120 Market Street
Don't Miss: Pickle plate
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At this magazine, we don’t like to say “if you want to get off campus...”; the trope is getting a little tired. But sincerely, if you are looking to get off campus, grabbing drinks at The Gaslight is a good way to start. Here’s the logic: in its downtown–ness, this newly outfitted gastropub helmed by “Top Chef” winner Nicholas Elmis isn’t cheap. Factor in The Gaslight’s angelic proximity to the 1st Street SEPTA stop, however, and what was your cab fare can now be converted to drink.
Cue the cocktail list: a pleasingly unambitious mixology of normal drinks like margaritas and White Russians, tweaked a bit and ]given outrageous names (all $10 per). We tried most of them and liked them as uniformly as a group of ten can—the “Big Brown” [media-credit name="Sarah Tse" align="alignright" width="300"][/media-credit]
(like a boulevardier) was a little heavy on the rye, the “Usual Suspects” (with ginger beer and vodka) a little weak, the “Pirate Hooker” kind of a champagne–dud, and the “Red Hot Mama” just right for anyone who takes happy hour with tequila.
Food at The Gaslight matches its bar–centric concept—the grub can get heavy if you ask for it, but an easy incline from snacks to entrees facilitates stomach–lining. House–made chips from Italian Market corn tortillas and fried rice play shovel to a variety of dips. A baked and herbed pumpkin one ($8) was popular at our table but I’ll diss it critically by suggesting it panders to tastebuds by emulating the insides of a pumpkin pie. Yes, good. Innovative, not.
Which is a good way to metaphorize an evening at The Gaslight—don’t spend all your money here, but spend some. The cardamom–infused beets on the pickle plate are excellent, the fries are salty, but isn’t that how they’re supposed to be?
An ideal stop at the Gaslight: pre–movie or other downtown excursion, a shared snack or two and drink orders off the big kid list. In other words, go small, not stingy, and tip the servers well. They’re relaxed and amenable, willing to let you do their place your way. Also, get “the Jawn,” (port and aged bourbon) and let us know what you think. The bar ran dry on that one before we made it in.