Basements, back-rooms, and off the beaten path places for a craft cocktail during the DNC

The logo on the door at Ranstead Room is one of the only signs that there's something going on inside this back-alley joint (Marilyn D'Angelo/WHYY)

The logo on the door at Ranstead Room is one of the only signs that there's something going on inside this back-alley joint (Marilyn D'Angelo/WHYY)

During the week of the Democratic National Convention, most of Philly’s best features won’t be found on a tourist map.

So, you’ve just touched down here in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, and you’re looking at a jam-packed week of politically inspired events.

Chances are, you’ll eventually need to tuck away for something a little low key, maybe off the radar, and definitely made to order. You’re craving a good scotch or possibly a well shaken martini — dirty … and ice cold.

One thing’s for sure: Many of our best features won’t be found on a tourist map. For instance, from the outside, some of our swankiest cocktail spots look like a place you’d rather not find yourself in an unfamiliar city. Like a dark alleyway, perhaps.

But trust me when I tell you, it’s these Center City basements, back rooms, and off-the-beaten-path locales that hold the most promise. So without further ado, flip on your iPhone flashlight, venture down that dark and seedy alley, and go hunting for that fabulous drink. You won’t be disappointed.

Ranstead Room

Swanky speakeasy with upscale cocktails, and affordable bar snacks. Be warned, if the bar and tables are full, you’ll have to wait for a space to open up. (2013 Ranstead St.)  

Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company


Prohibition-era, subterranean cocktail-only spot looks foreboding to the unknowing Rittenhouse passerby, but past that great, dark iron door are some of the most carefully crafted cocktails in the city. (112 S. 18th St.)

Vesper Club

This retro supper club boasts a full-service bar, live music (and dancing), dining room, and “secret” speakeasy, just steps from Broad Street. Prices are affordable, too. (223 S. Sydenham St.)

Franky Bradley’s

Kitschy Americana describes this Gayborhood hideaway with great food and a fun welcoming vibe. (1320 Chancellor St.)

Hop Sing Laundromat

One of Philly’s most elusive spots. Dress code enforced: no sneakers, no casual wear, and absolutely no photos. After being admitted, pull up to the bar or settle into a table and enjoy the experience. Don’t look for a sign. There isn’t one. Just a wrought iron door and a bell or a line of people seemingly standing in front of nothing. (1029 Race St.)

Voyeur

There may be a cover at this Gayborhood club, but at 3 a.m., there’s nowhere better to drink and dance after hours. (1221 St. James St.)

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