One of the USA’s biggest and most historically important cities, there is a dizzying array of things to see and do during any visit. From culturally and historically important sites such as Independence Hall and its key role in the foundation of the nation to Philly’s rich musical influence - particularly its soul connections - you could spend endless rewarding days exploring the beating heart of this bustling metropolis. And speaking of music, if you’re a fan of a good beat, then you’ll likely want to sample the city’s hip-hop scene during your stay. Read on for some of the best hip hop bars and clubs in Philadelphia.
Self-styled as Philadelphia’s “premier nightclub” Trilogy is sure to appeal to music fans who want to dance into the small hours during their visit. Open four nights a week until 3.30am its expansive interior features 3 different floors, 6 bars and 8 VIP areas. Its live DJs play sets from all manner of genres, including R&B and hip-hop - so you’re likely to find the perfect vibe for you. Striking features also include the view of the city from the third floor and its ‘Egyptian’ room. It’s also a popular and award-winning hookah bar, with more than 50 different flavours to enjoy.
Address: 601 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Opening hours: 10pm to 3.30am (Thursdays to Sundays)
2. Pulse Night Club
This city centre night spot entertains music and club fans three nights a week until 3 am. It may be compact but its stylish decor - complete with luminous blue bar and glowing amber ceiling - and top DJs mean it can be a popular spot. And its central location means it will be easy to get to and from the venue, as there are a number of subway stations nearby. Naturally, its position within Center City also means there should be plenty of eatery options nearby as well, should you be looking for food before your late night dancing.
Pulse Night Club
Address: 1526 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Website: Pulse Night Club
Opening hours: 10.30pm to 3am
3. NOTO Philadelphia
Short for Not of the Ordinary, NOTO is a strikingly stylish nightclub - whose contrasting blue and red/gold mood lighting make for a memorable appearance. It is one of the trendier night-spots in the city and caters to the upscale end of the market. Expect, therefore, to pay higher prices for drinks, entry and coat-check than you might in other venues and make sure to stick to the dress code. What’s more the balcony on the 2nd floor provides a useful vantage spot to watch the DJs at work. Upcoming artists include the likes of Firebeatz, Mel DeBarge and Borgeous.
Address: 1209 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA
Website: NOTO Philadelphia
Opening hours: 10pm to 2am (Fridays and Saturdays). Times vary for special events, some of which are on Thursdays. Check website.
4. Cavanaugh's River Deck
If you’re after a bar or nightspot with a view then you may want to check out Cavanaugh’s River Deck. As you’d expect from the name, it is right down by the riverfront - a location that won fans among past bar-goers who enjoyed the outside deck area in the summer. Capable of hosting up to 1000 customers, a busy night means there’ll be plenty of excitement, while the top DJs who perform at the site are on a rotation, so things shouldn’t get stale if you opt for more than one visit. What’s more, the presence of mechanical bull riding and foam pit add to the fun, while the menu means you’ll be able to tuck into food before the night kicks in.
Cavanaugh's River Deck
Address: 417 North Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia PA
Website: Cavanaugh’s River Deck
Opening hours: 8pm to 2am (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). Hours vary depending on season and special events.
5. Dolphin Tavern
This bar, which was once a famous go-go bar in the city, has been entertaining party-goers continuously since its 2013 revamp. From Noughties-era rap parties to ‘Open for Business’ (which caters to everything from hip-hop to disco), the Dolphin Tavern hosts top DJs most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Its mix of differing DJ music styles means it’s an option for fans of many different genres - including hip-hop. Its clientele also enjoys happy hour and early-bird specials. And there are even private bookings should you plan on partying with a large enough group.
Address: 1539 South Broad Street | Philadelphia, PA
Website: Dolphin Tavern
Opening hours: 9pm to 2am (Wednesdays to Saturdays)
Featuring five different dance rooms and as many DJs under the same roof, you won’t just enjoy hip-hop at Woody’s but a range of different music styles - from house to classic throwback tracks. Of course, if it’s hip-hop you come for then you can simply stick with your favoured music style - but if you’re part of a bigger group, this mix will provide options to cater for many tastes. What’s more, depending on the night of your visit, you can enjoy everything from karaoke night fun every Wednesday to DJ Mike Nyce’s hip-hop and party tracks each Thursday. A food menu, featuring such party stalwarts as buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks, will also help ward off the munchies during your revelries.
Address: 202 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Opening hours: 5pm to 2am (daily)
7. Johnnie Bleu
Past nightspot revellers were big fans of the hookah and hip-hop music choices in this popular lounge bar on the city’s busy North Broad Street. Its position places it within easy reach of local transport links, for getting to and from the venue. And, while there’s a fee-paying ATM on site, the bar does not accept credit cards - so bear that in mind when hitting this nightspot. Past guests also praised some of the food choices on offer.
Address: 812 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA
Website: Johnnie Bleu
Opening hours: 6pm to 2am (daily)
8. Boot & Saddle
If you like your music setting intimate, then Boot & Saddle may be an option for you. This evening bar and late night venue won praise from its customers for its intimate atmosphere and for providing a platform for up-and-coming acts. Musicians of all manner of genres perform at the site, and there are usually multiple acts each week - so if you don’t fancy the entertainment that night, you’ll likely not have long to wait for an act you do wish to listen to. Customers were also big fans of the beer and food selection, with several arguing that they’d happily visit even if the bar wasn’t a small concert venue as well. Speaking of food, the bar comes with a range of options, either for sharing with friends - such as popcorn chicken or vegan cauliflower wings - or solo meals.
Boot & Saddle
Address: 1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Website: Boot & Saddle
Opening hours: 5pm to 2am (daily). Show times vary.
Not just a popular nightspot, but also home to one of Philly’s higher-rated eateries, L'Etage is situated within the popular Beau Monde restaurant and will appeal to those who wish to make a long evening of it and are maybe looking to fill their stomachs with some tasty treats before hitting the dance floor. L'Etage is Beau Monde’s night club, and it features everything from weekly DJ nights offering the likes of “urban spins” to cabaret and burlesque. Naturally, if you’re reading this list, you’re likely more interested in the former rather than the latter, but this variety means that larger groups, or friends with different musical tastes, may wish to pop back on other nights.
Address: 624 South 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Opening hours: Midday to 9pm (Tuesdays to Thursdays); Midday to 10pm (Fridays); 10am to 10pm (Saturdays); 10am to 9pm (Sundays). Closed Mondays. Show times vary.
10. Oddity Bar
Those prepared to take the short journey across the state line into nearby Wilmington may wish to give the Oddity Bar a whirl. This popular bar and nightspot offers a range of musical events every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night featuring an array of local bands, and covering a range of musical styles - should you be happy to take your chances that the tunes will be to your taste. There are more than 100 beers available, so those who like a good ale will likely also find much to enjoy. Indeed, the huge selection of drinks was a highlight among past customers.
Address: 500 Greenhill Avenue, Wilmington, DE 1980
Website: Oddity Bar
Opening hours: 5pm to 1am (daily, except Sundays and Mondays)
Get ready to party
A city the size of Philadelphia is crammed full of nightspots to make your visit a memorable one. Go ahead and explore the hip hop bars and clubs we’ve listed above and gear up for thrilling nights in Philly.
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