Borrowing its name from Walter Benjamin’s canonical 1936 essay, Philadelphia’s Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is a multi-faceted lifestyle brand rooted in the American tradition of careful craftsmanship.
In the store—which opened in November 2008—and online, the brand has carefully curated its ever-evolving product mix to support and foster the artisan lifestyle, offering shoppers a blend of socially and environmentally conscious lines of apparel, accessories, and home goods, as well as independent, exclusive, and small-run pieces created by folk artisans. Brands of note includeGitman Vintage, Norman Porter, The Hill-Side, Penfield, and D.S. & Durga.
The trend in travel is to experience your destination like a local. So we’ve pounded the pavement (so you don’t have to) to give you the inside scoop on where to shop like a local in Philly. This is a city of neighborhoods and each offers its own unique retail attitude. I’ve focused on four districts that are must-visits for most travelers.
Starting point: Second Street
Old City boasts more than historic venues and colonial sights; it also teems with locally-owned boutiques and offbeat art galleries. Art lovers should report to Second Street, which is rife with galleries. Find contemporary art at 3rd Street Gallery on Second Street and LGTripp Gallery, or stop into Muse Gallery, an artists’ cooperative, featuring a range of mediums and styles. For unique, global finds visit Vivant Art Collection and Impact Imports.
Shop indie boutiques like Third Street Habit, Lost + Found, Vagabond andThe Geisha House on Third Street for trendy women’s clothing and accessories. Be sure to stop into Scout Salvage and Vintage Rescue andArt in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction for one-of-a-kind and locally-made finds.
Vibe: Chic, designer
Starting point: Walnut Street
Head to posh Rittenhouse Square for a designer experience. Walnut Street is home to loads of luxe and fashion-forward brands, including Coach,Tiffany and Co., Free People, INTERMIX, Vince, My.Suit, Zara and Stuart Weitzman.
Tucked on 17th and Samson streets you’ll find Italian designer footwear boutique Head Start Shoes. Nearby, browse fiction, art books and children’s literature at Joseph Fox Books. Next door, stadler-Khan is a local treasure for unique gifts, vintage jewelry and clothing.
Local fashion forces Joan Shepp and Seun Olubodun take residence on Chestnut Street. Joan Shepp’s eponymous, multi-level concept store has been the premier fashion retailer in this city for more than 40 years. Here, you’ll find clothing and accessories from luxury designers like Phillip Lim, Vivienne Westwood and Moschino. At Seun Olubodun’s Duke & Winston, you’ll find preppy, collegiate tees and hoodies inspired by British collegiate style and Olubodun’s loyal English Bulldog, HRH the Duke. Nearby, The Shops at Liberty Place is an indoor shopping complex, featuring stores likeellelauri and Les Richards and Kiehl’s.
Vibe: Homegrown hip
Starting point: 13th Street
In the not-too-distant past, this neighborhood was nameless. But thanks to an energetic merchants association, the area around 13th Street between Chestnut and Locust streets has been reborn as a hot spot for dining and shopping. Gift shops on 13th Street run the gamut: Find one-of-a-kind jewelry from local and international designers at Bella Turka; handmade all-natural soaps, scrubs and soaks are packed into locally-owned Duross & Langel; Open House is the place to find stylish home accessories, children’s gear, quirky books and gifts. Across the street, Verde sells trendy accessories and jewelry and women’s clothing.
For high-end vintage pieces, a visit to Philadelphia Vintage and Consignment Shoppe on 12th Street is a must. This tiny boutique is packed with sequined gowns, costume jewelry and beautiful clutches. For stationery, cards and pretty little gifts head to The Papery.
South Street & Queen Village
Starting point: South Street
One of Philadelphia’s most famous streets, South Street attracts the free-spirited, funky and creative types with its eclectic mix of shops, eateries and music venues. Stop into Urban Princess for locally-made clothing, purses, jewelry, home goods and more. Just off of South Street, Crash Bang Boom outfits glam punk and goth shoppers with studded jewelry, neon hair dye and band tees. Find gems, crystals, jewelry and mythical home décor atMineralistic. For brands like French Connection, Citizens of Humanity andHugo Boss, head to Platinum. Then walk to Mushmina, a ways away west of Broad Street on South Street–trust us, it’s worth it. Shop fair trade clothing, accessories and home goods straight from Morocco.
South of South Street, Queen Village boasts historic charm, while offerings contemporary appeal with its popular pubs, cafes and shopping alongFabric Row. You might guess what you’ll find there—textile resources, custom tailors and dress makers.
Best of Philly
Best Place for Guy Gifts
2014 BEST PLACE FOR GUY GIFTS
Art in the Age
Consider the “He’s so hard to shop for” dilemma a thing of the past. From heritage clothing (Penfield and Woolrich) to cologne (he can smell like evergreens!) to a fully stocked camping cocktail kit (complete with a flask and booze, of course), it’s hard to find something here he won’t like.
116 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA | 215-922-2600 | Website
The world is all about crafting these days, and we’re not just referring to knitters on Etsy. Wine and beer have been undergoing craft revolutions, with local, organic, “boutique”, and “handmade” showing up on labels and during tastings. But the biggest changes are coming from small-batch spirits and distillers, all the rage in cocktail bars which seem to be springing up practically daily across the United States. Here are three you might not be able to find in your local watering hole, but which are worth seeking out.
The strikingly beautiful Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Añejo Tequila, the world’s most awarded tequila, deserves special mention for the packaging. While plenty of bottles are eye-catching, this one is perhaps the best we’ve ever seen at showcasing both the lovely color of the precious liquid inside, as well as connecting to the crop (the hand-blown glass is shaped in the form of agave, the source of all tequila). Luckily, the stuff inside is classy as well, a very smooth and perfectly-aged sipping tequila that definitely shouldn’t be blended. In fact, this was one of the first that we didn’t bother making margaritas out of, and would consider almost criminal to do so. Clay oven roasted in the traditional style, then triple distilled and aged for 36 months in white oak, there are no edges here, and the caramel/pepper sweet/spice balance is spot-on. There’s no aftertaste, but still a slight smokiness, a little earthiness, and plenty of wood- no surprise that it’s won everything from “Best in Class” to Double Gold Medals at the SF World Spirits Competition. That said, it’s almost like a long-aged whiskey or some wines- the smoother it gets, the more you might miss some character. And the price is sure to make you appreciate every drop- at around $75 a bottle, it’s in a category of it’s own, and we’ll be savoring it (and the beautiful bottle) for some time to come.
On the flip side, the bottles for Philly-based Art In The Age spirits couldn’t be much simpler, with a style that recalls a different time. Shaped liked classic medicinal and simply labeled,we’ve been tasting their Sage “garden gin”, a very old-school version that is the fourth in their line (check out their other focused styles, like Root, Rhubarb, and Snap). This one skips the botanical behind true gins, juniper, in favor of others that make it into a very fresh, herbaceous mixer- thyme, rosemary, lavender, and fennel all play a role. We tried variations on the Julep and Gimlet, but had no trouble enjoying it over ice. 80-proof and crisp, the licorice-pine notes balance well against lemon and lime, and we found ourselves coming back to this one over traditional gins when paired with tonic too. Available now, it’s a great way to transition from summer to fall, and runs about $30 a bottle.
On the topic of “almost-gins”, how about something old-fashoned in a completely different way. Prohibition shuttered businesses and reconfigured the entire industry, and the first distiller in the city of Napa since that era is none other than Napa Valley Distillery, home to the Old Hollywood Ginn. Note that extra “n”- it’s because the government regulates spirits and defines them, and this one doesn’t meet the requirements due it’s grape brandy base. Who needs ‘em? This version is made with nine botanicals and American oak chips, and aged as well. Most gins are clear, of course, but this one isn’t distilled again so offers a nice golden color. An unusual cinnamon and clove note at the top and oaky toastiness pair better with sweet than tart- put down the tonic and try other speakeasy cocktails (they suggest a play on the Aviation). Available directly, for around $32.
Does the coconut not get the respect it deserves? Coconut is everywhere! It’s a bonafide trend, the water at least. I mean, few billion dollar industries can complain about “not getting respect” and come out sounding unlike this guy. But I suppose this week’s MxMo theme, courtesy of JFL at Rated R Cocktails does have a point: aside from the ubiquitous and often underwhelming Piña Colada, Coconut doesn’t have the same prestigious place in the cocktail fruit pantheon as Pineapple or Blackberry. So, in the spirit of the challenge, can we bring coconut back to the stage? Can we make it the star? Give it a reason to be kept behind the bar? And most importantly can I laugh in the face of all that is holy and sacred in food pairing and make gin and coconut work together? Take that Flavor Bible*.
I thought that my challenge was going to be pairing the astringent foresty notes of a good gin with coconut’s creamy richness. Gin and cream go together really well, but for some reason coconut always felt a little dissonant with gin: a touch funky, a touch tropical, but without that delightful acidic balance that pineapple or citrus fruits bring to the party. I knew we needed citrus, and thanks to some sort of deep-seeded-instinct I knew exactly which to choose.
The choice of Gin was a bit of a challenge too. I didn’t want anymore sweetness, but I also wanted a bit of a floral note as well. Hello Mr. Brockman (). The dry, but floral perspective was exactly what we needed. I then took some cues from other famous cream-forward gin drinks to add a rich floral froth to kick it up a notch.
Hainuwele’s Gin [who is Hainuwele?]
Who is Hainuwele? She was the child of a coconut blossom and blood in an Indonesian creation myth. Her talent that when she had to go, she excreted things of great worth. So of course, as all great myths, the men who accepted her gifts, decided to kill her. Her corpse was dismembered and once re-planted her body transfigurated into nourishing food: tubers! Check out wikipedia for the full story. But this cocktail is not an elegy to her death, but instead a celebration of her life: a drink for the woman named “coconut branch” born of a coconut. I thought it was an evocative name for a drink which combines coconut and Mother’s Ruin, a.k.a. Gin.
3 tbsp of heavy cream.
3 tbsp. of coconut milk.
1 drop of orange flower water
2 oz. Brockman’s Gin
1/2 oz. Art in the Age’s Root
Juice of Half a lime
First. combine the milk, cream, and orange flower water. Shake well dry until the cream is whipped, light and frothy. Then in another shaker, combine lime juice, Root, Gin and ice. Shake and strain into a mixing glass. Add whipped cream and coconut. Stir once or twice to combine cream with water, then pour into a coupe glass. Serve with a lime wedge [for squeezing on top to bring some more of that bright lime to the surface].
The drink itself is rich and creamy. You get the orange flower notes up top, but its the murky depths where the bright florals or the gin, the spicy birch and herbs from the Root and this rich, but surprising depth where the coconut begins to come out of the cream. It’s perhaps among the more interesting cocktails I’ve come up with, especially considering that short of this competition I probably would never have thought to combine gin and coconut milk. But that being said? I think Coconut does have some untapped potential.
*I’m just Kidding, Flavor Bible you are my favorite cookbook.
Who doesn’t love the classic Gin and Tonic? It’s simple, easy to make, and tastes phenomenal. But sometimes you might be in the mood for something a little different even though it’s hard to stray from those old favorites. Luckily, there’s a Gin and Tonic craze going on as bartenders everywhere have been jazzing up this cocktail, resulting in some rather unusual takes on this classic drink. We rounded up ten unconventional but awesome gin and tonics you need to try ASAP.
Some consider Labor Day to be the end of the summer, but here in L.A. it feels like the season is still going strong. Like, really, really strong. Blazing in fact. This weekend I found myself sweltering in my apartment with no sign of reprieve (or central air), so I decided to do what any logical person would do: make myself a cool, refreshing cocktail that sings of the summer and reminds me why we wait so anxiously for this season in the first place.
Those fleeting summer days will be gone before we know it – but that doesn’t call for an end of the festivities. Squeeze every last drop of summer with a celebration in honor of National Rum Day today Saturday, August 16th and spike your cocktails with some aged white rum nearly 150 years in the making.