Good Dog Bar
224 S 15th St
Imagine Smokes' but smaller. Replace the sweaty frat boys with people in their late–twenties who do their own taxes. Good Dog Bar was reminiscent of that, with a warm burgundy color scheme and soft lighting throughout. It had an upscale divey feel, with a small candle at each old wooden booth and subtle dog–themed decorations adorning the bar area. They checked our IDs at the door and within seconds we were sitting down at a comfortable booth. We ordered fried pickles with goat cheese ranch dip for $6 and chicken tenders cordon bleu with honey grain mustard sauce for $10. While we were waiting for our food, “Money” by Pink Floyd came on, and the vibe of the bar was complete. When our food finally arrived, it slapped our collective asses. We devoured both the fried pickles and chicken tenders within minutes. The pickles were coated in a layer of thin, crispy bread crumbs that paired perfectly with the goat cheese ranch dip. The chicken tenders and ham mixed together for a perfectly savory, yet sweet, bite of an animal wrapped in another animal. Though it’s slightly off the beaten path, we loved this bar and would recommend it for anyone looking to hang out and get a drink with their friends.
701 S 4th St
Nestled away in Queen Village is an elegant Southern hotel bar named Southwark. Above the door was a mounted jackalope, and the dim candlelight danced off the beautiful bar top. This is a cloth napkin establishment, ladies. There were only a few other patrons at the bar with us, but the place was so small that it felt very full. Simon and Garfunkel played softly in the bar area, while the young hipster clientele chatted quietly. We opted for an order of the short rib poutine fries for $7 and some $6 wild mushroom croquettes. The little mushroom balls were sumptuously plated atop a reservoir of pesto, evenly breaded and very light. The poutine fries were the opposite, but not in a bad way. Brown gravy, pulled short rib and cheese curds all mixed with medium–cut fries were just what we needed. There were lots of options available for sharing—just make sure you're okay with waiting a little while for it. Though this bar was very tasteful and the food was delicious, it is definitely not a college–friendly venue. The small space and low–key mood were the exact opposite of your average Thursday night at Penn. It is a great place, though, for having a drink and bite with a close friend or date.
The Sidecar Bar and Grille
2201 Christian Street
This place has all the trappings of of a chic dad bar—minus the dads and the chic. It’s right across the South St. bridge, less than a mile from campus, and unimpressive all at the same time. It’s got a long bar and some small tables underneath televisions, and plays the same classic rock as your bland uncle. It was fairly empty when we showed up 45 minutes before closing, so we decided to spice things up with an overpriced carnitas taco for $5 and some $7 macaroni carbonara. The pasta was cold and the cheese was nonexistent. Even the accompanying lime wedge wasn’t fresh. The best part of the meal were the pickled onions, but unfortunately I couldn’t order an a la carte bowl of them. Do yourself a favor and skip this block of town and its old–ass produce entirely.