Washington Square West’s newest late-night hangout
For a great long while, the Washington Square West neighborhood lacked a bar where folks could have a casual drink alongside well-crafted pub grub. That all changed with the opening of Varga Bar.
Varga is a neighborhood pub in the truest sense, serving all-American comfort foods, American cheeses and more than 20 hard-to-find, American-made craft beers. And with its wrap-around sidewalk seating, Varga has become a pitch-perfect summer destination for alfresco drinks and bites.
Varga serves upscale bar food with a nod towards 1940s-era American staples. The food is especially delicious in the wee hours — the kitchen is open until 1 a.m.
Highlights include the much-loved crab cheese fries, pulled pork sandwich (pictured at right), house-cured pickles and the tangerine and chili Berkshire baby-back pork ribs. Entrées are generally $20 or less.
Dessert is also available, including a four-layer carrot cake, brownie sunday and a root-beer float — you can’t get much more all-American than that.
Varga fills 20+ taps with a collection of unusual, American-made beers. Highlights include Founder’s Backwoods Bastard, Russian River Damnation, Rogue Imperial Pilsner and Flying Fish Cask.
The inspiration for Varga came from Peruvian-born artist Alberto Vargas, whose iconic WWII-era pin-up illustrations for Esquire magazine became known as “Varga Girls.” First reproduced on WWII fighter planes, the illustrations now define the décor for Varga Bar: a ceiling mural above the bar features “a bevy of buxom beauties,” and several more adorn the walls and front door.
Varga’s outdoor seating is possibly its greatest asset. During the warmer months, patrons can sit along either 10th or Spruce Streets, while Varga’s large windows are opened to give its interior a breezy feel.
Varga on Twitter
It’s not unusual to walk by Varga and see a perfectly delectable menu option (e.g. soft-shell crab sandwich) scrawled on its outdoor chalkboard.
But since you probably can’t walk by everyday, follow Varga Bar on Twitter at (twitter.com/vargabar) for up-to-the-minute specials and beer additions.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
9th and Walnut Streets Philadelphia, PA 19107
- Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Sports Museum
- Lantern Theater Company
- The Wilma Theater
- Rustic Music
- Pennsylvania Hospital
- Philly Art Experience
at Bridgette Mayer Gallery
- The Philadelphia Orchestra
- Walnut Street Theatre
- Pennsylvania Ballet
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