Philadelphia‘s Fishtown crosses many radars when visiting Pennsylvania’s largest city. From landmark venue Johnny Brenda’s to La Colombe, the neighborhood (named for its early fishermen settlers) has associated with live music, culinary delights and creative communities for some time. And, while the dive bars and music venues are essentials, there’s a plenty hidden in plain sight. From book stores to boutique hotels, here are some of our favorites.
With a canopy of glowing lanterns, nunu‘s Japanese theme is immediately evident. The casual bar is inspired by traditional izakayas, offering plenty of crafty cocktails and snacks—from shrimp and pineapple skewers (served with Kewpie) to sashimi, chicken katsu sandwich and cold jade noodles. With seating outside, at the bar and in snug red booths, the venue also offers online reservations.
Part book store, part gallery and event space, Ulises is named for the Mexican conceptual artist Ulises Carrión. Run by a creative collective, the store, located under the El (Philadelphia’s Market-Frankford line), is only open weekends (12PM to 6PM) but also hosts a slew of events from film screenings to book and zine launch parties, to Communists Anonymous meetings and erotica readings. There are rare and obscure books on display, as well as oftentimes odd and exciting publications to purchase and pore over. The sun-drenched space is a welcoming and quiet spot to spend an hour or so flipping through pages.
Wm. Mulherin’s Sons
Less hotel and more dream apartment, the four-room Wm. Mulherin’s Sons hotel is an exquisitely designed property that provides immense space (each room averages 725 square feet) and comfort. While there’s no lobby or concierge, every room has fully functioning kitchens, washers and dryers, record players, and much more. With polished concrete floors, exposed bricks, antique rugs, original artwork, and custom wallpaper by artist Stacey Rozich, each suite features plenty of nods to mid-century modernism and feels undeniably personal. The hotel also features two very different restaurants: HIROKI for sublime omakase dining and Wm. Mulherin’s Sons restaurant for brunch and drinks.
A two-minute walk around the corner from Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, Joe Beddia’s 90-seater restaurant Pizzeria Beddia is a haven for pizza and natural wine enthusiasts. With a Friends With You cloud light fixture over the bar, the vibe is laid-back and playful, but the food is no joke: start with a caesar salad topped with roast vegetables, then devour the signature tomato pie along with an affordably priced natural wine. The laid-back restaurant—now in its second iteration—takes online reservations, which is a godsend considering its popularity. They also recently opened their Hoagie Room—a two-hour private pizza and hoagie omakase (for groups of six to eight) with dishes by John Walker.
Whether in Martha‘s bustling indoor space or sat in the plentiful, quaint outdoor area, the menu of small plates, local beers and signature cocktails delivers. From the knowledgable staff to the delectable products (which include Philadelphia-crafted spirits and house-made pickles), this is a neighborhood bar that everyone can enjoy. Pets are welcome outdoors and with a bocce court, it’s also family-friendly.
ReAnimator Coffee Roasters
One of four ReAnimator Coffee locations in Philadelphia, the slender Fishtown outpost provides a charming, warm place to grab a cup of their micro-roast. The brand commits to the best possible sourcing standards and turns over an outstanding cup—a testament to their knowledge and passion.
With exciting, experimental breweries rising in all corners of the city, West Kensington’s Fermentery Form & Blendery—found where Ole Kensington and Fishtown collide—happens to be one of the most captivating. The small operation welcomes guests on Thursdays from 5:30-10PM—and by announcement only. All of their flavorful mixed-fermentation beers are produced through the Solera system—and each is bottled using a short re-fermentation for carbonation.