Just off of Rittenhouse Square Park in Philadelphia sits a great little neighborhood lounge appropriately called Rum Bar. Believe me, they know their stuff!
Now, I’ve been to a lot of bars, neighborhood joints, cocktail lounges, upscale watering holes and even an occasional dive. But honestly, very few of them compare to Rum Bar…..and that’s not the rum talking. Adam Kanter, owner & resident rum nerd, has done a brilliant job of creating a friendly establishment that caters to cane spirits aficionados as well as patrons who may be new to rum.
The interior at Rum Bar has an urban-chic feel with exposed brick walls, strategic lighting and custom artwork. The music alternates between reggae and lounge, and even an occasional Nirvana track as the night wears on. The night I stopped by, the bar area was filled with a friendly group of regulars and an endless stream of local professionals. It just happened to be Wednesday, Save the Daiquiri Night, and everyone was enjoying a different variation of this classic at half price.
The rum selection is mind blowing, of course. They have over 150 brands, and that is a true achievement for any bar in Pennsylvania, a state known to have some of the strangest liquor laws in the US. But it’s not the quantity of rums on their shelf that’s so impressive, it’s the quality. Of their collection, more than 1/3 are premium, aged rums. The list is too long for this article, but check out the Rum Bar website for the full menu. For me, the most intriguing inclusions were Appleton 21, Barbancourt Estate Reserva, Rhum JM 1997, Clement XO and El Dorado 21 and 25!
Adam Kanter has also taken an interest in infused rums and has a variety of wild creations on hand. The cucumber and creole infusions are terrific and are the main ingredients, along with homemade bitters, in several unique cocktails.
Plenty of places boast a big rum selection these days, but the Rum Bar in Philly actually knows what to do with these premium spirits. Simply put, the bar staff here kicks ass. Vena and Zeq are true mixologists and passionate about cane spirits, cocktails and service. I sampled several drinks throughout the evening and they were all very well done. I’ve heard that Vena is known as the Mojito Queen due to her mastery of this classic cocktail, and Zeq talks about his personal stash of home-infused rums like a proud mad scientist. Your cocktails at Rum Bar are in very good hands!
If you’re looking for something a little different, try one of the weekly drink specials. During my visit is was the Peanut Colada – Castries Rum Cream, Malibu Coconut Rum, pineapple juice and coconut shavings. At 6 bucks, you can hardly go wrong.
Want a little recognition for all your rum-drinking exploits at Rum Bar? Pick up a Rum Passport and keep track of what you imbibe. This is a quasi frequent flyer program that awards you for your interest in and consumption of good cane spirits. Once you’ve checked off everything on the list, you get a name-engraved plaque posted on the Rum Bar wall of fame and a free bottle of rum.
Whether you’re a regular customer or just stumbled in for the first time, the folks at Rum Bar are sure to take care of you. Their wide selection of spirits and hip atmosphere are surely reasons for their success. But it’s their extreme knowledge of rum, perfectly mixed cocktails and personal interaction with patrons that will keep the Rum Bar booming for years to come. Cheers to all my new friends in Philly. See you next time.
2005 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103