So how do I do this...?
March 31, 2010 10:47 AM   Subscribe

I need advice finding something to do this weekend in Philadelphia.

I'm looking to spend this weekend in Philadelphia, and have no idea what kind of place to try hanging out in. I've never really done this before- never been out to a bar, club or any kind of social venue- and I'm looking for something fun/hip but low pressure, where I wouldn't stick out too much and would have the option to just sit in a corner inconspicuously if necessary. I'm not really looking to meet anyone, at least not yet, just to get my feet wet and try it out. If there's anything like Geeks Who Drink (which doesn't exist in Philadelphia yet as far as I can tell) or similar events, I would be open to that as well.

If it will help, about me: Male, 26 (though frequently mistaken for younger), typical hipster/geek set of interests, love artsy stuff and leftfield dance music (though too awkward to actually dance), not a very snappy dresser.

Please feel free to ask followup questions here or through MeFi mail; I know this is extremely vague, and I'll do what I can to narrow things down.
posted by Merzbau to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Making Time Spring Fling is on Friday night: get drunk on Sparks and dance your ass off (Making Time is a Philly hipster institution).
posted by The Michael The at 10:52 AM on March 31, 2010

During the day you should make the trek to the Eastern State Penitentiary. It was the asylum in 12 Monkeys and an awesome stabilized ruin.
posted by The Whelk at 10:56 AM on March 31, 2010

And if you go to Eastern State, have a few drinks and some food before or after at Belgian Café at 21st and Green (down two blocks from the Penitentiary). Same owners as and similar great beer list to the more famous Monk's but far more chill and a good chance of striking up conversation around the bar.
posted by The Michael The at 11:07 AM on March 31, 2010

We've been doing pub-crawls through various parts of Philly for the past decade -- I believe the one in January was number 48. MeMail me if you want pub & bar reviews.

Personal faves -- Headhouse Square, South Street.

You must go to Monk's and eat the mussels. Really.
posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 11:24 AM on March 31, 2010

Another good post-penitentiary option - a malfatto pizza and drinks outside at Rembrandt's (741 N. 23rd St). If you make friends, you can also sneak into the cool playground a block down the street from Monk's and play on the monkey bars after dark.
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:35 AM on March 31, 2010

Response by poster: TMT- thanks for the recommendation, that looks like it may be just the kind of thing I'm looking for. Yet another sign of how out of touch I am, I've been following RVNG for years (since their second mix CD release, IIRC, and the vinyl edits series) and had no idea they put on events like this. What kind of crowd shows up for these? I'm kind of worried about the age group thing, I don't want to be the weird old guy at a mostly student event, for example. Yes, I am clueless enough to have to ask that kind of question.
posted by Merzbau at 11:36 AM on March 31, 2010

The core of Making Time is hipster and early-mid 20's, but there are plenty of non-hipsters and folks through their 30's there. You'll be fine!
posted by The Michael The at 11:41 AM on March 31, 2010

Best answer: Come to Pterodactyl Art Gallery on saturday night: Steve Goldberg and the Arch Enemies are playing as well as some other great bands and there is some awesome art.
posted by useyourmachinegunarm at 12:27 PM on March 31, 2010

I can vouch for the awesomeness of Steve Goldberg and the Arch Enemies. Also for the awesomeness of the Belgian Cafe.
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:52 PM on March 31, 2010

The Ceramics Arts Convention is in town.
posted by melodykramer at 2:55 PM on March 31, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks again for the suggestions- if I can work up the nerve to do it, I'll definitely check out Making Time. Pterodactyl looks like a possibility too.
posted by Merzbau at 4:50 PM on March 31, 2010

Best answer: Man, I love wandering around Philly, and there are plenty of things to do and places to go that allow you to explore without needing to bring your own posse around.

First, Friday happens to be First Friday, the day when art galleries city-wide open their doors for receptions (often with free wine). The best place to check this out, full of folks of all types, from geeks and hipsters to aficionados and sophisticates, is 2nd and 3rd Streets, north of Market, and continuing for about 4 blocks or so. Get there around 5 or 5:30; the crowd starts to diffuse between 7 and 8. Since the weather is going to be awesome, it's sure to be a fun time.

Here are a couple of blogs that have timely events--it's by no means comprehensive, but if you scroll through a few pages of recent listings, something may catch your eye:
The Style Blog of the Philadelphia Weekly magazine/paper, Phillyist, and uwishunu (ha!).

Bars and cafes that facilitate squatting/reading from early afternoon through late in the night:
Last Drop at 13th & Pine (cafe)
Chapterhouse at 9th & Bainbridge (cafe)
Doobie's at 22nd & Lombard (bar)
Nodding Head at 15th & Sansom (bar)
...and so many more. There's a great bar scene, much more in the style of a beer-cafe than any other city I've visited on this continent.

Rittenhouse Square is quite pleasant to walk through, sit in (again with the great weather ahead), and visit the surrounding shops. Metropolitan Bakery is on one side and has tasty coffee/baguettes. Tuscany Cafe is good for sitting. La Colombe has great coffee. Scoop DeVille (on Chestnut) has any-style-you-want swirl-in softserve icecream.

The Philadelphia Art Museum is fabulous, and the first Sunday (lucky again) is pay-what-you-wish all day. Get there earlyish and enjoy the calm before the crowds.

And there are plenty of other smaller museums/galleries/curiosities, such as the Mutter Museum of Medical Anomalies, and the newish and fancy museum in the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Good luck, have a great time, and enjoy the emergence of spring (finally)!
posted by zachxman at 4:56 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go see my brother's band - The Buicks. They're playing in Jersey just across the river.
posted by three blind mice at 5:28 PM on March 31, 2010

The Mutter Museum! I know it's been suggested already, but seriously, you need to check it out.
posted by lexicakes at 9:31 PM on March 31, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks again for all the suggestions...I think I'm going to skip Making Time- much as I'd love to see Dum Dum Girls, hear Pink Skulls DJ, etc, it's kind of (ok, extremely) intimidating for someone as socially inexperienced as me. I think I can manage the Pterodactyl Gallery thing, though, and might as well take Sunday to visit the Mütter (which I've been planning and putting off for ages).
posted by Merzbau at 7:29 AM on April 2, 2010

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