Trestle Inn offers a whiskey–fueled disco escape from the Penn bubble
I was a little worried when our taxi dropped us off at what looked to be a crack house in the no–man’s–land between Chinatown and Northern Liberties. “I mean, I like to let loose as much as the next guy, but when you said we were gonna have fun tonight, I thought you meant get drunk, not shoot up heroin,” my friend said worriedly. “Whatever. Senior year! YOLO!” yelled my other friend.
Because the Trestle Inn is located north of the Vine Street Expressway, it seems out of the way and hard to reach. But it’s actually only a few blocks away from Chinatown, making it the perfect spot to hit up after your friend’s birthday BYO at Charles Plaza.
Inside, the crack house theme continues with a decor that can best be described as “Trainspotting” meets “Austin Powers,” but in a good way. Projectors screen vintage footage from 60s flicks on the raw, unvarnished walls. Near the bar, an old sign from the days when the Inn was a strip club begs patrons to “please commit no nuisance.” “I’ll try,” I think to myself, “but I make no promises…”
The mirrored shelves behind the bar boast an impressive collection of whiskeys, the Trestle Inn’s specialty. The beer list is equally impressive, but lots of bars in Philly have impressive beer lists, so when in retro–funky Rome, do as the retro–funky Romans do and order a whiskey sour—it’s reasonably priced ($9 regularly, pitchers for $18 and only $6 during happy hour) and quite delicious. They also have an impressive bar menu, featuring “Sweetish” meatballs with a sweet whiskey sauce ($6).
While the whiskey selection here is definitely top–notch, what really differentiates the Trestle Inn from any old bar with a solid cocktail list is the dancing. You know those nights when you want to go out dancing, but you just don’t feel like grinding your junk into someone else’s trunk (or vice versa) to Top 40 remixes at Rumor? Those are the nights that Trestle is for. The DJs stick to a repertoire of ’60s and ’70s disco, funk and soul (don’t bother asking for any Taylor Swift, I already did and they don’t have it). Professional go-go dancers—and the occasional drunk girl—get the crowd going on light–up platforms around the dance floor.
I’m generally wary of any genre of music that has such close associations with bell-bottomed pants and platform shoes (with the exception of the Spice Girls, of course). But with a fun crowd, friendly atmosphere and a few drinks to loosen me up, the funky disco music and dancing made for a fun and atypical night out way off campus.