Craft Cocktails and Great Bartenders in or near downtown Philadelphia?
I am hoping to learn where great bartenders make classic or original cocktails (no premixes, fresh juices, wide range of bitters, etc.) near downtown Philadelphia at fair prices with solid to terrific service (at the bar, no so much at waited tables) - along the lines of Drink / Eastern Standard /Green Street in Boston, Death & Co in NYC. The Alembic in SF, Zig Zag in Seattle, The Passenger / PX in Wash DC, Goldene Bar in Munich, etc.
Having food available in the bar is a plus not a necessity, and freestanding spots would be preferred to hotel or restaurant locations, though stellar spots and individuals among them would also be good to know about and try along with dinners.
What are your favorite bars / bartenders and where are they? Looking forward to exploring as I get to enjoy Philly for work in each of the coming 6 weeks or so! I am still searching this board for food ideas and recommendations and will post separately for help on that once I finish my homework...just didn't come across a thread at all on this topic - and I know the places exist in a great city like Philadelphia!
Anyone with experience at Fiume (45th and Locust) and / or Hopsing Laudromat (if open)?
Franklin (Al) and Oyster House (Andy) are the faves so far, but Ranstead is also really good (especially Dave - thanks pbq!).
Still have Southwark, Village Whiskey, and Prohibition Taproom to be tried...looking forward to it.
Dave Strauss is hands down the single best bartender in Philadelphia, and Ranstead Room (where he works on Wed, Fri and Sat nights) is the single best bar. Ranstead Room is a dark drinking den with tasteful paintings of nudes on the walls. The cocktails are all $12, and the cocktail menu is there just for those who don't know how to cope with the likes of Dave asking them about what they like to drink. There is a limited food menu. The "other Dave" and Alicia are also good, but Dave Strauss is the real deal. You'll know him when you see him. (He is on vacation this week, BTW. I clearly frequent this establishment often ;)
Ranstead Room is on the 2000 block of Ranstead St. It is hard to find the first time. Ranstead Street is just a little South of Market. As you walk down Ranstead, you will see a red light on the 2nd floor of a building on the left (coming from 20th Street). The door of that building has "RR" on it. Go inside and order a Penicillin.
The Peniciliin in my favorite! Other good bars for cocktails are Franklin Mortgage & Investment, The Oyster House, Farmer's Cabinet, Southwark, and Chick's. All have full menus except for Franklin, which has snacks. The Oyster House and Southwark are great restaurants in their own right. I don't collect mixologist baseball cards but all of these places have well known and appreciate bartenders, I'm sure others will chime in with their names.
Well that was a chowhound first for me, and real hoot to sit down at my first pick bar from this thread and be right next to you!
Ranstead was terrific and we look forward to returns when Dave is behind the bar - a really unique and special spot!
Looking forward to more exploration of Philadelphia in coming weeks with your sage guidance!