As an industry worker zipping around on your feet all day, the best part of the day is enjoying a shift drink: a post-work alcoholic beverage to decompress, take a load off, and yes, enjoy a nice buzz before heading home to bed. In this series, we’ll be exploring the many fantastic bar programs of Philadelphia where you can treat yourself after a hard days work.
This month, I’ve decided to venture over to Southwark – a restaurant and bar beloved by many food service workers for the good drinks, the great staff and late night menu. The restaurant has been a consistent presence on the corner of 4th and Bainbridge in the Queen Village neighborhood for quite some time but recently took on new ownership last year. Chris D’ambro is now head of the kitchen while Jarrod Williams runs the bar program.
Along with the new ownership, the space was revamped with fresh paint and lighter decor to create a more casual environment for their guests. As you walk in, there are two-seat tables lining the left wall and a 16-seat bar to your right. With the dining room kept separate, the bar room has a fairly quiet and relaxed atmosphere which is perfect for catching up with friends over drinks or stopping in solo to unwind after work.
As far as cocktails are concerned, you really can’t go wrong with your order. They have a section of their beverage menu reserved for modern takes on classic cocktails including the Corpse Reviver No. 2, a Mai Tai, and Bebbo.
A larger part of the cocktail menu is made up of house cocktails with a variety of different spirits and flavor profiles to choose from. If you’re in the mood for something different, you can always order the Dealer’s Choice. Just choose a spirit, describe your preferred flavor profile and they’ll come up with something for you on the spot. Or, you can opt out of cocktails all together and get yourself a true “shift drink”- a staff shot of liquor with a side of miller high life for just $7.
When it came time to order a drink, I opted for the The Owls Are Not What They Seem- a reference to the revived television show Twin Peaks. This cocktail consists of mezcal, Badenhorst caperitif, salers liqueur, and celery bitters and is served in a rocks glass with one large ice cube. While mezcal has a rich, smokey flavor, it’s balanced out with subtle vegetal notes from the salers liqueur and celery bitters while the Badenhorst caperitif adds a bit more sweetness to round it off.
While this spot is worth another trip back for another great cocktail, it’s also worth noting that Southwark has an incredible food menu as well. They accept reservations so start making those dinner plans!
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