Philly Nightlife

By Joe Cahill
October 6, 2010

Fans of Asian cuisine who are looking for a change of pace, head to 36th & Sansom in Philadelphia.  In the heart of University City, you’ll find one of restaurateur Stephen Starr’s crowning jewels- Pod.  Pod, which opened in 2000, is a restaurant so lively and energetic that one might have to pause to take in the surroundings.  Its style is a combination of downtown Tokyo and “2001: A Space Oddyssey.”  Tables are both on the floor and built into the walls, and larger groups sit in aptly-named enclosed “pods.”  The restaurant is almost entirely white, although one would never know it as pulsing and changing lights alternate the room’s colors throughout the night.  Pod was designed from the ground-up for the young crowd, and it pays in dividends.  Eating at Starr’s futuristic Pan-Asian palace makes for an incredibly interesting night out on the town.  The fresh sushi at Pod is just one of the areas the chefs use to flex their creativity.  The “Rio Grande” roll pairs shrimp tempura and eel with a spicy tomato-avocado salsa, and the “Shiro-aoi” combines spicy white tuna, avocado, hamachi and jalapeno.  Cocktails such as the Samurai Jack, which mixes Jack Daniels, raspberries, honey and mint leaves, make Pod a great place to grab a drink, as well.  “I love the atmosphere here,” Charlotte DiGiorgio, architecture major at Drexel University, said.  “The food is great.  This is one of my favorite restaurants.”

South Street is notorious for being the center of Philadelphia nightlife.  The street is littered with bars, clubs and certain “kingdoms” of the explicit variety.  Copabanana, located on 344 South Street in Philadelphia, acts as a nice complement to the general insanity around South Street while embracing a bit of the “party” atmosphere.  Copabanana isn’t your typical burger joint—the tropical, semi-Cuban flare is constantly present in almost every aspect, including the building’s odd purple, yellow, and green exterior.  The restaurant’s margaritas and and Spanish fries are perfect for late-night hunger pangs or those looking to cap off an evening out in one of Philadelphia’s weirder sections.

Philadelphia is a city with a rich history in music, and as such hosts a slew of concerts throughout the year.  Among the great venues in the greater Philadelphia region is The Electric Factory.  Located at 7th and Willow, The Electric Factory is the city’s oldest indoor concert venue.   Concerts at The Factory are all-ages general admission, but where the building sets itself apart is the upper floor.  The balcony deck, which is exclusively 21-and-older, serves drinks and overall offers a more enjoyable concert-going experience.  The view of the stage is almost always unobstructed, and offers a slightly more laid-back approach to even the loudest of rock shows.  Individuals 21-and-older who don’t find the moshing, pit-style concert scene appealing should most definitely check out the balcony bar at The Electric Factory.

Fans of the FX show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” looking to recreate some of the hijinks that ensue in Paddy’s Pub have a new place to call home.  Mac’s Tavern, at 226 Market Street in the Old City district, keeps the city shining bright.  Owned by Rob McElhenny and Kaitlyn Olsen, also known as Mac and Sweet Dee on the show, Mac’s Tavern opened its doors to the public in June.  The tavern looks and feels like Paddy’s Pub even down to the décor, the only difference being that Mac’s, unlike Paddy’s, is a friendly, respectable place to grab a meal.  The restaurant is amazingly cheap for an Old City eatery, and not in a bad way.  Almost everything on the menu ranks in at under $10, and the food is genuinely solid.  Fish tacos, hummus, mussels and sandwiches make for somewhat traditional pub fare, but additions such as gravy fries, all-day breakfast and five varieties of chicken cutlet sandwiches remind customers that they most certainly aren’t in just any Philadelphia pub.  Mac’s Tavern plays to devoted fans of the show, offering “Mac’s Macs” macaroni and cheese, and “Sweet D’s Sausage and P’s” sandwich.  For the 21-and-over crowd, the bar also has an unprecedented beer selection, offering seventeen varieties just on tap.  While there are still no mentions of aluminum monsters, kitten mittens and wine in cans, Mac’s Tavern offers enjoyable down-to-earth service and atmosphere with matching grub.

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Joe Cahill

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