A Creative Renaissance in Philadelphia's Fishtown

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The scruffy neighborhood of Fishtown in Philadelphia is having a creative renaissance, coming on the heels of Stephen Starr and Joe Carroll's recent opening of the barbecue restaurant Fette Sau. The southwest end of Frankford Avenue is becoming an artisanal avenue, with design shops, a small publishing press, restaurants and coffeehouses moving in to this former manufacturing district. Neighborhood pride is palpable; graceful metal sculptures line one stretch of sidewalk, and a wooden sign in a community garden reads "Welcome to Fishtown: Stop and smell the roses." First Fridays, the free open gallery nights along Frankford Avenue, are also drawing newcomers.

BOTTLE BAR EAST

This new bar and retail store has an impressive 700 varieties of craft beer for takeout, all of which can be enjoyed at the long, copper-topped bar. It is staffed by self-described "beer geeks" who are only too happy to expound on their favorite brews. Bar food includes a grilled Philly-style Cuban sandwich -- two kinds of prosciutto, roasted peppers, onions, house-pickled cucumbers -- and bourbon walnuts. Bottle Bar also features a local artists' gallery; the exhibition changes monthly with a First Friday kickoff celebrating the spotlighted artist.

1308 Frankford Avenue; (267) 909-8867; bottlebareast.com

STEAP AND GRIND

In a triangular brick building across from Palmer Park, this bright new tea and coffee emporium lists its daily offerings on two blackboards: "Steap" has a rotating selection of loose teas and daily brews (papaya wild pineapple and coco mate were recent highlights), while "Grind" gives the coffee roundup (from drip to espresso beverages and iced options).

1619 Frankford Avenue; (267) 858-4427; steapandgrind.com

ADORN

Two years ago, the jewelry maker Sarah Lewis was a craft pioneer in the neighborhood when she opened this showroom and studio. She designs romantic jewelry for the "modern free spirit" (recent collections include long chains, geometric shapes and turquoise) and adds clothing, bags and other items from her international travels that fit that aesthetic like block-print skirts and layered metal-link necklaces from Turkey.

1314 Frankford Avenue; (215) 739-2120; adornbysarahlewis.com

THE PARLOUR

Why do out-of-towners make a special trip to this industrial-chic hair and skin salon? Ayurvedic organic facials, custom razor cuts, massages: attentive service by experienced, friendly hands. In-house products include "mermaid waves": distilled water, coconut and jojoba oil, sea salt and alcohol (a k a beach hair in a bottle). You'll emerge from the high-ceilinged, exposed-brick space feeling as cool as its punk-rock stylists.

1339 Frankford Avenue; (215) 278-7613; parlourhairandskin.com

20TH CENTURY BY HKFA

Heather Karlie has an impeccable eye, sharpened by a decade spent stalking estate sales, auctions and flea markets for antique picture frames, furniture and housewares, all for top dealers in New York. Her year-old vintage design boutique, focusing on 20th-century modern finds, is chockablock with colorful treasures: a bright yellow dining room set, filigreed metal peacocks, and a pair of enamel lamps with colonial figures dancing across the lamp bases. The building dates from the 1700s. "I grew up right here, 30 years ago," said Ms. Karlie, whose home is behind the shop.

1311 Frankford Avenue; (917) 575-3234; 20thcenturybyhkfa.com

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times. First Published October 12, 2013 2:00 PM


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