety of tartares, and a slew of worthwhile small bites both savory and sweet. There are happy hour deals from 5 to 7:30 p.m.on Wednesdays — $8 cocktails and some additional price breaks on food.

9. The Fat Ham

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3131 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 735-1913
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With a whiskey list that now runs more than 150-deep, you could explore the bar here for years without even venturing into mixers. (And yes, if you're wondering, they do offer flights to get you started.) But the Sbraga team knows its cocktails, so go ahead and soak in some of their creativity — on the list here are a few barrel-aged classics, punch on tap, and much more. Or give them even more free rein — this is a bar that really comes through with fun and artful answers to "surprise me!" requests.

10. Petruce et al

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1121 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 225-8232
Visit Website
From wine to cocktails to serious ciders, Petruce is an all-around star — the bar program here is both quirky and extremely smart. On the cocktail tip, this is where to get your dose of foams, shrubs, and weird bitters without a side of pretension. The Man-Manhattan may be the de facto signature drink, and in general there's a lot to love here for champions of the boozy, vegetal, bitter, and smoky, but they do just as well with lighter and fruitier options. (Seriously, though, hit the wines and ciders, too.)

1. V Street

126 S. 19th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
It's official: After a few days of soft-opening without a liquor license, all the necessary paperwork has come through and the bar is fully open at V Street, the new street food bar from the owners of Vedge. While we think you'd be crazy to miss the bold, street-food-inspired, totally vegan food, the cocktails here can surely stand on their own. There are subtle twists on classics (the Last Flight From Munich, for example, is an interpretation of a Blood and Sand, with warming spices for a perfect cool-weather drink) and more whimsical creations, like the popcorn-garnished Lima Mist and the eye-searingly yellow Colonel Mustard in the Library With a Dagger. As with the beer and wine lists, cocktails here are designed to suit the food, and are not highly boozy.
126 S. 19th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

2. Abe Fisher

1623 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
With ingredients like barrel-aged Manischewitz and dill-pickle and beet juices, the eclectic Jewish deli theme of Abe Fisher carries through to its cocktail list, though the results are hardly gimmicky. Drinks here are thoughtful and executed deftly enough that even hefty, smoke-intensive combos like the Bonfire and Blood & Smoke manage to complement the food. All cocktails are $12 normally, but if you drop by the bar during happy hour (from 5 to 6 p.m., seven days a week), you can sample them for just $7 apiece.
1623 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

3. Bardot

447 Poplar Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
At this new spot from the owner of the Pub on Passyunk East, the cocktails carry names inspired by French cinema, even if their contents sometimes draw from elsewhere — yes, there's a decent amount of Lillet and absinthe to be found, but the Pierrot le Fou combines tequila, mezcal, and ginger beer. And while brunch cocktails feel like an afterthought at so many places, the mimosas and bloodies here are offered alongside a welcome bounty of variations on the classic kir. In addition to the standard model (creme de cassis with white wine), you can opt for a royale (made with bubbly), a communard (made with red wine), or a few other takes. (We'd be willing to bet they'd even make you a kir-beer if you asked nicely enough.) [Photo: Matt Faisetty]
447 Poplar Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123

4. The Yachtsman

1444 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
In a town long-deprived of any of the kitschy, goofy joys of tiki, Tommy Up's new Fishtown bar has undoubtedly filled a niche. But among all the frenetic decor, say the critics, are some masterful drinks, courtesy of the gifted Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal. Craig LaBan has praised the mai tai, while City Paper's Adam Erace found so much to love he even considered the viability of banana daiquiris for breakfast.
1444 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

5. Lolita

106 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran's baby, Lolita, got a top-to-tail makeover for its tenth birthday, yielding a truly bar-centric concept for the long-time BYOT spot. The street food-inspired menu is more drinking-friendly, late-night happy hours (featuring different versions of "sixth pan punch") keep the energy up, and the tequila selection is no joke. There are lots of variations on the margarita, of course (try the cucumber-jalapeno), but don't be afraid to break out - there's a nice version of a michelada, and the tamarind sour is a must-try for bourbon drinkers. [Photo: Jason Varney]
106 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

6. Charlie Was A Sinner

131 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Two vegan cocktail bars on this brief list? What can we say, it's been a huge year for the stylish, cruelty-free set. Fresh off a two-bell review from Craig LaBan, Charlie has undoubtedly made itself part of the cocktail conversation in Philly. While the appeal of eating spaghetti and "meat"balls at a fancy bar may be lost on some, the cocktails here are serious, and there's lots to explore. Fresh fruits and veggies are featured throughout, as well as sophisticated infusions of tea and tobacco. (The not-so-serious set will appreciate the chartreuse-spiked wheatgrass shot, which reads as one bright spot of knowing levity in a setting that even admiring LaBan called "pretentious" more than once.)
131 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

7. Society Hill Society

400 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
The bar may be the number-one draw at this Headhouse Square haunt (a replacement for the Artful Dodger), though the food more than holds its own. With a back bar meticulously designed to look haphazard in a comforting, homey way (bottles and glassware aren't fastidiously displayed so much as tucked into nooks and mismatched cabinets) and a ambiance that feels historic because it is, it's just an awfully nice place to drink. The drink menu runs classic, with a number of fresh upgrades and serious bartending skill throughout. And if you're tired of being offered juice diluted with bubbly at brunch, this is your spot — they don't shy away from offering boozier options before noon.
400 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

8. Bar Volvér

300 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
While the tasting-menu-only fine dining arm of Volver has struggled to connect with Philly diners, the more relaxed bar has had far more fans from the start. Cocktails are fairly priced at $12 apiece, and feature some unexpected and seasonal flavors. (Look for sugar snap peas in the spring, calvados and cloves in the fall; the popular Truffle Rush has been a year-round staple so far.) To go with your drinks, you can graze on caviar, a variety of tartares, and a slew of worthwhile small bites both savory and sweet. There are happy hour deals from 5 to 7:30 p.m.on Wednesdays — $8 cocktails and some additional price breaks on food.
300 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

9. The Fat Ham

3131 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
With a whiskey list that now runs more than 150-deep, you could explore the bar here for years without even venturing into mixers. (And yes, if you're wondering, they do offer flights to get you started.) But the Sbraga team knows its cocktails, so go ahead and soak in some of their creativity — on the list here are a few barrel-aged classics, punch on tap, and much more. Or give them even more free rein — this is a bar that really comes through with fun and artful answers to "surprise me!" requests.
3131 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

10. Petruce et al

1121 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
From wine to cocktails to serious ciders, Petruce is an all-around star — the bar program here is both quirky and extremely smart. On the cocktail tip, this is where to get your dose of foams, shrubs, and weird bitters without a side of pretension. The Man-Manhattan may be the de facto signature drink, and in general there's a lot to love here for champions of the boozy, vegetal, bitter, and smoky, but they do just as well with lighter and fruitier options. (Seriously, though, hit the wines and ciders, too.)
1121 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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