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Kite & Key
Photograph: Courtesy Kite & Key

Great bars near the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Art talk is best accompanied by cocktails, wine and beer at these bars near the Philadelphia Museum of Art

By Amy Gordon
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After you’ve had time to take in the many masterpieces at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the best art museums in America, head to a local watering hole to take a load off, grab a drink and reflect on what you saw. From informal dives and pubs with great craft beer to fancy wine bars and venues with live jazz and go-go dancing, Philadelphia’s bar scene has something to satisfy every taste and interest.

RECOMMENDED: See the full guide for Philadelphia Museum of Art

Bars near the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Urban Saloon

Bars Sports Bars Fairmount District

Patrons are consistently surprised at Urban Saloon, where the owners curate a rotating selection of more than 70 draft, bottled and canned beers. Insiders with a sweet tooth know to choose a brew that pairs well with the warm Cookie Dough Skillet, a signature dessert that takes fifteen minutes to prepare and comes topped with ice cream. Don’t worry, the half-mile walk from the Pennsylvania Museum of Art will help you work off the calories.

The Institute Bar
Photograph: Courtesy The Institute Bar/Pj Roane

2. The Institute Bar

Bars Beer bars Callowhill

You’ll find the Institute Bar on an unassuming corner in Fairmount less than two miles from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Behind the bar, friendly bartenders serve up more than 85 types of canned beer and 70 varieties of whiskey. Two floors of seating make this spot ideal for groups, and from 4-6pm, happy hour patrons receive $2 off draft beer, well drinks and appetizers.

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The Bishop's Collar
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Michael Cramer

3. The Bishop’s Collar

Bars Pubs Fairmount

Named for an old Celtic slang expression for a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, the Bishop’s Collar is a Fairmount staple. Drop some coins in the jukebox, kick back with a beer, and discuss what you saw at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, just a ten-minute walk from the bar. Hungry customers love to pair their fare with the steak tip sandwich, chili, nachos or other dishes from the kitchen. Snag a seat outside when weather permits.

Llama Tooth
Photograph: Courtesy GPTMC/M. Kennedy

4. Llama Tooth

Bars Beer bars Callowhill

Head a mile and a half east of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art and you’ll find Llama Tooth. While this restaurant and bar is open year-round, Llama Tooth truly thrives in the warm-weather months. On the outdoor patio, colorful umbrellas, larger-than-life murals and green landscaping offer a delightful atmosphere for alfresco drinking and dining.

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Kite & Key
Photograph: Courtesy Kite & Key

5. Kite & Key

Bars Pubs Franklintown

The hospitality flows as freely as the draft brews at Kite & Key. This classic neighborhood pub is a casual spot to settle in for a pint before or after visiting the PMA, which is less than a mile away. Connoisseurs can choose from domestic and imported microbrews, but Budweiser, Coors Light and other common varieties are on hand for drinkers who prefer the old standbys. When hunger strikes, pair your suds with tacos, flatbreads, mussels and other bites alongside classic pub fare like nachos and wings.

6. Cherry Street Tavern

Bars Pubs Middle City West

The beer is frosty and refreshing and the food is warm and hearty at Cherry Street Tavern, known to locals the Cherry. This corner spot less than a mile from the Philadelphia Museum of Art dates back to 1905, when women had to enter through a dedicated rear entrance. Today, the back room showcases loads of Philly sports memorabilia, while the bar serves up more than 30 beers on draft and in bottles and cans.

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SOUTH
Photograph: Courtesy SOUTH/Neal Santos

7. SOUTH

Restaurants American Avenue of the Arts

In fall 2015, local restaurateurs and jazz experts Robert and Benjamin Bynum debuted SOUTH, located just a five-minute drive from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In this state-of-the-art jazz parlor, customers can listen to live tunes from local and nationally renowned musical artists while sipping more than fifty American whiskeys, ten draft beers, barrel-aged cocktails and infused spirits. SOUTH also includes a separate bar and lounge area, as well as a kitchen that cooks up southern goodies like hushpuppies and fried green tomatoes.

8. Paris Wine Bar

Bars Wine bars Greater Philadelphia

Monet, Matisse, Renoir and the other French masters would surely love Paris Wine Bar, a short walk from the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. In addition to charming ambiance, this oenophile’s paradise focuses on local and sustainable wines exclusively from Pennsylvania. Regulars love the rotating selection of six wines on tap and the live musical acts that play on weekends.

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Alla Spina
Photograph: Courtesy Alla Spina/

9. Alla Spina

Restaurants Gastropubs Avenue of the Arts

This popular Italian gastropub from restaurateur Marc Vetri is just a seven-minute drive from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. With 20 beers on tap and 75 bottled brews, Alla Spina, which translates to “from the tap”, specializes in local and imported beers, with a particular emphasis on seasonal suds. The food menu mixes Italian specialties with crowd-pleasing favorites like deviled eggs and fried chicken. When the warm weather arrives, floor-to-ceiling garage doors open to create an airy, al-fresco-style hangout spot.

The Trestle Inn
Photograph: Courtesy The Trestle Inn/Meredith Edlow

10. The Trestle Inn

Bars Lounges Callowhill

Just a 10-minute car ride from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Trestle Inn hosts go-go shows straight out of the 1960s and 70s. Open Wednesday though Saturday, this watering hole has been a haven for a colorful assortment of patrons ranging from circus performers to traveling salesmen for more than one hundred years. If you can’t choose between the seemingly unlimited selection of whiskey and rye, opt for a flight and sample several varieties.

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