Ah, the ambiguous days of summer. The lines between weekdays and -ends become blurry, and we have a pass for making any day of the week a play day. It was with this in mind that I decided to do something wacky: I planned a weekend getaway to Philadelphia smack in the middle of the week.
I rounded up my get-outta-town girlfriends, and on a Wednesday morning, we headed northinto Philly. Over the next 30 hours, we discovered a city that more or less belonged to us. We found ourselves alone in a museum, befriended bartenders and shopkeepers who had nothing better to do than share their life stories with us, stumbled upon some sweet weekday-only deals and happenings, and never waited for a drink or a table. Our only regret: that we hadn’t also been there for Monday and Tuesday.
After we’d checked into our hotel and had lunch, we walked through Rittenhouse Square to the Rosenbach Museum and Library, which just opened a year-long exhibit on Maurice Sendak’s work. If you’re searching for a place to stock up on terrific “Where the Wild Things Are” merchandise, the museum’s gift shop has it all.
More walking and window-shopping led us to wine bar Tria for weekday happy-hour specials, where we enjoyed a total of three drinks and a cheese plate for $20. We sat at a sidewalk table and tried to plan our night. I had printed out an ambitious list that I only later realized would take a month of weeknights to cover; there’s a lot going on here during the week. For starters, there’s movie night at the historic burlesque Trocadero Theatre on Mondays; the Erotic Literary Salon at the restaurant and whiskey bar Time once a month on Tuesdays; movie night at Nomad Pizza on Wednesdays; a drag show at Bob & Barbara’s Lounge on Thursdays; and happy hour every weeknight at Barcade, a bar where you can play classic ’80s arcade games for 25 cents a pop.
We decided that more cheese would help us figure out what to do with our evening. So we ate dinner in the tiny enchanted courtyard of Wedge + Fig in Old City, not far from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Here, we faced more decisions: havarti, Gouda, Manchego, gruyere, brie, cheddar or fontina on the build-your-own-grilled-cheese sandwich?
After dinner we walked to National Mechanics for the tail end of trivia night. The bar is in a beautiful old bank building, with glowing, fox-like taxidermied animals hanging from the ceilings. A bartender named Evan served our drinks in glasses stamped with pictures of Philly characters like former mayor Frank Rizzo and Rocky Balboa. I got serial killer Gary Heidnik.
Evan told us that the bar holds science talks every second Monday of the month (mating habits of giraffes, anyone?) and karaoke every Tuesday. He said that weekdays at the bar are a different animal. “Sunday through Thursday, you get people who live and work in the neighborhood,” he said. “Friday and Saturday, you have college kids, people from New Jersey, and generally people who just come to drink.”