Thursday, September 2, 2010

Can’t Miss Philly: Top 10 Outdoor Dining Spots

Whether its curbside or riverside, a roof top or a dusty lot, chilling outdoors with a few friends, some good eats and a cold one – or three – is the definition of summer in the city… at least in Philly that is.  So here’s the first of a series of Can’t Miss Philly Top 10.

10 Apothecary
102 S. 13th St : 215.735.7500
Have dinner reservations in the Gayborhood but the bar’s packed and your table's not ready? Check out Apothecary. The center city chic roof deck offers happy hour specials nightly and a few concoctions that your are guaranteed to find NOWHERE else in the city. No food, but the complimentary pretzel knots are a nice plus.
9 Belgian Café
21st and Green : 215.235.3500
Whether your trying to avoid anyone you know or you’re just looking for something off the beaten path, Belgian Café has just what you’re looking for – and they’re participating in Beer Week. Fairmount’s double-wide sidewalks are perfect for outdoor seating – none of that sitting next to a shitty Toyota, South Philly crap. The extensive beer list includes 200 bottled brews and a rotating draft list as well as a printed disclaimer on the menus. You ordered it – you bought it, so choose wisely.
8  Bar Ferdinand
1030 North 2nd Street : 215.923.5555
If tapas is your thing and No-Libs is your game, than hit up Bar Ferdinand on Liberty Walk. The whole strip is full of outdoor tables and with the awnings a little rain won’t spoil this spot. Ferdinand’s offers ½ price bottles of wine on Mondays, $35 tastings on Thursdays and flamingo dancers on First Fridays.
7 Octo Waterfront Grill
221 N Columbus Blvd. : 215.923.OCTO
If beer’s not your steez and rum’s more your style, than skip the rest of the city’s festivities this week and head over to OCTO. The summer long outdoor dance party kicked off this past Saturday night with Mojito – Octo’s weekly DJ event. The restaurant / nightclub has dancing and live music, food, drinks, and most importantly, a view of Camden.
6 Cantina Los Caballitos
1651 East Passyunk Avenue : 215.755.3550
There’s something classically Philly about Passyunk Avenue. Where else in the city can you buy yourself a pair of orange alligator shoes, sit in an Italian neighborhood and order a flight of tequila? The Passyunk strip from Broad down to Geno’s has hit it’s peak with outdoor dining as far as the eye can see. But its Cantina that wins our vote. The dusty lot on the corner gives the always busy, curbside seating that authentic south of the border feel.
5 Vango Lounge and Skybar
116 S. 18th St : 215.568.1020
This seedy spot has a menu that rivals the South Street Diner – that’s not why you go to Vango. If stairs are not your thing than maybe opt out of this one but if you can make the climb, it’s well worth the cardio.  The year-round roof deck has an indoor patio and a lounge bar with a fireplace. But it’s the outdoor sky deck that’s the star of this show. The view from the sky bar is spectacular.  Party under the city’s lights or relax on one of the sick king size beds. It’s like Nikki Beach moved to Philly.
4 Standard Tap
901 North 2nd Street : 215 - 238 - 0630 
The rooftop at Standard Tap is calmer and much more chill. It’s got a great garden vibe if you’re looking for a slower pace after a rough night out. This Beer Week destination has some good eats, good beers and even some Jenga if you’re feeling frisky. This spot is definitely a can’t miss.
3 Positano Coast
212 Walnut Street  (Second Floor) : 215.238.0499
Nobody likes generic Italian – tomatoes in the Caesar salad and checkerboard plastic table cloths. Well worry not - the Sopra Lounge is Positano Coast’s sexy open-air lounge. The food is great. Even your pickiest girlfriend will enjoy. Comphy couches and low tables, open windows and a romantic setting make this Society Hill spot a must see. Sundays and Mondays are BYOB and Happy Hour is from 5:30 – 7:30 Monday – Friday with $3 wines and beers, $5 cocktails and apps like $2 oysters, $5 spicy Italian sausage sliders and $6 cheese plates. Done. I’ll see ya there.
2 Mad River Manayunk
4100 Main Street : 215.482.2666
The boys over at Mad River sure do know how to throw a party and their deck overlooking the Schuylkill River is just the spot to keep the summer rolling. Nightime in Manayunk just got a little cooler - their open-air gazebo always has a game on. And no matter what your poison, they have you covered with frozen margaritas, daiquiris and pina coladas. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday nights they have music pumpin’ on the river and if you missed the Bike Race, worry not - June 26th and 27th they’re hosting another outdoor music event for the Arts Festival.
1  Silk City
North 5th Street : 215.592.8838
If Dr. Seuss was from Philly, he would be chillin’ at Silk City. Him and Horton and the Cat and The Hat…the whole crew would be down. The outdoor patio is crazy and colorful and the tiki bar is the perfect hideout on sketchy 5th and Spring Garden. It’s great for groups or even a solo mission. With happy hour Monday – Friday, brunch on Saturday and Sunday, and a DJ spinning every night of the week in the lounge, everyday’s a good day to check out this outdoor Philly fan favorite.
Philly2night Pick:  The Piazza at Schmidts
North 2nd Street & Germantown Ave.
While number one’s are great, there’s always someone waiting in the wings to knock you out of your spot and at phily2night there’s always something bigger and better to tell you about. No Libs is killing it on outdoor seating. And this season at the Piazza at Schmidts, with all of the outdoor restaurants, the BYO section and the Jumbotron playing World Cup Soccer LIVE until July 11th, the Piazza is the big daddy of all and most importantly, philly2night’s pick for the best outdoor spot of the summer.

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