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Visiting the city this Sunday - University City recs please

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going to WCL for a show and would appreciate recs for a good bar or two in the neighborhood. Should they offer grub, that would be a nice option to have.

Going with a friend who hates mass transit (it oftentimes doubles the time of a trip if you're combining driving and mass transit just because of the connections, though I will admit I took light rail from NJ the last time and it wasn't bad - just can't do it this time because of prior history with my friend). It being a Sunday nite (well, maybe late Sunday afternoon) - does Philly 'empty out' like Manhattan does on the weekend - thus allowing for more choice parking (on street)?

If not, are there enough parking lots as Philly I remember never seems to have enough of them.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Local 44

    Usually plenty of street parking, although 44th st is getting repaved right now. Still, you shouldn't have a problem.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Boognish

      I tend to really hate bars, but even I like Local 44, so that says something. I think it has fantastic food and a great beer selection.

      1. re: Boognish

        Local 44 is a great neighborhood bar, but it's well over a mile away and twice as far as walking to Rittenhouse Square where there are many more options. Distrito and City Tap House are farther than Rittenhouse too. Point being, there is no reason to be limited to West Philly options; Center City is actually more convenient by foot in many cases. Of course parking is much easier/cheaper in West Philly than Center City if OP is willing to park twice (and after drinking).

        Anyway for West Philly, the strip on Sansom between 34th and 35th is only about 10 minutes away walking and all the options are pretty decent. In addition to already recommended New Deck and White Dog, Baby Blues BBQ is not bad; they have great hush puppies. There is a bar in there. I would avoid Mad Mex if eating, though their beer list is great. New Deck serves SYSCO pub food, which is fine if your expectations are set right.

        I doubt street parking will be issue right on Walnut St, but there also used to be street parking and a larger lot right under Walnut St (it's elevated at that point) which you could access from Market St (WCL has an entrance both on Walnut and on the lower level). But that may have been converted to a park? Haven't been over there in a year or so.

      2. There is a lot of street parking in front of the World Cafe Live building, I'm sure that closer to the time of the show it gets crowded, but if you're early, you can snag a 12-hour metered spot there. I'm not sure if that's an area where they make you pay on Sundays or not. It's tougher to park in Center City than U City on the weekend, so it may be worth parking there and walking around.

        Nearby, Tria has an outpost in the Left Bank Building, on Sundays they do a half priced beer, cheese, and wine (you can have one of each). Walking further west, if bar matters more than food you could go to the New Deck Tavern or Mad 4 Mex, both on/adjacent to the 3400 block of Sansom. There's also the bar at the White Dog which is a better mix of good food and drink.

        If you walk east, over the South Street bridge, you could walk to Grace Tavern or Resurrection Ale House on Grays Ferry.

        1. I've never had TOO much trouble finding parking in that area during "off" times. My favorite in that area is Distrito on 40th for great Mexican and margaritas.

          2 Replies
          1. re: whethergirl

            AND...the kids are out of school so U City is much easier for parking in the summer. I second Distrito for great drinks and food. City Tap House has a good beer list and a big outside deck should the weather be decent.

            1. re: BelgianBeerMistress

              I love City Tap House's beer selection. I find the atmosphere there to be a bit modern and sterile for my tastes though.

          2. West Philly definitely "empties out" parking-wise at night. In general, there's abundant parking from 41st street west, and from maybe about locust street south. Farther east and north, parking can still be tight at night, but you can find spaces much more easily at night than during the day.

            Spruce street , 41st street, and baltimore avenue can be good places to look for free parking.

            It is not everyone's scene, but there are abundant Ethiopian places in West Philly that are lively bars with great Ethiopian food too.