My Guide to Philadelphia’s Gayborhood

Hey everyone!

So, if you know anything about me other than the fact that I’m gay – it’s probably that I live in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. If you don’t know that, it means you don’t follow me on Instagram and that’s something you need to fix. (Shameless plug: @kateaustinn).

I am constantly getting asked across various forms of social media where LGBTQ+ people visiting should go while they spend time here, so I decided I’m going to break it down by my typical night out! When people are visiting, I always show them around on the same schedule. Happy hour, dinner, bar to get one drink, home to pregame, then out!

Happy Hour:

Sampan has one of my favorite happy hours of all time. Before I was on a 100% vegan diet, Sarah and I would go here at least once a week. I mean, $4 wine and $4 edamame dumplings… where can you go wrong? Seriously.. it’s so cheap and everything on their HH food menu is unbelievable. If you’re coming to Philly, I highly suggest stopping by even if you can’t make it for their happy hour. It’s all so reasonably price and soo delicious. Their ice cream sushi is out of this world.

UBAR is a small, cute little gay bar on Camac and Locust! The vibe is super chill, everyone is really cool and the drinks are STRONG. Their happy hour has a ton of beer options, $2 off all cocktails and they have food too! It’s fun; you’re guaranteed to make friends and when it’s nice out they have huge windows that open up to the street. If you’re looking for something low-key, this is definitely a good option for you!

Dinner:

Vedge has most recently become my favorite restaurant. It’s an all vegan restaurant but even if you aren’t plant based, I promise you will love their food. Everything is made to be shared (how I prefer it, you get to try soo many more options) and perfectly sized. Sarah took me here on a date night a few months ago and I was BLOWN AWAY. Seriously, get their fondue. You will be licking the bowl clean. The brussel sprouts and glazed tofu are also unbelievable. Please don’t get me started on their desert… I dreamt about it for days. I’m literally drooling at the thought. If you don’t feel like eating there for dinner, at least try their happy hour. It’s amazing!

If you’re craving mexican and love a good Stephen Starr restaurant, you’ll love El Vez. Before I was vegan, I would go here and devour their nachos. Seriously – they’re unreal. Tune into your inner basic bitch, order a blood orange margarita and get ready to eaaaat. From their nachos to their crispy mahimahi tacos, your taste buds will be in heaven. They have like 6 different guacamoles, tons of different appetizers and it’s all perfect for sharing. Plus, they have a Photo Booth you can go to take fun photos in!

If you love pizza, I highly suggest trying out Nomad Pizza. It’s a little more chill than the other two places but the food is just as amazing. They have tons and tons of different types of pies, along with amazing appetizers and tons of beer to choose from. Plus, the have a vegan pizza!

A quick drink:

This is easy. Charlie was a sinner. It’s an all vegan bar (try their food – it’s amazing). They’re an upscale cocktail bar and all of the drinks are unreal. I went with about 5 other people a few weeks ago, each of us with a different preference in what kind of drink we like and all of us got something we LOVED. I’m telling you, between getting to watch your cocktail be made and then actually getting to enjoy it – you will not be disappointed.

Bars/Clubs:

Toasted Walnut is a “lesbian bar” on Walnut street in the Gayborhood. I put lesbian in quotes because honestly, it’s mostly gay men haha. Regardless, when my friends and I are going out we love starting here! It’s always really chill, it doesn’t take long to get a drink and they have a pong table. Plus, if they have a cover it’s never more than like $3.

After we get started there, we typically head over to Woody’s. It’s hands down the most well known bar/club in the Gayborhood. It’s huge, there are tons of bars and tons of different rooms and it’s always a lot of fun. If you get in before 11, you don’t have to pay a cover and sometimes they hand out tickets for free shots with your wristband. Honestly, sometimes we go before 11 and leave just so we don’t have to pay their cover. Times are tough, don’t judge me. Woody’s is connected to GloBar. This is Sarah’s favorite bar in the city. She always blacks out and dances and flashes her boobies. I fall more in love with her every time. Anyways, I like Woody’s because all of their different rooms have themes. There’s a hip-hop room, a pop/dance music room, etc. There’s tons of stuff to do and you seriously can’t get bored there. One time a gay man cut me in line in the bathroom and then tried to fight me when I confronted him while Celine Dion played in the background. I can’t make this shit up.

After Hours Club:

Voyeur is most popular, for sure. If you aren’t ready to go home after the bar closes at 2am, I suggest stumbling over to Gay Pizza across the street and then getting in line for Voyeur. It’s three floors, open until 4am and serves alcohol until 3am. It smells like sweat and regret but it’s always so much fun. There are tons of bars, tons of dance floors and lot’s of different themed rooms.

If you don’t like paying a $15+ cover, Tavern on Camac is cover free and has an upstairs with a smaller, but just as fun dance floor. It’s not open QUITE as late as Voyeur but sometimes I think that’s a blessing in disguise. Their pour is heavy and the music is great! (If you’re a theater nerd, Sunday’s are Showtune Sunday’s and you can dance your Sunday Funday away to broadway hits)

Bonus section! Sunday Brunch:

Like any other basic bitch, Sarah and I love brunch. Green Eggs Cafe has an insane menu with tons of vegan options. The wait can sometimes be long but I promise it’s worth it. They have a waffle stuffed with cookie dough, need I say more? Well incase you need more convincing, their vegan burger is absolutely unbelievable and their french fries are even better. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

While Knock doesn’t have like…. any vegan options, sometimes the main course during brunch is the alcohol. Their Knock Mimosa is delicious and I got drunk off of two. Plus, the staff is super sweet. I loved their food before I was vegan so if you’re not plant based, you’d probably love it! If you’re there on a Sunday, see if Colin is bartending. He’s the cutest, sweetest lil gay boy and I love him to pieces.

Other Randoms:

Big. Gay. Ice. Cream. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s ice cream. But gayer. No seriously, it’s a fun take on amazing flavors. Sarah is addicted, she wants to go every day in the summer. Plus, the inside is full of unicorns, glitter and rainbows.

The rainbow crosswalk! There’s not much to say about it, but it’s totally worth taking a picture in front of! It’s on the corner of 13th and Locust. One time, Sarah and I took a picture kissing on it and a nun drove passed and honked at us. That’s the end of the story, I wish it was more entertaining.

Giovanni’s Room is the oldest LGBTQ+ book store in the country. It’s adorable inside and has a HUGE selection of Feminist and LGBTQ+ friendly books!

That’s all my gay little brain can think of right now. Just wanna preface this by saying there are so many more dinner and drink options all over the Gayborhood. These are just my favorite spots in my neighborhood. If you have any favorites, please leave a comment down below, I love trying new places and hearing all of your suggestions! Let me know what you think about this post and if you’d like to see more posts like this in the future!

Love you guys!

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Comments

  1. San
    January 7, 2019 / 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve been following you for a while now since I’m having the same coming out experience as you. I travel to philly for work almost every other day and never really knew where to start out or where the good places were. Thank you for describing them so in depth, I appreciate ya!

    • kateaustinn
      January 7, 2019 / 11:25 pm

      I’m so happy it could help you!!

  2. Drg
    January 8, 2019 / 12:45 pm

    I literally moved to center city 6 days ago! Perfect timing!! Thank you!

    • kateaustinn
      January 23, 2019 / 11:21 pm

      You guys HAVE to come! That would be so fun!

  3. L
    January 19, 2019 / 5:44 pm

    That’s so cute, reminded me of my long distance relationship, me and my wife were 7,649 mi away to be exact.
    I remember how hopeless it felt and how heartbroken we were to say goodbye, but we made it. We did long distance for two years and we’ve been living together for 4 years so far! When we first met online, we didnt even know if we are ever going to see each other. 24 hours flight was in between us, seemed so far away and very costly! But when love is there you can move mountains and I’m glad we did !!

    • kateaustinn
      January 23, 2019 / 11:33 pm

      “When love is there, you can move mountains” – I LOVE that. It’s so true. You find a way to make your love work. So happy you’re happy, sending you all my love!!

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