As you may or may not have heard, Fishtown seems to be where people move when they want the feel of old-school Philly without the sticker shock of an Olde City apartment. That’s not to be misunderstood, though — Fishtown isn’t the “lite” version of Philly by any means. It attracts people from Center City, Northeast Philly, and even the suburbs with its popular spots like bar and music venue Johnny Brenda’s or the Zagat-worshiped Loco Pez.
But only the residents know why people really move here.
Home to hidden gems, Fishtown has tons of new, up-and-coming, or simply lesser-known establishments that keep it quaint and cozy by day but light it up at night. Here are some of my personal favorites.
Interstate Draft House
Are you ever ready for the weekend by Tuesday night? Locals know that Interstate Draft House, on the corner of Palmer and Moyer, is the place to be when the mid-week blues have you jonesin’ for a craft brew, some of which are on special for $3 on Tuesdays. Lucky for you, it’s also Taco Tuesday, meaning dollar tacos as far as the eye can see. Though maybe small, Interstate is mighty: its menu features things like alligator and beef chili and it’s got an outdoor patio to enjoy during warmer weather. To top it off, the tight-knit atmosphere makes it a great place to watch sporting events.
“Urban Farm” sounds like something of an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why we like it so much: it keeps Fishtown interesting. There’s something to be said for the team of dedicated agriculturalists who managed to turn concrete into greenery, and did they ever: you can buy everything from vegetables to succulents to terrariums to honey at this greenhouse-slash-farmstand. Don’t forget to stop in to visit Milkshake, the fat, white pig who lives there, and all his furry friends.
Nestled right amidst all the popular bars on Frankford Ave, Jinxed is that store that has everything you never knew you needed. Antique furniture, deer heads, vintage mirrors, and other quirky pieces are brought into the shop daily, making it easy to get lost in. The prices on everything are ridiculously reasonable, and you can even follow them on Facebook and Instagram if you want to call first dibs on a new find. Half the houses in Fishtown are probably furnished with Jinxed finds.
You walk into Sketch Burger and are immediately overwhelmed — in a good way — by the insanely comprehensive sandwich menu. Want bacon and eggs on your burger? They have that. Dr. Pepper pulled pork? Yeah, that’s a thing. Truffle butter? They’d be offended if you didn’t. Even vegans are welcome, since bean burgers and seitan specials are regular items. Then, after you order your burger, which is large enough to last you three separate meals, you can doodle your ode to Sketch Burger with crayon on a piece of paper, and they’ll hang it on the wall for you. The environment is in true keeping with Fishtown’s vibe.
The Lola Bean
You can’t have a cool neighborhood without the perfect cafe, and The Lola Bean is the perfect cafe. Between the amazing pastries and the stacks upon stacks of books kept on hand, some visitors come for brunch and have a hard time leaving. That’s okay, though – they offer free refills of coffee to those who stick around, and if you’re hungry again, the handmade sandwiches are designed to keep you coming back.
As if these unique spots aren’t enough to keep the neighborhood interesting, Fishtown is so up-and-coming that it seems like there’s something new to do every week. Spots like these are the reason it’s the best of every world: city nightlife, hip dining, farms, and cozy cafes are all wrapped up in one.
Frank L. DeFazio is a native and current resident of Philadelphia. Frank’s skill, reputation and work ethic are widely hailed in Philadelphia and the CenterCityTeam has been recognized by Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors and Philadelphia Magazine for their local expertise and commitment to world class customer service.