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Nine Places to Get Good Drunk Food in Philadelphia.

June 28, 2013


The Philly Phoodie tells us where to find a bite to eat once the bars shut down. Images by Gabrielle Lavin.

Little Pete’s

The biggest after-party in Center City takes place every weekend at Little Pete’s.

The small, wood-panelled restaurant  that is open 24 hours per day is punctuated by the large U-shaped counter that’s the spot of choice for most patrons. In fact, if you come alone, don’t even try to grab one of the booths. You will be reprimanded and guided to the counter, where (depending on the night) you might get in a fight or get laid.

Or both.

The waitstaff at Little Pete’s (much like the rest of the diners featured here) are not to be messed with. They’ve seen it all, heard it all and lived it all, so you best quit your sass before you end up with an empty stomach and bruised ego.

Although they do a good rendition of traditional greasy spoon breakfast fare, the real highlight here is the dinner menu.

The sandwiches at Little Pete’s are the perfect sponge to absorb whatever swill you didn’t sweat out on the dance floor, and there are some local favorites in particular that should be paid special attention.

The burgers are a staple — small, griddled patties with just the right amount of sear, served with standard toppings and fries. It’s a steal for around $5.

The reubens are another thing of beauty. Drunk fare at its finest, there’s nothing better than salty meat and fatty Russian dressing on rye after drinking all night.

Pete’s also offers a decent selection of vegetarian-friendly options, so even your most annoying lettuce-eating friends will find something to eat (or just trick them into eating a bacon cheeseburger when drunk and hold it over their heads forever).


Darling’s Diner

One of the few places on the Northern Liberties/Fishtown/Old Kensington island to get a real meal 24 hours per day, seven days per week, Darling’s Diner is a true mess after the bars close.

After a night of dancing your ass off at The Barbary or 700 Club, the heavy portions and famous cheesecake will maintain your Sir Mix-A-Lot (baby got) back.

The diner started as a cheesecake shop in Rittenhouse before opening a second shop near Fairmont. Finally, they launched the flagship, full-menu spot at the top of the Piazza at Schmidt’s. Its proximity to bars, venues, clubs and strip joints makes it a late-night target of choice for those who don’t want to go home and can’t stay at the bar.

When ordering, go for a sandwich. The only thing Darling’s is actually recognized for is its cheesecake. While the dessert is good, I can’t really recommend it due to its inconsistency in quality and price tag.

In fact, I can’t really recommend a single menu item. But the thing is, this is a drunk-food roundup. You are drunk. You are hungry. The person you were dancing with all night wants to continue the night and where else is there to go nearby for late-late-night food?

McDonalds? You have to use the drive thru after 11 p.m. (and they don’t allow bicycles, I know from personal experience). Dapper Dog? Depends on the weather with its outdoor seating. 7-Eleven? C’mon, you must be drunk to not immediately rule this out. So, then there’s Darling’s. Sometimes, it just takes a pile of grease and a cup of coffee to make everything right in the world.


Melrose Diner

The venerable Melrose Diner is a landmark South Philly meeting place at the corner of Old School Boulevard and Hipster Way (or Snyder and Passyunk avenues) and it’s open 24 hours per day.

By day, it’s a traditional diner filled with longtime patrons and families from the local Newbold neighborhood who gather for no-frills, traditional American food in a classic, movie-type diner setting.

At night, that’s when the freaks come out.

Almost anyone who has spent any time in South Philly drunk on a few too many shots of Heaven Hill and Pabst pounders has probably made the trek to the Melrose.

If you include the gutter punk patrons from the nearby venue JR’s and those who crawl over from the Republican nudey bar/after-hours club/whatever it is, there’s a seedy element not found elsewhere in this fine city.

What the Melrose lacks in decor, culinary creativity and, well, quality, it more than makes up for with its long history of feeding drunks calorie-centric breakfast foods at ungodly hours.

The omelets and breakfast platters are always greasy, buttery, slam-dunks served with toast and homefries to soak up all the night’s (other) overindulgences. The ultimate champion of the drunk food game at the Melrose, however, is the S.O.S. (a.k.a. shit on a shingle, or creamed chipped beef).

Waitresses who look like they might toss you out by your ear if you get too carried away pour the coffee readily and refer to everyone as “hon.”

Take the edge off of tomorrow morning’s crippling hangover by doubling the post-party shame with a belly full of wonderful, greasy food.


Philip’s Steaks

An alternative to the big two (or four) cheesesteak spots, Phillip’s is always open and always delicious. Go for the cheesesteak and see if it doesn’t help sober you up.


We’ve talked about Maoz before but for a late-night bite that is vegetarian friendly, it’s hard to beat Maoz for falafel, even if the place is part of a worldwide chain. The variety of ingredients available gratis at the salad bar make it worth the trip alone. This place is perfect for when your show at the TLA or Dobbs lets out.


Drunks, hot dogs, fries and more dipping sauces than you can shake a wiener at make this Center City late night a real treat. Try “The Michigan” for an indulgent pile of chili & cheese.

The Dapper Dog

Northern Liberties’ best spot for an outdoor drunk-food fix. Go hang in the garden and people watch to your heart’s content. The Dapper Dog only stays open until 2:30 a.m. on the weekend so get there quickly after the 700 closes. Check their Twitter page before your visit.

David’s Mai Lai Wah

Known for their salt & pepper dishes — squid or chicken wings — this Chinatown late-night eatery has some ‘secret’ dishes for those in-the-know. Ask to see the “noodle menu” if they didn’t already give it to you and get yourself full on pork & carbs.

Lorenzo and Sons

They recently made a triumphant return to the South Street scene after a fire severely damaged the building. The lines are back and it’s pretty insane. Grab a cheesesteak from Jim’s, wrap it in a slice of Lorenzo’s and you got yourself a “South Philly Taco.”

One Comment
  1. Rando permalink
    July 7, 2013 3:58 pm

    I’ve been to more than a few of these places with you…

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