SHS is like a Sexual Health Mecca. They have everything from STD testing to birth control to Plan B. Yeah, you could go to CVS and steal some condoms and a pregnancy test like some kind of Midwestern teenager, but this is Penn—just make your mom pay for your pregnancy scare (you’re less likely to get arrested, too). The most amazing thing about all this is that it won't say "chlamydia testing" on your bill, it will just say "SHS fee." You can tell your parents you had a sinus infection and needed to get some Mucinex. Getting tested/checking on your sexual health is super important (read a pamphlet some time) but getting it anonymously without leaving campus? That's priceless.
Address: 3535 Market St. We recommend: Using protection
The best thing about Bob & Barbara’s is that it’s not a gay bar. But for one glorious night a week—smokey eyes, cherry lips, stilettos on—lights up on a half dozen of the most glamorous drag queens you’ve ever seen. Instead of the typical “remix–of–pop–diva–hits–and–guys– in–mesh–tanks” scene you find at other gay bars, Bob & Barbara’s will thrill, chill and fulfill you with unique artistry and costumes, vibrant lip syncs and six–foot–tall people in wigs yelling at you to give them money. Hosted by Miss Lisa Lisa, the girl so nice they named her twice, the Thursday night drag show offers a more laid back alternative to your typical gay bar, but with just as much glitter.
But it’s not just the drag queens that make Bob & Barbara’s the best gay bar, it’s the history surrounding it. Open since 1969, fewer bars in Philly are as well–known or as versatile (pun in- tended) as B&B. Home of the Citywide Special (a can of PBR and a shot of Jim Beam for $3), which you can now get in almost any bar in Philadelphia, Bob & Barbara’s has surely left its mark as the best in Philly. Let the music play on.
Address: 1509 South St. We recommend: Doing three Citywides before midnight
We at Street firmly believe that the antidote to finals stress is some good, old–fashioned fisting. Fear not, young Quakers and Quakettes. You, too, can squeeze in some QT during your twenty minute break before recitation at the Kelly Family Gate outside of the Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall. Completely made up of metal hands, the gate is there to please and serve. When you need a helping hand—or just a finger—these detached limbs are happy to acquiesce to your every request. Forego the jungle juice and “flirting” and forget your safe word. We prefer getting fucked to the sound of cold, stony silence. If you’re nervous or not so good at climbing, give Street a call. We love nothing more than a bit of community service. Or you can meet us in one of the Huntsman bathrooms. We’ll be on the other side of that hole in the wall. ;)
Address: 200 S. 36th St. We recommend: Fisting yourself
You’ve heard (and probably bragged about) the Penn/Hogwarts comparisons. You’ve undoubtedly Instagrammed College Hall, Fisher Fine Arts or the Quad at least once. ARCH 208 brings the wonders of architectural detail and dark wood paneling to the classroom. Finally a room that avoids the claustrophobic “classrooms” found everywhere from Goddard Labs to DRL. With mega–high ceilings and elaborate windows, the multi–purpose auditorium is a bright and exciting space to zone out on your laptop. The two raised platforms (stages?) and giant flat–screens serve somewhat questionable purposes, but still create opportunity for some pretty creative and interactive class presentations.
Address: 3601 Locust Walk We recommend: Arriving to class on time
Banana chocolate chip, peanut butter, chocolate–coconut. Are your taste buds watering yet? No, these aren’t just your run of the mill Insomnia cookies; they’re little, round bites of heaven from everyone’s favorite vegetarian food truck. They might not leave behind those ubiquitous circular grease marks like their Insomnia brethren, but they’re just as scrumptious and probably much less likely to clog your arteries. Magic Carpet has the best cookies ($1 each) to offer for anyone craving a little something something with their lunch. The flavors change daily, with a seemingly endless array of combinations. Made with oats and exotic “healthy” ingredients, you can even pretend that the cookie is good for you and grab a second. So next time you’re in line for some vegetarian chili or falafel, make sure to add a cookie to that purchase.
Addresses: Food trucks on 36th and Spruce and 34th and Walnut We recommend: Treating yo' self
Why would you ever waste money at a thrift shop when you could just take advantage of your very own Locust Walk–in closet? Fling has most likely flung your entire Nasty Gal purchase that you overnighted last Tuesday all over Philadelphia. You’d be lucky to have only twenty dollars in your pocket. Hell, you’d be lucky to still have the tank on your back. Literally hit up any lost and found within a five–mile radius and you’re bound to replace any misplaced/stolen/burned items. Lose your sunglasses at Castle’s darty? Saunter over to the mini Sunglass Hut behind the Rosengarten information desk (they even have non–prescription for all of you “hipsters”). Speaking of prescription, there’s also a container of Adderall for anyone named Josh. Need a new leather jacket? Call Rumor and inquire about the one you may or may not have actually lost. Color? Something as generic as the statement of mind in which you lost it.
No cab fare, no mothballs, no sweat. Just a guilty conscious for those with a moral compass. Cheers to kleptomania.Address: Everywhere We recommend: Checking the security cameras
Who doesn’t sigh “ugh” when they see another invite to a downtown at Rumor or Recess? We all want a place to get down and dirty that isn’t the usual downtown venues or Smokey Joe’s. Lock the doors, lower the blinds, fire up the smoke machine and put on your heels, because we are about to get rowdy at Club Pulse. Self–advertised as “Philadelphia’s premier hot spot,” Pulse Night Club promises to always be a good time, complete with floor–to–ceiling mirrors, a chaotically cosy dance floor and super cheap drinks. This Center City gem offers a variety of retro DJ mixes and even art laser effects. You are allowed to smoke inside, and the bar is scattered with ashtrays. The small venue allows you to truly express yourself with a quick pop, lock and drop it with a gaggle of friends, until it closes at 3:30 a.m. This oasis is the perfect place for nights we won’t remember, but will never forget. Just ask the THEOS bros who had a formal there.
Address: 1526 Sansom St. We recommend: BYO glow sticks
Located at 34th and Race St. inside of the ever–bustling Northside Dining Terrace, Drexel's Chick–fil–A is a hub for fried–food lovers and homophobes alike. If you are heterosexual and have no regard for your health, this is the place for you. This 2.5–Yelp–star establishment is dishing up classics like the "Chicken Sandwich" ($3.25), "Chick–n–Strips" ($3.65 for three), "Chick–fil–A Nuggets" ($3.25 for eight), "Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich" ($4.75) and "Waffle Fries" ($1.45). An express location, Drexel's Chick– fil–A offers long wait times, limited selection and the creme–de–la–creme of Dragons tryna use up those remaining D–Dollars. During lunchtime the space is cramped and the food runs out quickly, meaning you will have plenty of time to pursue that MRS degree with other patrons confused about why they had to transition the fryer oil at one p.m. According to one 2012 Yelp–reviewer, "no one here seems to openly hate the gay population like the higher ups of this company. But who knows!" Who. Knows.
The best news? Chick–fil–A now participates in Penn's On–Campus Recruiting. Get those resumes ready, lovebirds. Nothing says sexy like the power that comes from a red polo behind the counter.
Address: 3351 Race St. We recommend: Chik’n
Finally, a daily deal to reward our unhealthy habits and excessive rates of consumption. With an interior that resembles the bastard child of the Magic School Bus and an Amtrak Cafe Car, Mark’s Cafe is like a buzzing fluorescent carrel light in the Van Pelt darkness. The coffee, sushi and sandwiches will fuel you like an infomercial diet. However, to compete with the neighboring cafes like Taco Bell and CVS, Mark’s Cafe offers coffee punch cards—buy eight hot medium coffees and get one small coffee free. The benefits of using your Mark’s Cafe punch card include: bond- ing with the cafe employees, caffeination, peering out the largish Mark’s Cafe windows. This daily deal also offers a reward for using dining dollars/ bursar, incentivizing mediocrity and Bon Appetit. With competitive hours, 8:30 a.m.—2 a.m. on weekdays, your free 2 a.m. coffee will definitely be worth it. Wake up tomorrow and do it again.
Address: 3420 Walnut St., basement of Van Pelt We recommend: Sushi with your coffee
Bootleg poetry is better than bootleg liquor. And since we're no longer living under Prohibition (hard to believe considering our recent insurgence of undercover cops), modern day Gatsbys are more likely to be found nursing their heartache in a certain Kelly Writers House, home of angsty singer–songwriters and wannabe beatniks since 1997. While traditional speakeasies of the Franklin Mortgage variety often involve expensive–ass drinks made with unpronounceable ingredients, Speakeasy at the Kelly Writers House is free. Plus, this open mic night contains a bevy of fun raffle prizes, banjo–strumming cuties and enough creative energy to boot you out of that pre–professional lull (beating ceaselessly against the current of your soul, or whatever).
Address: 3805 Locust Walk We recommend: Leaving your judgment at the door
The best place to go this Saturday isn’t the Bio pond or your big big’s friend’s aunt’s dog’s backyard, or even that funky food court next to CVS—it’s the cemetery. For some reason this serene grassy expanse is pretty low on Penn’s radar—possibly because under that cushy turf lie a bunch of decaying corpses—but when you’re floating on fragrant fumes and contemplating the transience of life, there’s no better place to zone out than leaning against a mossy headstone, six feet above someone who’s already been through it all. Maybe you’ll be stricken with a philosophical epiphany about the eternal cycle between earthly and spiritual existence, or maybe you’ll just get really paranoid and wonder how soon you’ll be joining your new inanimate buddies. Either way, the Woodlands Cemetery is worth a visit the next time you’re in the mood for an herbal hit.
Address: 4000 Woodland Ave. We recommend: Purple haze, not dying
Considering the number of Jews who go to Penn, it’s honestly an outrage that there isn’t a single decent bagel place near campus. That’s why we suggest you haul ass to the city (the real city) if you’re craving a good old fashioned bread donut. New York bagels are boiled before being baked, while imposter products take the easier and cheaper way out by steaming the dough. (What, you think we couldn’t tell?) The ticket to get to NYC might be a little pricy, but your stomach will thank you. Get it toasted, loaded up with fish and dairy products, flat, scooped out, rainbow or salted. You can have whatever you like. If you can't find it at Tal, H&H or Ess–a–bagel, you certainly won't be able to find it in the back of a truck or next to Houston Market. You would think that in a city that shares its name with the leading cream cheese brand, a good bagel wouldn’t be so goddamn hard to find. But it’s time to face the facts: no bagel sold in Philly is worth any of your precious time, money or daily caloric allowance.
Addresses: 2446 Broadway, New York (Tal), 1551 2nd Ave, New York (H&H), 831 3rd Ave, New York (Ess–a–Bagel) We recommend: Bagels, all of them
Fried Oreos are so last year. The best snack for sale at the Quad Fling carnival this year was no doubt Lil' Pop Shop popsicles. Perfect for cooling off and curing those sugar drunchies, their popsicles are available year round on 44th between Locust and Spruce, just a short walk from campus. Plus, this sweet snack won't weigh on your conscience or wallet: Lil' Pop Shop uses only natural and local ingredients, and for $3 (including tax), a popsicle saves you the hassle of the accidental $8 froyo. Sure, they've got exciting cutting– edge flavors like "green tea with mochi" and "beets with creme fraiche and black sesame," but they also have classics like raspberry lemonade and mint chocolate chunk for the less adventurous. As summer rapidly approaches, a popsicle from Lil’ Pop Shop is the best, fresh treat to satisfy both your sweet and savory cravings on a hot (or even cold) day.
Address: 265 S. 44th St. We recommend: A burrito at Honest Tom’s beforehand
Between classes, on the toilet, late at night—these are the perfect times to virtually see and be seen on tinder. It’s the quickest and easiest way to scan through the best and worst that Philadelphia has to offer. All you need to do is pause, judge and swipe left or right. If more scrutiny is needed to make your decision you can scroll through the three or four pictures displayed, examine your shared interests (which you probably chose in 2006) and mutual friends. You can tell more about a person on Tinder than by watching them walk by on the street. If it’s not a match, move on and keep tindering, there are hundreds familiar and unfamiliar faces to consider. If it is a match, maybe you’ll make some awkward small talk (recommended icebreaker: so, do you like cheese?), maybe you’ll avoid eye contact for the rest of your Penn life or maybe you’ll meet the love of you life and lie to everyone about how you met (just tell them it was love at first sight and then change the conversation).
Address: Your phone, everywhere. We recommend: Swiping left
It’s easy to miss these little beauties on your way out of the pouches of joy. Choose your level of heat, or go with Verde if you’re feeling adventurous, and let the master chefs at TBell take your taste buds on a tantalizing flavor safari (that’s a thing, right?). The best part? You can stockpile these babies, and the kind but inattentive workers behind the counter make it all too easy to snatch them by the handful. “Where have you been all my life?” is the saying on one particular packet of Mild sauce; we were wondering the exact same thing.
Address: 3401 Walnut St. We recommend: Crunchwrap Supreme at three a.m. with fire sauce
Though it might surprise you, there’s more to Pottruck than furiously stair–stepping sorostitutes and enormous men shouting in ecstasy as heavy things are lifted up then put back down again. Despite the humidity and noise levels, the strong Wi–Fi and rich pickings of unused outlets also make Pottruck a supportive environment for the stressed student looking to charge his computer while working out and working to complete his next assignment. One area in particular stands out: the second floor basketball courts. The mix of out of shape middle aged men, we–got–to–state–in–high–school–but–I’m–too–academically–focused–to–play–college–ball frat stars and actual athletes insures that your courtside study spot will be filled with errant air balls, missed passes and the occasional bro tumbling backwards from what was “totally a foul!” While common sense might dictate that these are reasons to not study there, common sense is actually a filthy liar. As any surgeon will tell you, nothing focuses the mind like fear, and there’s nothing better to get the heart rate up than basketballs whizzing past your head and (more importantly) your $3,000 computer. But be careful—it’s wicked hard to balance a laptop on a fear–boner.
Address: 3701 Walnut St. We recommend: Protein shake with your fear–boner
In the heart of Rittenhouse Square, European Wax Center takes the cake for best wax. A bikini wax ($33) is a challenging and intricate task; not just anybody can do it. At European Wax Center, you’ll find cleanliness, superb service and anonymity to boot. Since the aestheticians here use hard wax rather than waxing strips, this method is ideal for those with sensitive skin, and far less painful. Unlike spa locations on campus (I’m looking at you, Adolf Biecker), European Wax Center has the added bonus of privacy. There’s never a need to worry about someone overhearing Round Up worthy stories from the previous weekend. With your PennCard, you can purchase the Student Wax Pass and receive a fourth waxing service for free with the purchase of three full–priced waxing services. Even better: first–time guests get a wax for free.
Address: 35 S. 18th St. We recommend: Full body wax; go big or go home
Campus gets new additions all the time. Some are disappointing (looking at you, Frontera), some are sexy (sup, Hub-Bub brothers?) and some have yet to prove their mettle (bring it on, Class of 2018). Few are as special as Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga’s latest culinary venture, The Fat Ham, located a short trot east from your class at DRL. Serving up down–home southern small plates—grits that would make Paula Deen’s chins shudder in envy, catfish so tender you’ll want to shake the fin of the little guy who gave his life for your appetizer—with a side of the largest whiskey selection in Philly, The Fat Ham is a diamond in the generally rough culinary desert we call home. It’s an ideal date night spot for those looking to semi–splurge (all the small plates add up), and calling ahead makes it the perfect early evening snack to bring back to VP. The atmosphere is refined but welcoming, the wait staff nice and knowledgeable and the fried “hot chicken” walks a fine line between being too damn searing to even smell and being so damn good you want to lick the bones. Stop by for good eats and maybe a glimpse of the Top Chef champ himself—sorry boos, he’s married.
Address: 3131 Walnut St. We recommend: Bringing a worthy date
Philadelphia is too damn full of good restaurants for the same five Italian BYOs to BYO dominate the off–campus date scene. Far sexier than an overpriced bowl of pasta is a meal at Kanella. Whether for dinner or brunch, this Cypriot kitchen offers a Mediterranean menu that will temporarily distract you from what base you’re getting to after this. Not only is it a BYO, but it also offers options for carnivores, vegetarians and gluten–free peeps. For brunch, start your day with the Kanella platter ($12), a smorgasbord of salads, falafels and dips and a French press of coffee (bonus: you won’t have to ask for refills). There’s orange juice available as a mixer, but the better bet is lemonnana ($3), the Mediterranean answer to an Arnold Palmer that mixes fresh lemonade and mint tea. Vodka doesn’t make it worse. On the dinner side of things, the manti ($10), ground lamb dumplings with paprika yogurt sauce, are great to share. End your evening on a sweet note with the fig and almond tart with homemade ice cream ($8). It’s not stale tiramisu, it’s way better. If you’re celebrating a big anniversary, consider signing up for the Sunday night family style Chef ’s dinner. The menu changes every week but there will be mezze and memories made.
Address: 1001 Spruce St. We recommend: Kanella platter, Lemonnana, Fig and almond tart
As is a well–acknowledged fact of life, the most important thing in a late–night hook–up is not quality but availability. Admittedly, with its basement location next to the Sheraton and its mystery cheese pizza toppings, no one envisions their night ending with Axis. But are Allegro Pizza or Hip City or Pod picking up your call at three a.m. when all you have in your fridge is Bankers and an egg? Face it, they’re probably banging someone else. Axis is sitting around waiting for your call, ready and willing to fulfil your desires: fries, baked ziti and cheese that slides off the pizza to make geometric shapes in the corner of the box.
Address: 20 S. 36th St. We recommend: Going to bed