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Sep 12, 2009 11:57 AM

Bars in Philly that can handle a group of 25-30 people on a Friday night?

Hi, I was hoping someone here could recommend a good bar in Philadelphia that can handle a group of 25-30 people on a Friday night. My sister has asked me to see if I could find a place for a pre-wedding reception get together.

A few of the particulars:

They're looking for more a bar than a restaurant vibe. It should probably be family friendlier (not in a kids sense, but a moms and dads, grandma, and aunts and uncles from out of town sense.) And they can't really afford to go the private room rental route, but it would be a bonus if it were a place where we might be able to reserve a few tables beforehand. Oh, and I don't really know Philly all that well, but the reception is at the Free Library and the hotel everyone's staying at is nearby, so they were looking for something close to that area.

I've been looking into some places online, but it's hard to get a real feel for what they're like, so any help would definitely be appreciated.


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  1. Hmm, I was hoping someone more knowledgeable about that particular area and with large groups in bars would pipe up, since i'm not sure how helpful these recs are going to be.

    These are all south of the Free Library 6-7 blocks, so stop now if that's a deal-breaker.

    Elephant & Castle, 1800 Market St - A friend held a group social here (for ~50) and ended up getting a private room, but I seem to recall that the pub itself was fairly large. I can't quite recall whether it was just the restaurant section that made it seem large though. Of the three, this is probably the most family-friendly atmosphere.

    The next two have a more modern bar atmosphere, geared towards the younger urbanites, but they definitely have the capacity:

    Noche, 19th & Chestnut - They allow for private and semi-private parties, but on a Friday night, this might get pretty loud.

    Continental, 18th & Chestnut - This is a restaurant yes, but they have a nice roofdeck, a part of which is indoors and has a fireplace and couches.

    Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but I've never been to the bars north of Market St. If no one else responds, it might be useful to look at Yelp reviews of bars in the art museum district.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fivefivefive

      I thought I would chime in here about the Continental. They will require a reservation and there is a minimum per person for food/liquor. Sorry, it's been about 2 years since I held any events there, but you should call for details. I do remember it being more expensive than I would have expected. In fact, I seem to remember that the roof is off limits for parties on certain days. I also found them to be very unyielding on their requirements and regulations for gatherings.

    2. I agree, the Continental would be tough. You'll have to cab it, but Moriarty's has a private room upstairs for larger parties. I think you'll have to order some snacks, but it's not that expensive.

      Buffalo Billiards is another bar large enough for a big group. Maybe Tir Na Nog too, but call first.

      1. North of the library there are some options that might be less crowded. St. Stephen's green has a basement bar which admittedly I have never been to but a friend had a birthday party there with about 25 people. It's only a few blocks from the library. I've been to the upstairs many times and they have a great beer selection and friendly staff. 17th and green street

        Urban Saloon is a bit further but still very walkable (or probably $5 cab fare) and is huge. I'm sure you can reserve tables and they have plenty of room. However I have had problems with the service there... they mean well but sometimes have problems when it's really crowded. I haven't been there in over a year so things may be different. It's sort of a generic bar vibe. 21st and fairmount

        London Grill used to have an upstairs private room with bar. Not sure if they still do but that would fit the bill. 23rd and fairmount

        2 Replies
        1. re: travers

          From two bad experiences with London Grill, I'd nix that suggestion. Seems as if they're still coasting on their reputation from the seventies.

          1. re: Seeker19104

            I'm not really a fan of LG's food, but their beer selection is good and the staff in my experience has been very helpful. To clarify, I would recommend LG as a bar, but not for food. I was thinking the OP was looking for drinks only.

        2. Kite and Key fits your description perfectly... They are VERY, VERY close to the Free Library. They have a separate room, adjacent to the main room, but not "private." I'm sure they would reserve it for you for a Friday night. I'm not 100% sure, but I think it can accommodate a group your size. Great beers on tap, good food, service is spotty, but the bar tenders are great. Good luck!

          1. Regarding Continental -- I think the food there has SERIOUSLY gone down hill lately, the service is spotty, the price tag is high, and the available room doesn't work well for a larger group. Plus, 18th and Chestnut is a solid 15+ minute walk to the Free Library -- too far for Grandma for sure! I give Continental a big thumbs down!!