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DNC Neighborhood Guide: Center City West and Fairmount​

From rooftop views to the some of the best art in the country, Center City West was made for those who love the finer things.

Center City West and Fairmount

Philadelphians were playing the “how-are-we-connected?” game long before native son Kevin Bacon made “six degrees” famous. Nowhere is that more true than the blocks stretching out from Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia’s business district and social nerve center. This is the city’s most exclusive address, brimming with tony salons, pricey boutiques and some of Philadelphia’s most difficult-to-reserve restaurants. To the north, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philly’s museum mile, connects City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Morning Coffee:

Time was, if you wanted a cup of coffee from small batch, custom roaster Rival Bros, you had to track down a moving target. Luckily for you, this once-mobile coffee truck has put down roots in a brick-and-mortar café near Fitler Square. To find this pocket-sized coffee shop, look for Rival Bros’ logo – boxers who would rather sip than spar – a sly reference to the founders’ (chef Jonathan Adams and roaster Damien Pileggi) longtime friendship. Enjoy a Derringer, an espresso and steamed milk blend that’s not quite macchiato or cappuccino, but something delicious in between.

2400 Lombard St
www.rivalbros.com

Tucked away on a side street, Elixr is easy to miss. It’s worth the detour, though, not only for the hand pours, but also for ever-changing mural installations commissioned from local artists. Elixr sources its single origin beans directly from farmers and roasts them in small batches for a light roast that might remind you a bit of tea.

207 S Sydenham St
www.elixrcoffee.com

Quick Tourist Moment:

Flanked by sidewalk cafes and a weekend farmers market, Rittenhouse Square is the city’s social hub. The Square (as it’s commonly known) is a place for people to meet, whether on purpose or by serendipity. You’ll find joggers out with dogs here, parents pushing strollers, couples sunning themselves in the grass and children splashing in fountains. Wander its leafy lanes, take in an impromptu performance by students from the nearby Curtis Institute of Music, or settle onto a bench and watch the world go by.

|<image-caption><p>Beet pistachio topped hummus, fresh chopped salad, Israeli pickles, fresh baked pi|Michael Persico

Ritthenhouse Square
18th and Walnut Sts

Philadelphia’s own Champs-Élysées, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is not only the city’s most graceful boulevard, dotted with parks and fountains, but its museum district as well. Art lovers are spoiled for choice with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum and Barnes Foundation within easy walking distance of one another. Prefer velociraptors to Van Gogh? Check out real-life dinosaur fossils and life-size animatronic replicas at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Or retrace the steps of every Philly schoolchild with a visit to the Franklin Institute’s iconic Giant Heart.[tab]All this culture making you thirsty? Stop by The Oval, a seasonal beer garden with food trucks, art, and games including a night of politics-themed Quizzo (a trivia game that’s as Philly as Rocky and cheesesteaks) on July 25 at 7 p.m.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
215-763-8100
www.philamuseum.org

Rodin Museum
2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
215-763-8100
www.rodinmuseum.org

Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
215-278-7000
www.barnesfoundation.org

Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
215-299-1000
www.ansp.org

Franklin Institute
222 N 20th St
215-448-1200
www.fi.edu

The Oval
2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
215-422-4169
www.theovalphl.org

Local Hangs:

You’ll may find the Citywide Special (a can of PBR and a shot of Jim Beam) on other menus, but go to Bob and Barbara’s for the original priced at the wallet-friendly $3. Named the state’s most iconic bar by Yelp, Bob & Barbara’s is everything a dive bar should be. Stop by on Thursday nights for Philly’s longest-running drag show or enjoy the “liquor drinking music” of The Crowd Pleasers, a Hammond B-3 organ combo, every Friday.

1509 South St
215-545-4511
www.bobandbarbaras.com

The granddaddy of all Philly’s speakeasy-style bars, The Franklin is a subterranean hideaway whose menu might best be described as “cocktail porn.” Using every ingredient in the mixologist’s tool bag (and quite a few that aren’t), The Franklin turns out dizzyingly inventive concoctions. Their "Greatest Hits" menu includes a list of signature drinks available year-round and there’s also a more boisterous casual bar upstairs.

112 S 18th St
267-467-3277
www.thefranklinbar.com

For happy hour with a bird’s-eye view, stop by SkyGarten, billed as the “world’s highest beer garden.” The menu is limited to beer (naturally) and basic bar snacks, but the real draw here is the breathtaking view of the city skyline from 51st floor of Three Logan Square. The nearby Assembly Rooftop Lounge on the ninth floor of the Logan Hotel may not offer such stratospheric heights, but the vista over the Parkway is enchanting nonetheless. The menu is heavy on exceptional wines and sophisticated small plates, though you might have trouble expensing Dom Perignon and caviar.

SkyGarten
1717 Arch St
www.skygartenphilly.com

Assembly Rooftop Lounge
1840 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
215-783-4171
www.assemblyrooftop.com

Philly’s vibrant dining scene has proved fertile ground for a flock of celebrity chefs, and one of the most acclaimed is Michael Solomonov, whose interpretations of the food of his Israeli heritage have won him national accolades. For his take on Jewish cuisine of the diaspora, visit Abe Fisher. Small plates are the star here, served in a cozy old-world dining room. Next door is Dizengoff, where the creamy hummus, described as “ethereally smooth” and “addictively rich,” was named Bon Appetit magazine’s “Dish of the Year” in 2015.

Abe Fisher
1623 Sansom St
215-867-0088
www.abefisherphilly.com

Dizengoff
1625 Sansom St
215-867-8181
www.dizengoffhummus.com

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