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The Best Music Clubs and Bars in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is home to some of the best alternative bands, bars, and music venues in the United States. Here’s a list of great places and bands to check out.


1) Johnny Brenda’s (main picture)
A bar, restaurant, and music venue which supports the local music community and regularly hosts a list of great indie bands. Located in Fishtown right across Philly’s legendary Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop (serves vegan Philly cheesesteak as well!).

2) Kung Fu Necktie
Great old school venue and bar with good but also cheap beer and a list of Punk, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Metal bands. The elevated subway in Fishtwon riding right next to the venue adds a special atmosphere.

3) Boot & Saddle
Rather small venue in South Philly supporting the local Philly music scene and alternative US bands. The bar is fun as well!

Bar and Bands! Boot & Saddle (Photo by Boot & Saddle)

4) First Unitarian Church
Legendary all-ages venue in the basement of the church. Get your beer at the corner store and enjoy the show!

The band The Orwells at First Unitarian Church (Photo by Daniel Topete)

5) Everybody Hits
A DIY space that usually serves as a practice space for hitting baseballs. Gets regulary turned into a very fine DIY music venue.

1994! at Everybody Hits (Photo by Scott Troyan)

6) Union Transfer
A bigger space and Philly’s main venue for indie and electronic music in this former farmers’ market building. Fun atmosphere and nice architecture!

Propagandhi live at Union Transfer in Philadelphia
Propagandhi at Union Transfer (Photo by Hannes Siegl)


1) Grumpy’s Tavern
No bullshit beers, burgers, and people in this old school bar in South Philly.

2) Monk’s Cafe
Great choice of American and international beers. 1,2,3,4….cheers!

3) 2nd Street Brew House
All sorts of beers from bottles, cans, tap and of course craft beer. Low key, good vibes, fun people!

There are so many great bands coming from Phildadelphia these days. Some say Philly has taken New York’s place concerning kick-ass DIY and indie bands. For more details about the range of bands and Philly’s music scene, read my interview with local music journalist John Vettese. Here are a few bands worth checking out:

1) Hop Along
ā€ˇFrances Quinlan’s unique voice, guitar sounds and lyrics have created a very special place for this indie-folk band in Philadelphia.

Hop Along

2) Beach Slang
“I’m with you. Are you with me?” James Alex’ heart and sould punk rock is the living proof that you can get old without becoming boring or a total asshole.

3) Cayetana
“And I don’t wanna think about this or you anymore” Three women who tell you how it is to live, love, create and care while trying to keep your shit and yourself together.


4) The Menzingers
Philly’s number one sing and scream along Indie Punk band. Here is my interview with singer Greg Barnett about Philly and the band.

The Menzingers (Photo by Epitaph)

5) Japanese Breakfast
Japanese Breakfast is the solo musical project of Michelle Zauner (Little Big League). Her experimental lo-fi pop crawls into your head and heart.


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