The autumn before the pandemic, in search of some new ideas, I asked 10 good friends to send me their favorite Philly spots and three listed Sassafras Bar in Olde City (an area of the city known for its Colonial-era sites, including Elfreth’s Alley, a small residential street inhabited since 1703 which is just a short stroll from the bar). I was a bit miffed, as it’s among my top 3 favorites as well, but then thought: we just have good taste.
A great bar for a romantic date or a night out with friends, Sassafras, which self-describes as “the Grand Dame of old neighborhood bars” is dark and cozy, with a beautiful vintage wooden bar fitted with behind-the-bar mirrors, little seating nooks in the back, and a curvy staircase with a Toulouse Lautrec-like mural leading up to a large bathroom replete with a comfy sofa.
The bartenders are top-notch and make you feel at home as they mix you up a cocktail or pour you a beer from their rotating list. Try a French Snap cocktail with vodka and ginger liquor, a French Dip Absinthe or a local beer from a local brewery. They often have jazz musicians in to play up front and make a great burger with fries. I love to meet friends there before or after a film at the Ritz Five around the corner at 2nd and Walnut.