Last week we had an opportunity to check out Sonesta Philadelphia’s Art Bar, on the corner at 18th & Market Streets, to sample the recently launched “Thirsty Thursday” offerings. We enjoyed the atmosphere, the drinks, and eatables.
I remember when it was a coffee shop and cafe many years ago. I used to stop by for a cuppa joe or a quick snack, before going to my job on Market Street. It’s come a long way since then.
Art Bar is going for a swanky vibe. Decor is modern and stylish; complete with bold, contemporary colors — red, gray, and white.
Furniture is very minimalist and sleek, yet comfy; plush gray banquette seating with accent pillows, white and chrome side chairs, and glass tables with white table bases. You’ll be close to your neighbors, but you won’t bump elbows.
A signature feature of the space is the “Art Lounge” between the bar and hotel lobby. It is brightly-lit and features avant-garde paintings hung on the walls courtesy of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists.
The interior says “sophisticated cool” but without being cliche or overwrought. I didn’t feel “stuffy” in there.
So, what about drinks and eats?
They were expecting me… of course DH came along, too. 😉
After we were greeted and seated by our very friendly server Franklin, we were given time to review the drinks menu. Art Bar offers a variety of handcrafted cocktails, spirits, red and white wine by the bottle. As well as a few brews on tap and a respectable list of bottled beers. We were definitely in the mood for some artistically-named cocktails.
While our libations were being prepared, they brought out a “Palette of International Cheeses” – literally served on a plate that looks like an artist’s palette. I see what they did there.
Of course, who could say no to THAT? The plate featured Humboldt Fog, Gorgonzola & Smoked Gouda with Acacia Honey, Fig Jam, Grapes & a Warmed Baguette as accompaniments. Except ours did not come with the warmed baguette. Sad face. The cheeses were still delectable; we happily gobbled them up. Humboldt Fog is one of my all time favorites, by the way.
While noshing away on yummy cheese, our cocktails arrived. 🍸 My first cocktail was the “Calder’s Circus” which features Cabo Wabo Reposado, Triple Sec, Fresh Squeezed Lime, Pineapple, and Housemade Ginger Syrup. Sweet and tart, but a very good start.
🍸 His first cocktail was the “Summer Days by O’Keefe” which features Absolut Citron, Benedictine, Grapefruit Juice, Fresh Squeezed Lemon, Mint, Simple Syrup. Absolutely delightful!
🍸 My second cocktail was “Wyeth’s French Twist Sangria” featuring Chardonnay, Cruzan Rum, St. Germain, Kiwi & Pineapple. This is my new favorite white sangria! It’s served in a very large wine glass, so it’s a generous drink.
🍸 His second cocktail was the “Autumn Rhythm by Pollack” which contains Ardbeg 10 (Scotch whisky), Muddled Orange & Cherries, Fresh Squeezed Lemon, Housemade Vanilla Bean Syrup, Club Soda.
After two cocktails each, we were ready to chow. We started with the Cheesesteak Spring Rolls. Perfect finger food; flavor was good – nice & cripsy on the outside, and savory cheesesteak-y goodness on the inside. They came with a side of ketchup to dunk ’em in.
The Lancaster County Beef Sliders 🍔 served with Caramelized Onion, Applewood Smoked Bacon & Gorgonzola Cheese also sounded great. Fun little bites of burger-ness! Definitely a good choice for sharing with a companion or a meal for one.
As far as I’m concerned the star of the menu is the Herb Coated Pan Seared Salmon 🐟 served on Bed of Asian Slaw with a King’s Hawaiian Fresh Baked Rolls & an Asian Dipping Sauce. The salmon seemed like it was sushi grade because the flavor of this dish reminded me of a salmon sushi roll! It was cooked perfectly – supple and flaky; the slaw was yummy and the sauce was heavenly. At first, I was confused by the addtion of King’s Hawaiian Rolls to this dish. But then I got creative and made a mini salmon and slaw sandwich and dunked it in the sauce. SO GOOD! Seriously, you MUST to get this dish!
Furthermore, I discovered that dipping the cheesesteak spring rolls into the ketchup and then into the Asian sauce was AMAZING! Asian cheesesteak spring rolls? Did I just make that up? YUM!
Try as we might, there just wasn’t any room for dessert. A travesty because they have Red Velvet Cake on the dessert menu. 😰
We enjoyed our visit and can’t wait to go back to enjoy some live jazz entertainment while trying a few more cocktails! 😋
Check out Art Bar at Sonesta. It’s hip, artsy, and cozy; has good cocktails, tasty nibbles, too. So, not quite your typical hotel cocktail lounge. A great spot for locals to socialize with friends or chill a while.
Tell ’em Philly Grub sent ya.
Food enthusiast. Travel lover. Social media maven.
Independent Journalist. Food marketing/PR expert.