PHILADELPHIA, May 16, 2023 – Some of Philadelphia’s best dining neighborhoods — Fishtown, Old City and Society Hill — have no shortage of waterfront spots serving up both top-notch eats, delicious drinks and riverside vistas overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, boats cruising along the Delaware River, New Jersey’s Adventure Aquarium and other iconic sights.
Philly’s waterside dining and drinking options include both upscale favorites such as the Moshulu and casual options like Liberty Point and The Garden At Cherry Street Pier. And if you’re in the mood to dance to your favorite summertime bops, there’s plenty of spots for that, too, as seasonal venues like Morgan’s Pier and Spruce Street Harbor Park enter the summer group chat.
Here are some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants and bars along the Delaware River waterfront:
Dance the summer away at Cavanaugh’s River Deck, a waterfront beer garden, restaurant and club that takes its warm-weather lineup seriously with plenty of visiting DJs, themed party nights and other lively events. Classic summer fare like fresh-cut boardwalk fries, Philly cheesesteaks, salads and Bangin’ Shrimp Tacos are on the menu to keep you moving and grooving all night long. Several specials take place throughout the week, including $5 mug nights on Wednesdays with a live DJ playing deckside, and reggae nights on Sundays.
Where: Cavanaugh’s River Deck, 417 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Offering some of the most scenic views in the city, the Chart House offers high-quality seafood in an upscale, waterfront setting. Cut into an herb-crusted, slow-roasted prime rib, slurp down oysters on the half shell and tuck into the crunchy coconut shrimp while taking in views of both the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Walt Whitman Bridge. Don’t miss the twin lobster tails or wild-caught king crab — or the teriyaki sirloin steak or filet mignon, if red meat is more your style.
Where: Chart House, 555 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Craft Hall is one of the city’s most kid-friendly breweries (look no further than the on-site indoor playground), but it’s certainly not just serving up food for the little ones. Alongside beers from on-site Mainstay Independent Brewing, Craft Hall’s open gourmet kitchen offers barbecue from its 700-pound smoker, including dry-rub spare ribs, black-pepper brisket, smokehouse pizzas and a BBQ tower featuring choices of three meats and sides. Of course, there’s also a stacked kids’ menu. And while there are no waterfront views, there are dog-friendly treats available at the bar’s dog park beer garden.
Where: Craft Hall, 901 N. Delaware Avenue
Whether you’re craving sweet, savory or somewhere in between, French Toast Bites has you covered. Charisse McGill’s breakfast-anytime concept has made a name for itself across the country, and Philadelphians can find the tasty treats year-round at stands at Cherry Street Pier and throughout the summer at Spruce Street Harbor Park. The French toast bites come in original or vegan varieties, with toppings like fresh berries, whipped cream and chocolate syrup available. Go big or go home by adding bacon to the mix, or spring for bacon on a stick as a snack on its own (yes, please!). Also on the menu: French toast bites milkshakes and coffee.
Where: French Toast Bites – Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard and French Toast Bites – Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Tucked inside a historic water pumping station, the new-for-2023 Fringe Bar hit the ground (water?) running with tasty pub food and entertainment ranging from jazz bands to cabarets. The varied menu includes charcuterie, smash burgers, ice cream sundaes and full knife-and-fork entrées like the grilled flat iron steak with fried fingerling potatoes. (And that’s not even getting into the array of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options). Stay hydrated with Fringe Bar’s extensive drinks menu and enjoy the waterfront views at their Haas Biergarten. Want to keep the fun going after your meal? FringeArts is located just next door.
Where: Fringe Bar, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
The Garden at Cherry Street Pier
The Garden at Cherry Street Pier is the ideal place to go to ride out the summer heat. This charming, industrial urban oasis tucked away against a backdrop of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge spans 20,000 square feet at an early 20th-century pier. Cocktails include concoctions like hibiscus lemonade and frozen margaritas, while the food menu was designed with summer in mind: think watermelon salad, pulled brisket tacos and grilled chicken sandwiches. Insider knowledge: For an outing to remember, be sure to check out the rotating artist exhibitions and pop-ups at the pier.
Where: The Garden at Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Independence Blue Cross RiverRink
The perfect spot for families with children or just adults who are still young at heart, the Independence Blue Cross RiverRink is a multi-seasonal Philadelphia tradition. In warmer weather, hit up Summerfest, where the roller skating rink is the centerpiece surrounded by a double-decker carousel, 60-foot Ferris wheel and mini-golf. Come winter, the rink freezes over and Winterfest opens for ice skating on Philly’s only regulation pro-sized outdoor rink, alongside games and rides. In both seasons, guests find plenty of casual eats and drinks, from classic Philly go-tos like Chickie’s and Pete’s Crabfries®, cheesesteaks, boneless wings and more, as well as seasonal treats such as funnel cake, ice cream, cotton candy, lemonade and more.
Where: Independence Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Jack’s Bar + Grill at Rivers Casino Philadelphia
Tucked away inside Rivers Casino Philadelphia is Jack’s Bar + Grill, where diners can soak up views of the Delaware River while indulging in classic American pub fare and drinks. Get creative in the kitchen (without having to do any of the actual cooking) with a fully customizable Flipt burger, or dive into local classics like Philly egg rolls with spicy ketchup or a Liberty Bell pretzel with beer cheese and spicy mustard. Signature entrees such as pan-seared crab cakes and house-smoked ribs surely satisfy. For dinner and a show, check out the live music performances on Fridays and Saturdays. Also on-site at Rivers Casino: the Italian-American steakhouse concept Martorano’s Prime, Asian cuisine from Mian, and two Philly-area classics: cheesesteaks from Geno’s and water ice from Rita’s.
Where: Rivers Casino Philadelphia, 1001 N. Delaware Avenue
Keating’s Rope and Anchor Bar + Kitchen
The Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing’s eatery maximizes its prime waterfront real estate with a contemporary American menu that emphasizes sustainable seafood, local ingredients and hand-crafted cocktails. Go-tos include the grilled swordfish gremolata and eight-ounce, herbed-butter filet mignon; and the USS grilled cheese smothered in aged provolone and mozzarella, hickory-smoked bacon and tomato. Enjoy a meal alfresco on the harborside patio for views of the Adventure Aquarium and Battleship New Jersey across the river, or soak up the ocean-inspired decor inside the dining room.
Where: Keating’s Rope and Anchor Bar + Kitchen, 201 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Among the newer additions to Philadelphia’s ever-evolving waterfront is Liberty Point, a sprawling 28,000-square-foot, tri-level restaurant that wraps around the back of the Independence Seaport Museum. The casual menu of sandwiches, salads and raw bar selections like fried clam strips and lobster quesadillas will draw you in, but the DJs, live music performances on the outdoor stage and sweeping waterside views will have you posting up for hours. Liberty Point also has ample shooters and cocktails on draft — meaning the margaritas, summer sangrias and green tea shots are always flowing.
Where: Liberty Point, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
A beer garden to end all beer gardens, seasonal hangout Morgan’s Pier does it all with small plates, sandwiches, cocktails and a weekend nightclub all under the shadow of Philadelphia’s iconic Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The party-centric atmosphere makes for many a summer outing, while eats like octopus tostadas, grilled radicchio wedge salad and a crispy cod sandwich keep dancing bellies full. Life hack: This is your go-to warm weather spot for large groups (along with Liberty Point). It also offers a packed calendar of entertainment from DJs to “yappy hours” that benefit dogs in need.
Where: Morgan’s Pier, 221 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Situated on an anchored historic ship, the Moshulu offers one of the city’s singular dining experiences. Here, Executive Chef Anthony Bonett serves up seafood-forward American fare like tempura rock shrimp with spicy Thai noodles; Calvisius caviar; and stuffed whole lobster, plus entrees like the 12-ounce Australian lamb loin and seared tuna tataki. Guests can dine in the belly of the ship or head to the deck to soak up some sun. The vessel itself dates back to 1904 and even appeared in the films Rocky, The Godfather Part II and Blow Out.
Where: Moshulu, 401 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Further south along the Delaware River waterfront at Pier 40, you’ll find Shank’s Original, one of the city’s most beloved cheesesteak spots. This no-frills joint delivers on the flavor front, and many a local will tell you it’s the city’s best spot for a classic Philly cheesesteak. The Shank’s brand has withstood the test of time, dating back to the 1960s. Over the decades, it’s served its classic “Whiz Wit or Witout” cheesesteaks, roast pork combos, broccoli rabe hot sandwiches and more to hungry politicians, sports stars, celebrities, locals and tourists.
Where: Shank’s Original, 901 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Spruce Street Harbor Park
This sprawling urban beach (typically open from May through September) along the Delaware River waterfront has everything visitors could want: floating barges, hammocks strung between trees, a beer garden slinging craft brews and tons of quality food. It’s the perfect warm-weather outing for a date night, family get-together or friends hang. Grab a sweet treat at Spruce Street Harbor Park staples like Frozen Delights, or enjoy a full-blown meal from spots like Ay Burritos, the park’s newest vendor.
Where: Spruce Street & S. Columbus Boulevard, 301 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Out back of Dave & Buster’s Philadelphia, you’ll find this colorful, seasonal spot from the owners of The Winston restaurant and sports bar in Northern Liberties. Winston On The Water is a riverside experience that features live DJs, ice-cold cocktails, light summer bites and plenty of dance floor space all with front-row seats to a view of the good ol’ Ben Franklin Bridge. If you have any trouble finding the venue, just look for the glowing, neon yellow smiley face, and let it guide the way. It’s like it’s screaming, “Good vibes ahead!”
Where: Winston On The Water, 325 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
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