NFT Philadelphia Graduate Hospital / Gray's Ferry

Graduate Hospital / Gray's Ferry

Time was, this area was known more for urban decay than anything else. Since then, things have definitely turned around. West South Street has gotten much-needed new blood and new bars, and while being in a subway dead-zone doesn't really help, the area is well worth the walk.

Most of the action remains on South Street, including old standby Ten Stone, but don't be afraid to venture outward--Ultimo has great coffee, and the Sidecar Bar is great for when you want one of their namesake beverages. For crafters there's Loop, which has gorgeous materials and classes if you think you have two left thumbs.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Jamie Papoutsis
Photo:  Jamie Papoutsis

Sidecar Bar & Grille
Graduate Hospital area began selling out a while ago, but when a place like Sidecar opens up, you know it won't be long until Louis Vuitton purses and yelping poochies occupy the empty seats next to over-exercised and undernourished wannabes. For right now though, it’s a low-key place to hang out, discuss how TV on the Radio avoided the sophomore slump, and order a Kensinger. The food is beautiful and better yet, cheap. On a nice day, you can perch outside and watch what's left of the neighborhood swagger by with that homeless shuffle.

Posted By:  Allison Lowrey
Photo:  Allison Lowrey

Grace Tavern
There are lots of things you look for in a friendly neighborhood drinking spot. Good beer selection, knowledgeable bar staff, and a relaxed atmosphere. Not to mention that its's always a bonus when the place has yummy snacks to help your stomach sop up some of those hops. Grace Tavern, voted #1 bar by Philly Weekly, has all of the above. Their beer menu is ample, the staff is helpful, and the vibe is laid-back. Perhaps most notably, though, is Grace Tavern's food. Sure, they offer all the standard fare, like hamburgers and sandwiches. But for those looking to try something different, split a basket of blackened green beans with friends. While it's kind of strange to think about ingesting something healthy while getting your booze on, these spicy beans could make a cake-loving fat kid rethink his stance on vegetables--they're that good. You can never go wrong with the fries, either... they're served up with a side of Monk's famous mayo dipping sauce and are delish.

Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

Beauty Shop Cafe
I’m sure that people do indeed go to the Beauty Shop for the coffee they serve (in mugs!), the breakfast sandwiches they dish up (sesame bagels and egg croissants!), and the art they display on the walls (local!). But I don’t. I don’t even go for the free wireless. The secret of this place is in its Sunday mornings, with sun streaming in the windows and hangover commiserations vocal enough for the entertainment of many. I go because the crosswords are plentiful and the company is consistently friendly. In a one-room café, it’s inevitable that you share some space with your fellow man. So shrug off those headphones and chime in. Seriously.

Posted By:  Rebecca Troutman
Photo:  Rebecca Troutman

Sidecar Bar & Grille
The Sidecar: a Cognac cocktail with triple sec and lemon, coined by a Parisian at the turn of the 20th century, and wholeheartedly adopted by grandmas everywhere. Thankfully, this drink is seeing a Philadelphia renaissance as the namesake of this highly recommended bar and grille. Surrounded on all sides by residential streets, the Sidecar Bar has a little of a lonely look from the outside, where its beaming spaceship of a sign perches over the sidewalk corner. But it’s got all the accoutrements of “great bar” status: delicious food (Creole calamari and panini-pressed “Toasties,” for example), fastidiously chosen microbrewed beers on tap, classically-fashioned libations (hot toddies and specialized sidecars) and week-long late-night happy hour drink specials. I could be a lush all winter long.

Posted By:  Alex Morales
Photo:  none

When I moved to New York City in ‘99 as a wide-eyed college freshman, I pictured myself finding that one perfect café where I would sit long into the wee hours reading something important, where I would belly-laugh and exchange clever witticisms with my new cosmopolitan friends, where I would take dainty sips of café au lait or chai tea with a charming gentleman, and where I would find my niche and be happy forever in that perfect café. Never happened. Not while I lived in NYC, not while I was upstate, and thus far not in Philly. Thing is, a lot of these cafes are too small, too crowded, too frantic, or°™oof!°™kinda pricey! To be fair, I pretty much gave up the search once I turned 21, but if I was still looking, by golly, I’ve found it at La.Va. With large open windows along the walls and comfy, worn couches inside, La.Va feels like somewhere I could really dig my heels in and chill for a few. The varied, inexpensive menu definitely adds appeal. So far I’m digging the La.Va Panini, which packs a hot-sauce kick with its tuna and melty cheese awesomeness. Clever witticisms and belly-laughs can’t be far away.

Posted By:  Blythe Davenport
Photo:  Blythe Davenport

Ten Stone
South Street is infamous for the decadence of its cheesesteaks, night clubs, comic shops, and sexy stores. But that South Street is only half the story; fifteen blocks west of Jimmy’s Steaks you’ll find yourself in a well-kempt neighborhood of brownstones and young professionals. And those lucky young professionals have themselves one of the most welcoming neighborhood bars you’ll ever happen across: Ten Stone. On a warm afternoon sit at an outside table and watch the locals strolling about on weekend errands. The airy front room houses the dining room and mahogany bar, in the back you can enjoy a game of pool by the fireplace. The food is pubby yet wholesome, with flair—our chicken quesadilla was folded in a bright sun-dried tomato tortilla and served with a tangy mango salsa. Avoid the Sunday brunch, especially on an Eagles game day—you’ll wait a long time for the uninspired Eggs Benedict, and the TVs will be blaring. On other days, you won’t even know they have TVs, and you’ll be able to quiz the bartender on some of the more rare offerings from their fifteen beers on tap.

Posted By:  Ann O'Malley
Photo:  Ann O'Malley

Autumn is a great time to ride a bike in Philly. The summer’s oppressive heat is a distant memory and the dark mornings and icy roads of winter are not yet a reality. Plus, West River Drive is closed to cars on Sundays through the end of Daylight Saving Time, making it a safe haven for rollerbladers, runners, and cyclists who wish to stretch their legs along the Schuylkill River. However, if your bike is in desperate need of a tune up and you’ve spent more than a year avoiding bike shops because you find them intimidating, you’re not alone. I recently braved the sea of dreadlocks, Dickies trousers, and tattooed sleeves to stop by Bicycle Therapy, where I found a helpful staff member who assisted me with choosing a basket and tail light. I also scheduled an appointment to get an overdue tune-up, where they fixed my front derailleur, put air in my tires, and adjusted my brakes. They sell everything from handlebar tape to high-end road bikes, and the prices are what you’d expect for a specialty shop. But their lack of bicycle snobbery will allow you to leave with your self esteem unscathed.

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