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12 Themed Bars In Philadelphia You Should Try

Philadelphia bars and drinks
Philadelphia bars and drinks - Static Media / Instagram / Getty / Shutterstock

In a city full of mega sports fans, a typical bar experience you'll find anywhere in Philadelphia no matter the neighborhood is a place with T.V.s playing sports games featuring the Phillies, the Eagles, and, maybe, the Flyers. For bars without T.V.s in them, maybe the most entertainment is a pool table. As for the clubs, the entertainment is the dance floor, and drinks take a back seat to that. All of those types of bars are perfectly acceptable places to go hang out and are totally worth your time, but if you've been there and done that, or just want to experience something more eccentric, I get it.

Looking for some more special experiences in the city? Then you've come to the right place. I compiled a list of the most unique themed bars Philly has to offer, and, no, I didn't include Xfinity Live!, Barstool, or Woody's since most locals already know of them. Using personal experience and research (more on my methodology at the end), here are some of the most unique Philly bars you can go to right now.

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

The Cauldron

The Cauldron bar interior
The Cauldron bar interior - @thecauldronphilly / Instagram

Located in the Gayborhood area in Center City, The Cauldron might be easy to miss. This bar is for anyone who loves "Harry Potter," "Lord of the Rings," "Game Of Thrones," or any other mystical fantasy series out there. Whether you're a Potterhead, just a little bit witchy, or looking to mix it up for date night, The Cauldron is the place to go.

Upon entering, you'll receive your witches' and wizards' robes, of course, and then you can look around at the incredibly on-theme decor. You actually get between three to five drinks per person with the price of booking, depending on what type of package you choose. The first drink is poured from the spout of a unicorn's mouth (yes, really), using your magic wand bestowed upon you. You can make the rest of your "potions" with your companions, following your "spell book" to guide you.

thecauldron.io/philly

(732) 538-7630

1305 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Barcade

arcade games, drinks
arcade games, drinks - @barcade / Instagram

If you're sick of one person hogging the only pool table at a bar all night, then you need to venture someplace with more games than people: Barcade. With two locations in Philly, one in Fishtown and the other in Center City, there are plenty of games to go around here. And the variety of games is really quite good for the sizes of the bars.

You'll find oldies but goodies like pinball machines, Tetris, and Ms. Pac-Man, and along those are adrenaline-inducing racing games, shooting games, and more. Basically, it's a grown-up kid's dream. The night will absolutely fly by when gaming while enjoying a nice drink and conversation with friends. The games require Barcade tokens, which can be exchanged for a quarter each. There are also plenty of tables and seats at the bar if you need a break from all the intense gaming and just want to enjoy the atmosphere. Bar snacks and food are also available for purchase.

barcade.com/philadelphia

Multiple locations

Thirsty Dice

outside of Thirsty Dice
outside of Thirsty Dice - @thirstydice / Instagram

For a different kind of gaming, head over to Thirsty Dice in Fairmount. Thirsty Dice is actually Philadelphia's original gaming cafe. As many board games as you could ever dream of line the walls here, waiting to be chosen. Gather your friends and make it your Friday night plan to come here for some drinks, appetizers, and good old-fashioned games.

The food menu is pretty extensive, as well, with options like yummy shareables including truffle parm fries and nachos, mains including different tacos and wraps, an entire separate brunch menu, and even a whole ice cream menu with numerous options to choose from. If you're coming here to play and drink, I recommend coming a bit later so you can let loose and have fun without feeling self-conscious around the children who are bound to be there earlier in the day. Thirsty Dice is open until midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 p.m. on the rest of the weekdays, so you don't have to worry about rushing to finish your Monopoly game before the place closes.

thirstydice.com

(215) 765-2679

1642 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Concourse Dance Bar

people in ball pit
people in ball pit - @concoursedancebar / Instagram

Concourse is truly an enigma in the city. I don't think there are enough hyphenations to describe this dance bar, but I'll try. Concourse has a massive dance floor, an upstairs section, and, oh yeah, a ball pit, an ice room, and a room of mirrors. In short, it's absolutely massive, and if you are very wary of germs, this probably isn't the bar for you. Or, maybe just skip the ball pit and don't sit on the bench in the mirror room so that you can still experience the ice room. The freezing space is so cool to look at, makes a great photo op, and is just a fun environment to be in.

Concourse is so enjoyable, and with different events happening there all the time, there's always an excuse to go. Get your biggest group of friends together, then tell all of them to bring their friends, and go have fun. The line isn't ever super long unless you're getting there really late. There's even a coat check, which is really nice when it's freezing outside and you need to put your coat down in order to let loose.

concoursedancebar.com

(267) 534-4128

1635 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Writer's Block Rehab

outside of Writer's Block Rehab
outside of Writer's Block Rehab - @writersblockrehab / Instagram

For all those people hooked on BookTok, which is TikTok's subcommunity of users sharing all things books and literature-related, this is the unique spot in the city for you. Writer's Block Rehab is truly unlike anything else we've seen before in general, let alone in Philly. Yes, we've been to book bars before, but this is on a whole different level.

First, the photo ops are unmatched. The giant Scrabble-esque wall is screaming to be in your photos, the menus look like books and are even titled volumes, and there's just about every bookish thing in this place to be found. Aside from the aesthetics of the place, the drinks are also fantastic, as the bartenders put a lot of thought into them. Go for the books, stay for the libations. You won't be disappointed with sitting in the comfortable plush benches in the library or popping upstairs to see it all from above.

instagram.com/writersblockrehab

(267) 603-6960

1342 Cypress St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Brooklyn Bowl

bowling alley bar
bowling alley bar - Brooklyn Bowl

If you've only been to Brooklyn Bowl for the concert venue space upstairs, then it's time I open your eyes to all this spot has to offer. Yes, Brooklyn Bowl does put on a ton of concerts every month in the dance room area upstairs, along with different themed ticketed events like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles nights, where the DJ plays everyone's favorite songs. But Brooklyn Bowl is, at its core, a bowling alley bar.

Downstairs, there are a ton of trendy-decorated bowling lanes that you can reserve, along with a spacious bar featured behind them where you can get any drink you want and some of the tastiest bar appetizers I've tried in the city (I stand by that). The deep-fried pickles are to die for, and paired with one of the signature drinks (perhaps the guava cosmopolitan), you're in for a fun-filled night.

brooklynbowl.com/philadelphia

(215) 606-4950

1009 Canal St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Spin

ping pong tables inside of Spin
ping pong tables inside of Spin - @wearespin / Instagram

A super nice spot right in Center City, Spin is for the folks who want a fun activity but don't really feel like being fully immersed in another realm or place. Spin is perfect for a corporate outing, a fun double date, or a birthday. The theme of this bar? Ping pong. That's right, here you can sit with your drink on a comfy couch and watch your friends dominate at ping pong and then get in on the fun yourself.

Kind of like the ping pong version of Topgolf (but easier to get to if you live in the city), there are artsy murals, unique tiled floors, wood tones everywhere, and a giant bar right in the middle of it all. And the food is phenomenal, with apps like short rib banh mi sliders and birria bao buns taking center stage. Spin truly has it all, and luckily if you decide last minute that you want to go, it does have walk-in rates and hours you can check out online.

wearespin.com/location/philadelphia/

(267) 463-4850

211 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Libertee Grounds

inside Libertee Grounds
inside Libertee Grounds - @liberteegrounds / Instagram

Continuing the "let's play a sport instead of watching it on T.V." theme, there is Libertee Grounds. With a quintessentially Philly name, Libertee Grounds (I can't get over how good the pun is) offers none other than mini golf for your entertainment.

Self-described as having "hyperlocal" beer and cocktail menu, Libertee Grounds also has two 18-hole mini golf courses, as well as a golf simulator, a standard food menu, a late-night food menu for the night owls staying after 10 p.m., and even a brunch menu. Menu standouts include separate tap lists for the upstairs and downstairs bars (affectionately named uptown and dining room), cocktail specials like The Dirty Pickle (vodka, dry vermouth, hot sauce, housemade pickle juice), a zero ABV menu, and, of course, some tasty wings and nachos. And don't forget the Sunday brunch specials like iced coffee and matcha, the breakfast quesadilla, and the green pandan pancakes (pandan is a similar flavor to vanilla and coconut combined).

liberteegrounds.com

(267) 324-3487

1600 W Girard Ave, Suite C5, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Moshulu

the Moshulu boat
the Moshulu boat - @moshuluphilly / Instagram

Ever wanted to party on a boat but you're not friends with a millionaire who owns a yacht? It's time for you to hit up Moshulu. Which, if you're unaware, is quite literally a boat parked in the harbor of the Delaware River serving as part restaurant, part bar. Whether you're there for the food or the drinks doesn't really matter because both are exceptional and no matter what you're consuming, the best part of visiting Moshulu is saying, "I can't believe we're on a boat right now."

Plan to go for happy hour drinks on weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and then stay for dinner. And why not stay for the nightlife? According to its website, reservations are prioritized, as is usually the case with any establishment, but it does accept walk-ins. Though, if you show up on a Saturday at 8 p.m., you're probably going to have to wait. I think it's better to go midday since the establishment isn't open super late -- the latest is 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Plus, that way, you can view the water over the balcony in the daylight. But if you prefer to see the twinkling lights reflect on the water when it's dark, maybe make your reservation closer to 7:30 p.m.

moshulu.com

(215) 923-2500

401 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Tattooed Mom

sitting at Tattooed Mom's table
sitting at Tattooed Mom's table - @tmoms / Instagram

More of a cool hipster bar than an experience-based activity with a bar, Tattooed Mom still totally deserves a spot on this list. It is themed, after all. If you've never been to Tattooed Mom, let me give you a heads up about what you're walking into so you're not overwhelmed: Every square inch of space is covered, or "tattooed," so to speak, in stickers, marker drawings, tape, you name it. If a tattoo sleeve were a bar, it would be this one.

And it's genuinely a cool experience. Going there on a date? If the conversation lags, pick out something on the wall to talk about. Trust me, you won't run out of inspiration there. The drinks are great as well and very strong. There's a pool table upstairs and two bars, but the real ones know that you have to get there on a Thursday between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. for the special 75-cent-a-piece pierogies. They're vegan and famous with the locals for a reason; they just add to the charm of this special gem.

tattooedmomphilly.com

(215) 238-9880

530 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Hop Sing Laundromat

inside of Hop Sing Laundromat
inside of Hop Sing Laundromat - SoleSwipeApp / X

By far the most secretive place on this list, there's not much on the internet about Hop Sing Laundromat that the speakeasy has actually posted itself. Relevant outlets like Conde Nast Traveler, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Bon Appetit have reported on the mystique that is this speakeasy, and all of the glory comes from different publications singing its praises. A few key things you absolutely need to know: There is a dress code, which involves not wearing shorts, hats, or sandals, and if you're seen talking on your phone, taking pictures, or even having your phone out, it's game over.

Hop Sing Laundromat is worth all of the pomp and effort, though, as its drinks are undeniable and incomparable, the atmosphere is moody and warm, and the speakeasy will absolutely offer you a night you'll never forget (just definitely bring cash, as it's cash only). Take the rules seriously, and plan to eat before or after, as there's no food offered here. It's all about the best drinks in the city.

instagram.com/hopsinglaundromat

1029 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Garage

rainbow outside of Garage restaurant
rainbow outside of Garage restaurant - @garagefishtown / Instagram

If Eric Forman's basement from "That '70s Show" was a laidback bar in Philly, it would absolutely be Garage. Similarly, if you've ever really wanted to go hang out in the garage car shop from "The Princess Diaries," where a cool band practiced as people hung out and listened, again, go to Garage. There are two locations, one in Fishtown and one in Passyunk. Though this spot can be an ideal Philly bar to watch the Super Bowl or any game on TV, that's not why it's on here. It's way, way more than a sports bar-esque spot.

Garage is serving up some fun-spirited drinks, like the Funbags, which are literally cocktails in bags with flavors like fruit punch and blue raspberry lemonade, a whole arsenal of beer options, and some classic shots (who can resist a green tea shot?). Don't count out the homemade pierogies, either, and get the cheesesteak flavor. Also, for the ultimate fusion snack, get the kielbasa bao buns with wasabi aioli and kimchi, and watch your world be forever changed.

garagephilly.com

Multiple locations

The Methodology

people taking shots
people taking shots - Mark Makela/Getty Images

In order to come up with this list, I took a look at pretty much everything Philly had to offer in terms of unique experiences. Classic pubs, sports bars, nightclubs, and dance clubs weren't included because those places deserve their own articles about which are the best in the city. This was about places you might not have heard of that offer something special to the scene.

These bars serve much more than just alcohol, music, and a place to sit: The spots offer an experience. I've been to a lot of these places myself, so I pulled from personal experience as well as other locals' findings and a lot of research to see if there were any hidden gems left to add.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.