Philadelphia is lively city. Though within reasonable driving distance from New York City, Philadelphia has its own flavor–and it tastes good. Sports fanatics mix in with the crowd of art-minded hipsters on South Street without flaw. And South Street is precisely where so much of the action in Philadelphia takes place. From shopping to live music, throngs of residents and visitors decorate the street and support the businesses along the way. This is great for those businesses and convenient for those leisurely walking, but what about the businesses just off of South Street? By taking a two block detour off of South Street a couple weekends ago, I discovered a bar/restaurant that was designed for residents and locals alike.
Vesuvio is tucked away on the corner of 8th street and Fitzwater. It’s a homey dive bar with an indie music selection that would make Brooklyn bars shrivel in their vintage boots. It’s a fine-dining restaurant turned bar restaurant with menu options that hint to the fact that the restaurant was once something more. Crab dip, vegetarian pizza, and portobello melts aren’t the kinds of typical bar food I’m used to, but Vesuvio’s masters them. (And the Today show rated their Cheesesteak BLT as the best sandwich in America). It’s a dance club/party space upstairs. DJs, live music, and a collection of wild dancers fill the upstairs space each Thursday-Saturday. From reggae nights to ’80’s nights, you’d hardly guess that Vesuvio also operates as an Eagles headquarter during the season. With famous commentators throwing parties and television screens all over the place tuned into whichever game you’re watching, it seems to me as though Vesuvio hits all the right spots. And yet the place is still more unknown than it should be. The Philadelphia native escorting me around that weekend had never heard of it. New friends I met at a dance party the night before had never heard of it. But now that I’ve drank and eaten there, I want everyone to hear about it.
Vesuvio follows a simple formula for perfection: Comfort+Good Music+Good Drinks+Good Food+Fun People=perfect bar/restaurant. The next time you’re in Philadelphia, take a couple minutes to walk away from South Street and explore this wonderful, and wonderfully hidden, gem.
By: Elizabeth Seward