Tattooed Mom is on South Street. Credit: Tattooed Mom
Philly's got its share of innovative gastropubs and seen-and-be-seen drinking establishments with inventive cocktails served in mason jars. But sometimes we just want a shot and a beer slid across a sticky bar, and a jukebox in the corner. Let's all raise a can of PBR to our favorite neighborhood dives.
South Street was built on punk values, but several of the bars on this strip attract the bros of the city. Thankfully there’s one staple that keeps it gruff and doesn’t cater to frat culture: Tattooed Mom. We love the velvety retro couches, 50 cent perogies, and cans of Narragansett. Duck in there from 5-7 p.m. for happy hour, then again from 10-11 for the encore version. 530 South St. 215-238-9880 www.tattooedmomphilly.com
What’s the opposite of a diamond in the rough? It’s Oscar’s, a gritty oasis among the fancier Center City restaurants and craft beer pubs. The dimly lit bar may be a hole in the wall, but it’s no secret spot. It’s a favorite among Philadelphians of all walks of life. Stop in right as the end-of-the-day work bell rings and you’ll see a few suits grabbing a drink before they catch the train back to ‘burbs. Go for the cheap 23 oz beers and the sweet, overworked waitresses. Tip them well. 1524 Sansom St. 215-972-9938
Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar
Yes, this is that smoky place you went to once and got drunk and sang karaoke and half of the crowded room either booed or high-fived you when you finished your rendition of “You Oughta Know.” But that was a Friday. Don’t forget about Ray’s and the bottom-of-the-barrel citywide specials offered there every other night of the week. This one is especially near to our hearts because they actually open at 7 a.m. for all of us who work third shift/have a problem. 1200 E. Passyunk Ave. 215-365-1169 www.thehappybirthdaybar.com
Queen of Sheba
West Philly punks will tell you to go to Dahlak on Baltimore Ave. for drinks, but the better dive is actually Queen of Sheba. The Queen offers cheap lager bottles, a never-ending queue on the jukebox and weird saloon doors on the stalls in the ladies’ room. And there’s usually a better mix of people (read: less cliquey) than at the other West Philly attractions. 4511 Baltimore Ave. 215-382-2099 www.queenofshebaphilly.com