Sansom Street between 15th and 16th is a bar-hoppers paradise, home to a collection of night clubs, brew pubs, seafood restaurants, and perhaps the best dive bar in Philadelphia-Oscar’s Tavern.
Oscar’s is a unique establishment that is unlike most urban dives. Rather than catering to a certain clientele and relying heavily on regulars, Oscar’s on any given night is an eclectic mix of people; you can find recent 21-year-olds who are experiencing their first 23 oz. lager alongside regulars who have long forgotten their first beer.
It’s a refreshing crowd to find on a Friday night in the city, and there’s no better place to forget about the work day and feel comfortable in your own skin. The good vibes from Oscar’s hit you full force before you even enter the front door.
“Ah Michigan, a good state, good people.”
The man at the front door hands back your driver’s license with a grin. His smile is crooked yet endearing, one that you can tell is genuine. This man is in no way a bouncer, his modest stature and older age are clear indicators, and his cheerful nature seals the deal.
He tells you to have a great night and is always quick to chat a cigarette smoker. He is a microcosm for the atmosphere inside Oscar’s; everyone in there just wants to have a good time.
“Thanks, I like to think so.”
Depending on the night of the week, walking into Oscar’s can be as simple as finding a table at McDonald’s, or as painstakingly slow as a line at Disney World. The narrow hallway leading into the bar is constantly being trafficked by patrons coming and going, some leaving for good while others just step outside for a smoke.
Directly to your right is the food station at Oscar’s, home to a deep fryer and griddle, both of which churn out some of the best greasy bar food in the city. Anytime after 4 p.m., Oscar’s offers you one and a half cheesesteaks for the price of one. Add that to their already amazing offer of 23 oz draft beers for $3 and change, and you have the most wallet friendly bar in the city. It’s tough to take a peak over the window and not want to order something from that oily cage or that perfectly seasoned griddle.
Just past the griddle is where the bar seating starts, the narrow walkway continues leading you down a row of bar stools to your right and several booths to your left. The people occupying those seats can be the most varied bunch in the city; a table full of servers fresh off a night of slinging food and drinks, a couple old regulars who practically have their name written on the bar stool, a large group of college kids looking to see who can chug a 23 oz. lager the fastest, a few friends who just want to blow some cash on the jukebox and listen to MJ, the possibilities are endless. It is no exaggeration to say that every single night at Oscar’s is a different experience.
Once you make your way past the bar, Oscar’s offers you a collection of loosely organized tables with some of the best service you can find in the city. The female servers at Oscar’s are always friendly and attentive, but are also quick to put you in your place.
They are the ideal dive bar servers, quick to bring you another round, but even quicker to keep you in line. So saddle up to one of the vacant tables and start thinking about your juke box selection, the Oscar’s servers will take care of you.
That is what Oscar’s is all about, relaxing and taking it easy. Your beer will always be tall and cold, the fries will always be piping hot, and the jukebox will always have the same classics. There is nothing to worry abut when you are in Oscar’s, except for who is buying the next round.