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June 02, 2023

Philly's Andra Hem, Superfolie listed among best bars in U.S. by Esquire

The Rittenhouse Square spots, both opened in the last year, are among the 33 establishments highlighted by the publication's annual listing

Food & Drink Bars
Esquire Best Bars Pylyp Sukhenko/Unsplash

Two Center City bars, Andra Hem and Superfolie, were named on Esquire's 2023 list of the best bars in the U.S.

Two new Philadelphia bars are receiving national recognition as part of Esquire's annual list of the best bars in the U.S., published Thursday. 

Andra Hem, a Scandinavian-inspired cocktail lounge, and French wine bar Superfolie were named among the 33 best bars. Both are located in Rittenhouse Square; Andra Hem opened at 218 S. 16th St. last November and Superfolie came to 1602 Spruce St. in early March.

In its 18th year, the publication's list focuses on "spirited originality," with a collection of new and reinvented lounges, taverns and taprooms tucked away in major cities across the country.

Helmed by Paige West, who has spent the bulk of her career curating an art collection started by her father, the low-lit Andra Hem features classic cocktails mixed with specialty drinks aimed at providing a taste of Sweden. Those include the Nothing Beets a Dala Horse, a beet-infused mezcal and horseradish cocktail paired with potato pancakes and prawns, and the Lambhattan, a classic Manhattan made with lamb-fat-washed bourbon, both of which Esquire recommends.

"Andra Hem is Swedish for 'second home,' and in some ways you feel as if you've stepped into someone's maximalist two story townhouse where the walls are painted peacock blue and mustard, the art is real and esoteric, and the lichen-like wallpaper behind the bar is wild and just the right amount of psychedelic," wrote Esquire's Kevin Sintumuang.

Superfolie is a hole-in-the-wall wine bar opened by married couple Chloe Grigri and Vincent Stipo. The name, which is French for "fanciful," has a wide selection of bubbly, white, orange and red wines; many of the more than 70 bottles in its wine cellar are hand-picked by staff. For a special experience, Sintumuang recommends asking for the evening's special bottle picked from the cellar.

"Why is Superfolie always packed? There's a rare, easy sophistication in this jewel box of a space in Rittenhouse Square," wrote Sintumuang. "The energy, like the name of the bar itself, is Frenchy, but not seriously so... It's a place to begin an adventure and never really know where you may end up."

Andra Hem is open Wednesday-Saturday 4 p.m.-midnight. Reservations are recommended, but not required, and can be made on Resy. The cocktail lounge has no social media presence, though a quick Instagram search is met with dozens of happy patrons lauding the bar's decor and upscale drink menu. 

Superfolie is open Tuesday-Saturday 4:30-11 p.m, taking walk-ins only. Sneak peaks of the staff's cellar picks can be found on Instagram

Hop Sing Laundromat, Philly's resident speakeasy in Chinatown, was named among Esquire's best bars in 2019, particularly for its "bibulous delights" that represent "the gold standard of elegant sipping." The windowless and doorless operation that is quick to deny entry to guests wearing shorts and sandals is widely acclaimed among casual drinkers and cocktail aficionados. 

West Philly's Fiume, which closed its permanent location in early 2022 and now hosts pop-ups around the city, made the list in 2020. No Philly bars made the list in 2021 or 2022.