Things to Eat

10 Philly bars with hot dogs to satisfy your drinking hunger

Booze-and-frankfurter options in Philadelphia run the gamut.

hotdog-creditdanyahenninger-02
Danya Henninger/ Billy Penn

Hot dogs have a very outdoorsy reputation. In addition to being America’s classic back-yard grilling favorite, they’re also a staple at the ballpark. But they’re a pretty great indoor snack, too — especially when soaking up a fun round of drinks.

Options for this in Philly run the gamut. There’s no-frills hot water dogs, bacon-wrapped chili dogs, dogs that are griddled and dogs that are fried. There’s even one served on a fancy baguette.

Here’s 10 bars around Philadelphia where you can get your drinking-and-dogging on.

Hot dog ‘French style’ at Le Caveau

614 S. 7th St. (Bella Vista)

This new wine bar on the second floor of The Good King Tavern serves $7 hot dogs — French style. Le Caveau’s beef and pork franks are prepared right in front of patrons, right behind the bar. They’re encased in a crusty French baguette, smeared with spicy dijon mustard and a little caper butter for extra umami kick.

Tradish dog at Dock Street Cannery + Lounge

705 S. 50th St. (West Philly)

There’s a lot of veg and vegan options at this Dock Street sister bar (literally where they can their beers) but along with house-made brews and fancy cocktails, the spot also serves a nicely unpretentious frank. The all-beef dog ($6) is served on a black poppy seed bun and topped with loads of chopped red tomato and onion. Add tabasco mayo and pickle slice for a kick and crunch.

Keeping it simple at the El Bar

1356 N Front St. (Fishtown)

The OG dive on the corner of Front and Master streets next to the El sticks to the basics. Whether in the tiny front room (which amazingly also hosts a mini performance stage AND a pool table) or the more spacious back extension, the inexpensive drinks are nicely matched with the plain boiled frank on a standard white bread bun. Do it up or down with ketchup, relish or mustard — condiments included for a grand total of $1.50.

Topped with beer at South Philly Tap Room

1509 Mifflin St. (Point Breeze/Newbold)

One of the city’s OG craft brew havens, this corner pub even gets beer into its $7 hot dog offering. The housemade relish ladled over the natural casing beef frank uses beer from local makers Love City in its recipe, and lager is also in the house-whipped spicy mustard spread over the top. Adding even more “decadence,” in the words of one bartender, is the buttery bed of a toasted split-top roll that holds it all together.

Griddled the family way at McNally’s Tavern

8634 Germantown Ave. (Chestnut Hill)

Run by the McNally family for 98 years, this Chestnut Hill standby is famous for its Schmitter, a combo of griddled beef, salami, cheese and lots of special sauce. The flattop that turns those hefty sandwiches out is also where the hot dog gets cooked — and it’s “more popular than you’d think,” according to an employee. The frankfurter is split and grilled to a snappy crisp, then tossed in a soft potato roll for a satisfying $4.25 snack.

All dogs all day at Destination Dogs

1111 Walnut St. (Center City)

Almost everything on this New Brunswick-based bar’s menu is a hot dog. Eaters can choose from a number of pre-made dogs or build your own. We tried the Rocky Bal-Boar-A dog, Philly’s dedicated dish based on the beloved cheesesteak. It’s $10.75 worth of Italian wild boar sausage topped with sliced steak, onions, peppers, cheese sauce and cherry pepper relish. Served with chips, one of the best parts of this meal is the buttery, toasted roll it comes in.

A neighbor’s dog at Garage

Pat’s Steaks, 1237 E. Passyunk Ave. to Garage, 1231 E. Passyunk Ave. (East Passyunk)

People were shocked — disturbed, even — to find out Philly’s oldest cheesesteak destination sells hot dogs. But they do, and they’re possibly even better than the signature sandwich. You can order a trio of deep-fried links or just get one. Pat’s Steaks serves the all-beef dog a bunch of ways, including wiz wit-style or with a fish patty for “poor man’s surf and turf.” Once you’ve had your pick, take the 47-second walk across to Garage, an East Passyunk bring-your-own-food spot with pinball, skeeball and lots of canned beer.

Spicing it up with salsa at Loco Pez

2401 E. Norris St. (Fishtown); 4631 Baltimore Ave. (West Philly); 700 S. 20th St. (Grad Hospital)

Choose one of the dozens of tequilas for a margarita to go with your dog at any branch of this trio of Tex-Mex taverns. Served during lunch and dinner at all locations — including the new outpost at 20th and Bainbridge — the “Street Dog” is wrapped in bacon, then loaded with beans, ketchup, mustard, cheese, jalapenos and pico de gallo for $5.50. Level up to the full-on chili dog for a dollar more.

‘2nd place’ dogs at Lucky’s Last Chance

4421 Main St. (Manayunk) and 848 S. 2nd St. (Queen Village)

Known for over-the-top burgers like the award-winning PB&J patty, this cozy pub with outposts in Manayunk and Queen Village also does franks — and plenty of them. Eight different varieties are listed, each featuring a natural casing, beef-pork blend from Dietz & Watson. Get it tucked into a toasted split-top bun by itself ($4) or add toppings like spicy mac ‘n’ cheese ($6) or pulled pork and slaw ($7.50).

Follow Bourdain’s footsteps to the Pen & Pencil

1522 Latimer St. (Center City)

This bar is run by the oldest continuously operating press club in the nation, but it’s also an after-hours hangout for restaurant industry folks. That’s how the late Anthony Bourdain ended up at the counter in 2012, playing rock-paper-scissors with the loser forced to do a shot of hot dog water. The franks themselves, sitting in a crock like at a street cart, are totally passable — especially since they’re free. Find a club member and have them take you along as a guest; the drinks aren’t gratis, but they’re definitely cheap.

Want some more? Explore other Things to Eat stories.

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