5 to Try: Martini Bars

With all of this nouvelle to-do about stately classic cocktails, what's a girl (or guy) to do if she (or he) still hasn't gotten over the taste for the froufy martini-lite drinks first made oh-so-popular by the classic characters Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, who will likely show up in the upcoming movie sequel raving about Sidecars and Gimlets? Fret not, little dahlings, despite the current appetite for retro drinks, you can still scout many places in Philadelphia to sip vodka combined with any number of other ingredients and served in a dainty martini glass (does it seem that the only remaining qualifier that defines a martini is the stemmed, triangular glass?). So what if the "classic" version limits you to gin and vermouth? You're a modern girl (or guy) and you refuse to let your spirits be suppressed.

Updated: November 13, 2009

5 to Try

Friday Saturday Sunday

261 S 21st St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Climb the stairs to the Tank Bar to show up those Sex and the City girls with a Pinky Tuscadero, described as a 'twisted Cosmo with plum juice and raspberry flavors.? Or make Samantha salivate with a Spicy, Dirty Blonde, which deviates slightly from the traditional with a shot of freezing Ketel One kicked up with a dash of Tabasco and a blue-cheese stuffed olive. Finally, a Bumpy Sidecar allows to dip your toe into the classic cocktail fixation without losing the sweetness that comes with a combination of apple brandy, Cointreau, and Frangelico garnished with a rim of crushed hazelnuts and sugar.


253 S 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Better known for its classic drinks, this cozy corner hideaway nevertheless indulges the sweet tooth with its version of that poor, widely mocked appletini, which they christen a Caramel Apple martini. We (almost) promise no one will laugh if you order this variation of the drink favored by Zach Braff's character on Scrubs, because this rendition contains no Apple Pucker. Rather, you may inform your self-consciously trendy friends that your drink contains nothing less than Stoli Vanil, Berentzen Apple liqueur, apple juice and caramel. Just be sure to wipe the gooey brown candy off your upper lip before you tell them.

Swanky Bubbles

10 S Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This lounge may be better known for its sparkling wine (hence the name) but that doesn't keep it from furnishing a full menu of martinis, where the offending words ?gin,? 'vermouth,? or even ?olive? or ?lemon twist? are nowhere to be found. Instead of choking on those old fuddy-duddy classics, a bubbly patron can let new classics like the French Tickler-tini, the Sexual Chocolate, the Purple Passion or the Romeo and Juliet's Love Elixir go straight to her head.

Vango Lounge & Skybar

114 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

If you don't mind withstanding the stares of nearby patrons who would Never Be Caught Dead Not Ordering Bottle Service, flirt with a cross-section of flavored martinis, which, in total, will probably cost you a few hundred dollars less than the bottle those other loungers are drinking. Start with a Peach Cobbler or a Crouching Plum Hidden Cucumber --which, if you must know, is a ?balanced? mix of cucumber-infused vodka and sake, with a ?hint? of plum wine--then move on to the after-dinner Espresso that has espresso vodka (yes!) as its base. Then ask for help getting down the stairs.