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Good food, comfortable spot for 4 guys to catch up?

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Hey everyone -

I did a bit of searching on the board, and couldn't find exactly what I'm looking for, and hoping there are some good ideas out there.

I'm meeting up with three good friends next weekend in Philly. We're looking for a couple good places (we'll have lunch, dinner, and breakfast/brunch the next day). We're making our plans fairly late in the game, so I'm sure we'll have some trouble with reservations in certain places.

I'm not sure how to describe exactly what we're looking for, but here goes - good food, some meat options but not a steakhouse or anything like that. Preferably a somewhat hip place, but nothing uber stylish. A place that we can sit comfortably, drink good beer or good cocktails or whiskey and chat for a while. (Fine, of course, if it's BYO.)

One thought was Village Whiskey, but (1) we've been there and (2) while a little wait, if necessary, is ok, don't want to wait an hour or two if that can be avoided. Also it's a little cramped/rushed for what we're looking for.I've got a few ideas just from poking around, ranging from bars where we can eat and drink well (Monk's, Standard Tap, POPE), to Cochon, to Adsum. But really, we're open to anything that fits the bill. We're staying near the Reading Terminal Market, but can travel around a fair bit for the right place.

Bonus points - also looking for a good bar to spend the night after dinner, good beer/booze, low key enough that we can hear each other speak and won't be standing all night, but not dead either.

Any help is much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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    1. Here is a place that I like- Positano Coast http://www.positanocoast.net/

      it fits your bill for slightly hip and has a varied menu, and you can hear yourselves talk

      also its right in old city so you'd have your pick of bars after dinner

      1. On the bar end, either for dinner or after, I'd say either Varga Bar or Pub & Kitchen.

        For dinner, I love Adsum, it might be everything you want, except it's crazy loud. What about one of the Garces places, Tinto, next door to Village Whiskey.

        2 Replies
        1. re: urbanfabric

          Thanks! These look like some good suggestions. I have a slight concern that some of the Garces places might be a bit on the trendy side, but am I off base about this? (Hip but not trendy is maybe an awkward request, I'm not sure; the sort of place that in NY we've got primarily in Brooklyn is what I'm looking for if that makes any sense.)

          Does Aside from these suggestions, does Osteria fit the bill at all? Modo Mio? Zahav? I know in many ways these places differ greatly, but any insights are great. Thanks again.

          1. re: adam

            Osteria and Zahav do, Modo Mio doesn't, it's too cramped and loud.

            I'd recommend Southwark for either dinner or your after-dinner bar. It's not my absolute favorite restaurant in the city but the atmosphere you're looking for (somewhat hip, comfortable) fits that place perfectly. Zahav is my favorite restaurant in the city, if I were you I'd go there for dinner and walk to Southwark afterwards for dessert (though I love Zahav's desserts too) and drinks. The bartenders there are great and they make great classic cocktails and have excellent beers on draft.

            If I were you I'd be going to Brauhaus Schmitz for lunch, Zahav for dinner, Southwark for drinks, and Kanella (BYO) for brunch the next day.

        2. ...and zahav has a great happy hour every nite from 5-7..sit at the bar or one of the few bar tables and get half price drinks and food...great deal...great food...and no rush! love it!

          1 Reply
          1. re: ilovesummer

            Unless the deal has changed recently, only the hummus is half off and the drink deal is $5 cocktails, $3 goldstar, and $3 off wines. Still a good happy hour and they don't participate in Sips so no nonsense on Wednesdays.

          2. many of the places mentioned above are very noisy. If you want a place where you can talk, you have to avoid the types of places that have tables packed tightly together and/or are "trendy" or are the "hot" places to go (e.g. any Garces or Vetri place). That's why I recommended Positano to you, it has quite a bit of space and isn't very noisy. it's not really on the foodie radar. Yet, you'll see the decor is cool looking and the food is good.

            Brauhaus Schmitz has great German food and beer but the noise there is deafening. Kanella is also small and very loud.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rocknroll52

              Thanks - Positano is definitely one of the ones I'll send to my friends; just trying to get a sense of what might be good, and what the Philly dining scene is like. Any favorite dishes at Positano?

              1. re: adam

                I wouldn't recommend Positano for dinner, the food there is not bad but I wouldn't recommend it unless you are a rabid fan of Italian who has already been to our better Italian places. The bar there is pretty great though, they have windows that open to the street below, it's nice when the weather is nice. Zahav is right across the street if you want to go there for dinner and hit Positano for drinks afterwards.

                1. re: adam

                  At positano, I remember enjoying the appetizer of mussels with chorizo (huge portion!) and the wild boar ragu entree. They also offer a "crudo" menu which looked interesting but we didn't try.

                  As far as the Philly dining scene goes, there are tons of good places, but most of them are crowded and noisy.