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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Bob & Barbara’s, located at 1509 South Street, is not only a classic dive bar, but practically a Philadelphia historic landmark. If you haven’t been there yet, chances are you’ve at least heard of it, and if you’re the one introducing your date to Bob and Barbara’s for the first time, it’s going to be a date to remember. With walls heavy with vintage Pabst’s Blue Ribbon beer paraphernalia, a rowdy bar, and a venerable jazz tradition going back over twenty years, weekends at Bob and Barbara’s may feel more like a rite of passage than a date.  For example, a PBR pounder and shot of Jim Bean might not be the classiest of choices on most dates, but at Bob and Barbara’s it’s just what you order – every time.  It’s also a great spot for a group date, as my cohort discovered on a recent Friday night.

How cheap we talkin’: Entry is FREE! The “special” (a PBR and shot of Jim Beam) is only $3. Don’t call it the Citywide. It’s just the special here. (And no judgment, but if this is a first date, I recommend sticking to one per person).

Why this will impress your date: The musicians, the musicians, the musicians. Utterly unfazed by any of the nonsense that occurs in a packed bar with cheap drinks, these guys are the real deal. Fridays and Saturdays they play more of a familiar jazz repertoire, while Sundays they host a jam session.

The Inside Game: Bob and Barbara’s can pretty crowded, so getting served can take awhile.  If you’re getting your date a drink, go together to the bar so you can still chat.  Otherwise, make sure your date is comfortable with what could be a long wait for your return!

Score Extra Points: By treating your date to a late-night snack. The night we were there the guys from Coup de Taco were set up in a corner dishing up their inventive, non-traditional taco combinations like Sweet Thai chicken with peanut sauce, pulled pork, or castro-style rice and beans with Sofrito sauce, $3.50 each or two for $6.  Between specials, it really hit the spot.

Next Date: Friday, Saturday, or Sunday!

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Meg poses with a Santa we encountered at Suburban Station

My date’s stats:

 Blog: PhilaDate — Hot Spots for Great Dates in Illadel!

Age: Started blogging in October 2010.

Likes: Walking the city, singing, jazz and blues, and being the go-to source for her friends (especially her guy friends) for date ideas sure to impress the ladies.

Dislikes: Negative Feedback. (Who doesn’t?)

Little Known Fact: Also writes Songs That Won’t Make You Vomit, where she details the ups and downs of her dating life as it relates to, and reminds her of favorite songs.

Favorite Cheap Date:  Brunch at Fitzwater Café.

Meg Mirzoff is a 27 year old “self proclaimed dating pro” and the author of PhilaDate, a relatively new (October 2010) blog that highlights fun date spots culled from Meg’s own extensive experience with both dating and Philadelphia. A lifelong area resident, her twitter profile quips positively that “Philly is a hotbed for the singles… you just gotta put yourself out there!” And that is exactly what Meg did when she agreed to meet me for a blind date after I pitched my I’m Seeing Other Blogs idea to her via email.

Of course, as soon as we met I realized that Meg really never had a moment’s hesitation – a spirit of adventure is just a part of who she is.  Outgoing and enthusiastic, her fun-loving personality comes across in her blog as well.  For example, for a date with “heat” she recommends following a meal of tacos with a night out dancing at a salsa club, and she isn’t afraid of proposing ideas for a 24-hour long date (for some “serious” quality time).

Her idea for our Cheap Date was equally adventuresome: an afternoon Busker-hunting in and around Suburban Station, followed by drinks at Village Whiskey.  For those that don’t know (I didn’t), “Busking” is the act of performing in public while soliciting tips or gratuities (i.e. passing the hat).  Those engaged in Busking are called “Buskers,” also known as street performers, street musicians, minstrels, or troubadours.  I’ve passed by countless such performers before − on South Street, in Rittenhouse, and in the subway stations – but it hadn’t occurred to me that intentionally seeking out these performances could make for a highly entertaining afternoon and a great cheap date.

How cheap we talkin’:  $1-5 in tips for the Buskers; Approx. $6 for a beer at Village Whiskey.

Why this will impress your date: Not only does Busking have a long history dating back to at least the 1860’s, but today’s Buskers have their own culture involving unspoken but understood rules and customs about who gets to play when, and where.

Score Extra Points: By ordering tater tots to share at Village Whiskey. They are only $3 and they are delicious.

The Inside Game: All Buskers are entertainers, but not all are equally entertaining. For a nice profile of various Philly Buskers and their stomping grounds, check out this article from Penn music blog God Save the Beat, or this blog by local Busker David Richenbacher.  

Next Date: Anytime! But Saturday and Sunday afternoons are a pretty safe bet at Suburban Station, as well as early evenings weeknights (rush hour).

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Did you know that one of the world’s leading music conservatories is located in Philadelphia, and that their uber-talented students showcase their talents every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening throughout the school year at recitals that are free and open to the public? Neither did I, until I went on a date there a few weeks ago.

The students are from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, and their recitals are performed an intimate 240-person auditorium (Field Concert Hall) (handicapped accessible) located in the Institute’s “main building” – a gorgeously preserved 19th century mansion located at 1726 Locust Street, near the south-east corner of Rittenhouse Square park.  

My date and I dressed up special for the occasion (think fine wool suit, cufflinks, swishy dress, pointy heels) and met for a pre-concert drink at the swanky Bar 210 at Lacroix across the park.  The location was certainly convenient, and their happy-hour (5-7pm) of half-priced cocktails ($6 instead of the usual $12) is a great deal, but the ambience was a little sedate.  Next time I’d go to Fish instead.  Located a few blocks away at 1708 Lombard streed, Fish has an intimate bar that overlooks their open kitchen, filling the small space with the sights and sounds of the chefs at work, a nice prelude (and contrast) to the sights and sounds to be enjoyed at the concert hall afterwards.

How cheap we talkin’:  The recitals are FREE! Happy hour drinks and/or snacks, $7-$15 (with tax/tip).

Why this will impress your date:  Watching these amazingly able child-prodigies perform will impress anybody.  And your date will appreciate you for being the kind of person who would think of such a nice way to spend an evening together, despite your having only average musical abilities.

The Inside Game:  Make sure to get the the concert at least 10-15 minutes early to secure a seat. The recitals start promptly at 8pm (they won’t let you walk in once it’s started) and the auditorium is filled on a first-come, first-seated basis. But even if the recital does reach capacity you can still watch the live feed on a flat-screen television in the lobby.

Score Extra Points:  By remembering to sneak in a water bottle.

Next Date: Student recitals are at 8pm (almost) every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening from October 11 through May.  Have a favorite composer? Check the schedule to see who’s playing, as well as what pieces/instruments.

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Read the full date review at drinkphilly.com! Cheap Date writes a monthly column for Drink Philly featuring cheap dates for drink lovers. Or for those of you (er, me) that need to drink  on your dates so as not to throw up from nerves.

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Every Friday at noon, you can go to World Cafe Live and see a free concert.  The performances are recorded and broadcast live on WXPN, complete with on-air announcements, so it’s really a fun thing to be a part of, and definitely a notch above the usual “lunch date.”  I recently met a date there to see Drink Up Buttercup, an energetic, psychedelic, PA-based garage band that has been gaining momentum both locally and nationally. Performances reliably start at noon and end about 30 minutes later, leaving plenty of time to actually enjoy lunch, too.  If you want to stay in-house, World Cafe has $8 pre-fixe lunch specials, but we opted instead to walk two blocks North on Walnut street to the more casual Picnic, which offers an inventive inventory of freshly made sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts.

How much we talkin’: The show is FREE. (Optional) drink at World Cafe Live is $5 (+ tip). Salad or sandwich at Picnic, $8 or less.

Why this will impress your date: Show you’re not just a slave to the man by indulging in a drink on your lunch hour. A real one.

The inside game: These shows can and do reach capacity, especially for larger national acts, and XPN makes registration available to its members before the general public.  If you’re not a member, check the free-at-noon events page to see who’s coming the next Friday and if space is available.  Registration is a simple matter of providing your name and email, and one person can RSVP for two or more guests.

Score extra points: By showing your date up to the balcony, accessible by the stairs on the second level.

Next date: Friday at noon! Find out who’s playing this week here.

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