NIGHTLIFE
Philadelphia
> Alma De Cuba
Alma de Cuba on Rittenhouse Row appeals to Philadelphia's boundless taste for rum with gusto. Mouthwatering Mojitos, felt first in the hips, dot low-slung tables amid shimmering images of Havana. Every style of rum is represented here, including those best sipped from snifters, such as Grand Havana Reserva Excelencia and Appleton Extra. With dozens of labels, from fiery raw Brazilian cachaŤa to mellow, mature Venezuelan añejo, Alma de Cuba's rum selection is muy caliente.
- Marnie Old

Alma de Cuba, 1623 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA; 215-988-1799; almadecubarestaurant.com



> Ansill Food
Ansill Food + Wine is David and Catherine Ansill's French-style response to the tapas craze. Small, basic plates, an eclectic wine list and a jeans-friendly atmosphere ensure that it'll be as popular as Pif, their BYOB. Try the Le Freak Syrah-Viognier or Mastroberardino's Aglianico d'Irpinia with the bone marrow crostini. For full meals or a quick bite, Ansill is shockingly affordable.
- Brian Freedman

Ansill Food + Wine, 627 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia;215-627-2485; ansillfoodandwine.com



> James
James in Philly's Little Italy -dubbed Bella Vista for its city views by savvy realtors- capitalizes on the neighborhood's open-air Italian Market to showcase chef Jim Burke's takes on traditional dishes and seasonal cocktails. His pawpaw colada, for instance, is made with America's largest, and most peculiar, native fruit. The best night for sipping is Tuesday, when locals are encouraged to kick back on the leather loveseats in the airy, vaulted lounge, perhaps with the cinnamon-, orange- and raisin-infused James-hattan, for a "happy hour" that last until 2 AM.
- Jeffery Lindenmuth

824 S. 8th St.; 215-629-4980; jameson8th.com (reviewed W&S 4/08)



> Mahogany's
Mahogany's green plaid stairs may seem daunting to ascend, but your efforts are rewarded as you cozy up to the fireplace with a snifter of Cognac, such as Frapin VIP XO, and a dark chocolate soufflé. Or you might savor the smoky Courvoisier Initiale Extra with a Macanudo, or enjoy an Ashton Aged Maduro with an Ashton Crown XO, a Cognac-style California effort. All you need to worry about now is getting down those crazy plaid stairs.
- Melissa Monosoff

Mahogany, 1524 Walnut St., Philadelphia; 215-732-3982



> Southwark's
Southwark's warming whiskey cocktails are a retro treat at this old-school neighborhood haunt known for slow food and strong drink. Reviving rather than inventing cocktails, its barmen favor American straight rye to anchor classic recipes. Solid Old Overholt bumps Canadian blends out of the $5.50 well, while sassy, pineapple-splashed Algonquins seem almost stately with Rittenhouse Rye. Michters Single Barrel makes a Sazerac that evokes nostalgia for New Orleans, but the real deal is a Manhattan made with rare Hirsch 13-year-old straight rye-a trip back in time.
- Marnie Old

Southwark's, 701 S. 4th St., Philadelphia, PA; 215-238-1888



> Thirty Two°
Thirty Two° keeps club kids and the fashion-impaired at bay with a fashionable dress code and a 25-year-old age requirement. Those who make the cut, however, enter a stylish lounge and raw bar that's the first in town to offer "bottle service." Can't finish that $200 bottle of Absolut? There are liquor lockers available. Or choose flights of vodka or cocktails in glasses made of ice, all available for purchase with U.S. dollars or Euros. Perhaps they should have called it 0° Celsius.
- Jefferey Lindenmuth

Thirty Two°, 16 S. Second St., Philadelphia, PA; 215-627-3132



> Washington Square
Washington Square (the bar) has made Washington Square (the neighborhood) a destination. For U. Penn law students, Walnut Street Theater-goers, medical types from surrounding institutions and others, it's quickly become a comfort zone for 'the usual' on a daily basis. The stunning black-and-silver bar room is surprisingly warm and cozy, and the bartenders make it more so with cocktails like a brandy-splashed apple sidecar, not to mention the high-end scotch and Bourbon list.
- Margaret Shakespeare

Washington Square, 210 Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA; 215-592-7787