Tattooed Mom 530 South St., 215-238-9880. Nestled in among the sneaker shops of South Street, this bar brings a welcome irreverence to one of Philadelphia's most famous thoroughfares. In keeping with its motto ("Beer. Food. Fun."), the bar offers an extensive menu, plenty of beer choices (including local micro brews by Yards and Yeungling), and toys. Yes, toys. Things like spinning tops, plastic jumping frogs, and temporary tattoos are left out to keep customers entertained while their malted beverages take effect.
The first floor of Mom's is a bit tame, so head upstairs; every inch of the walls is covered with graffiti and posters, and metal and punk music fills the space. A haven for musicians and out-of-town tattoo artists, this is a unique spot in the midst of the tourist throng.
Bob & Barbara's Lounge 1509 South St., 215-545-4511. Every night, Bob & Barbara's offers a drink special: $3 for a can of Pabst and a shot of Jim Beam. This exquisite pairing—bound to engender some questionable decision-making as the night wears on—is reason enough to visit the Philly mainstay. During the day, regulars belly up, reaching for new blood-alcohol-level heights. At night, the lounge takes "mixed crowd" to a whole new level, drawing a diverse medley of professionals, students, and revelers of every size and stature. On Wednesdays, Bingo is only $3, and Thursdays feature the infamous drag show. Although bands and singer/songwriters also play here, jazz music is what it is known for—house band the Crowd Pleasers takes the stage several nights a week for what is described as "liquor-drinking music."
Silk City Diner 435 Spring Garden St., 215-592-8838. Mixing a classic '50s diner with a nightclub atmosphere, Silk City serves up delicious
comfort food with a unique, modern twist. Black velvet is in evidence throughout, whether it be the paintings on the walls or the signature Black Velvet (espresso) martini. Depending on the night, you may run into hipsters, rockers, or Rastafarians, since the eclectic music runs the gamut. But whatever
the music, the food is sure to impress at Silk City. Thai chili-glazed ribs, a BLT made with Wild Boar bacon and fried green tomatoes, and organic chili dogs are just a few of the options available. People considering a new tattoo may want to visit Silk City, too—the diverse display of body art here is inspiring.