Neighborhood guide: Fairmount and the Art Museum

Eastern State looms above ice cream hot spot Philly Flavors. “The prison has always been an anchor for the neighborhood,” says ESP’s Brett Bertolino.

It’s close to Center City, but this vibrant area has a scene that’s completely its own. Here’s where to eat, drink, shop — and maybe even live — in the neighborhood

Going Out

There’s a little something for everyone when it comes to nightlife.

While even the snobbiest of beer snobs would be in hoppy heaven at Belgian Cafe (21st and Green streets), the knowledgeable staff is newbie friendly at this mainstay that, surprisingly, serves up an innovative veggie menu alongside its popular mussels and burgers.

The no-frills Bishop’s Collar (2349 Fairmount Ave.) has a cozy neighborhood vibe that will make you feel like an immediate regular, while Urban Saloon (2120 Fairmount Ave.) and Kite and Key (1836 Callowhill St.) are always happy to add one more to the party.


Brunch in Fairmount is an embarrassment of syrupy riches. Sabrina’s (1804 Callowhill St.) has quite possibly the only French toast worth waiting an hour-plus for, while Figs (2501 Meredith St.) serves up killer sweet-and-fluffy pancakes. Other must-nibbles include the beloved, funky Ethiopian restaurant Era (2743 Poplar St .) and Doma (1822 Callowhill St.),  the rare neighborhood sushi powerhouse.

Consider this your dessert: All of the above are BYO.

Behind the bars

Although you’ve probably been there for their top-notch haunted house, Eastern State Penitentiary is more than a cool landmark in the summer months. Check out historical exhibits including Al Capone’s luxurious, Anthropologie-catalog-worthy cell, or take one of the new “Hands-On History” tours.


“I don’t think you could find a better place to live. It almost feels like a village — you walk down the street and you see everybody you know,” says Brett Bertolino, director of Operations at Eastern State and a Fairmount resident.

The average listing price, according to, is $368,970, while the median sale price is $299,900.

This grass is greener

When Shannon Price Slusher bought his rowhouse in Fairmount three and a half years ago, he knew he’d be making some green upgrades.“I spent a lot of my life abroad, I spent four years in Germany, I grew up on a farm, and for me, being green was part of who I was,” he says.

Earlier this summer, his home was recognized as the first LEED certified rowhouse in the city.
Although it appears to be a typical quaint rowhouse from the street, it features two green roofs (with veggie gardens that would make your basil blush) and a sophisticated water collection system, among numerous other energy efficient amenities.

“Fairmount’s a nice balance for me,” says Slusher. “It’s a community, it’s very neighborhoody. I train for a triathlon so I’m right on the path, I can cycle out to Valley Forge, the bus line’s right there, and I can walk to work if I want.”


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