Signs You’re in Philadelphia, And Not in DC Anymore

As we drove into Philadelphia, G claimed that the air was somehow clearer and sweeter. Everything was just a bit better now that we were closing in on his homeland. I don’t know about that, but Philadelphia certainly has its own brand of charm – gritty. attitudinal and just a bit whacky.

Here are some obvious signs we’re not in Washington, DC anymore.

Fur Coats – G and I were walking around the theater district in Philadelphia, just getting our bearings near Broad Street and Rittenhouse Square when I spotted another one: an old lady wearing a full length fur coat. I haven’t seen this many fur coats since Obama’s Inauguration – and that was butt cold. This was just oldsters out in their finery ready to celebrate new year’s eve, at about 6 pm, of course. Maybe, just maybe, we would see this display of fur at the Kennedy Center or 1789 in Georgetown, but I don’t think so.

Tiny Skirts and Sky-High Heels – Again, probably exaggerated because it was new year’s eve, but if women weren’t wearing full-length furs, they were sporting tiny, sparkly skirts and five inch stillettos. Yikes. No kitten heels or baby platforms here. And I haven’t seen this many black and silver sequins since … I lived in Philadelphia some 20 years ago (and I still went to college formals). As for the heels, to paraphrase Philadelphia native Spiffy Niffy, those heels will seriously hurt someone. Quality skank factor here.

A patron with his dog

Dive Bars – Truth: we just don’t have good dive bars in DC. Any decent dive bar would be overrun by 19 year olds, and that would be that. In Philly, there are dive bars on every corner – cash-only, of course. And they proudly declare things like, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone at any time for any reason. Of course you do! But bringing your dog into the bar wouldn’t be cause for ejection … if you’re a regular.

Corollary: Cheap beer. Where in DC can you get $3.50 drafts? Or buy beer to go at a bar?

BYOB – Here, restaurant web sites proudly declare “we are a BYOB establishment.” Everyone has neoprene carriers for their bottles, and there’s not problem with the doggy bag – just cork up your bottle, should you be so foolish as not to drink all your wine, and take it home with you. And if you forget to bring your own? Just ask the restaurant. They’ll be happy to point you in the direction of the nearest carry out joint. Problem solved.

Cash-only – We were just in Austin, which featured its share of cash only barbeque joints and ATM machines aplenty – probably for the rows of dive bars on Sixth Street. Philly is similar. Dive bars only take cash, and so do lots of the BYO places, even if your check comes in a billfold that says “Discover” or “Visa.”

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