STATUS Q: Philly Chic

No longer known for cheesesteaks and Rocky Balboa, Philadelphia is actually becoming kind of cool. I grew up a mere fifteen minutes away from the city in south Jersey and when younger I often yearned to live somewhere more cosmopolitan. But I have to say in the past few years ol’ Phils has transformed into a pretty rad city with a vibrant art scene, good food, and plenty of shopping .  Neigborhoods like Northern Liberties and the formerly run down Fishtown are becoming increasingly hip with new bars and restaurants opening constantly. Meanwhile Olde City remains the old standby for cobblestone streets, art galleries, and shopping. After you’ve taken pics next to the Liberty Bell and chilled at Betsey Ross’s pad, leave the tourist masses behind and explore Philly for reals. EAT If there ever was a restaurant to prove how much Philly is over cheesesteaks it would be fancy fance Buddakan. The Asian-fusion food is so delicious you could lick it off your fingers. And let’s not get started on the chocolate bento box. Strapped for cash? Try Beau Monde. The creperie offers an array of savory buckwheat crepes filled with all kinds of deliciousness from herbed flavored butters, French sausage, cheeses, grilled veggies, scallops and even coq au vin. Bar Ferdinand is perfs if you’re in the mood for some tapas. But don’t be fooled, these tapas are filling. Be prepared to bust open your pants. If you find yourself in a drunken late night stupor and need to eat or if you want a yummy breakfast Silk City Diner is a must. The sweet potatoes fries will make you scream! DRINK If you secretly wish you were a headbanger or a member of the Hells Angels  Tattooed Mom is the place to go. Just make sure you bring some hand sanitizer with you. Bob and Barbara is a dive bar institution. You’ll meet the town drunks, rockers, trust fund kids, and it’s probably the only non-gay bar that hosts a drag show. Even if you’re not a fan of jazz, Wanna meet a cute hipster in skinny jeans? 700 Club has them in spades. Downstairs is a bar, upstairs looks like dance party in your grandma’s attic. DJs spin indie rock and old school tunes that will bring you back to junior high. Or elementary school depending on how old you are. The Khyber is where you can throw back a cold one and catch a new band. There’s usually a cover but if you want to rock out with your cock out the Khyber is it. SHOP Third Street is home to some of the cuter shops in Philly and spitting distance from all things historic. Get your vintage on at Forbidden Planet. Multitudes of Studio 54 clutches, stacks of gold bracelets hanging from the ceiling, coke whore heels, Dynasty dresses, and 60's Mod shifts, are crammed into this tiny basement shop. I have a sweet tooth for cute dresses so I love Sugarcube. The minimalist store design serves as a perfect backdrop for the vintage and eclectic contemporary brands such as Clione, Laura Seymour, Eskell, and Raasta. For some local flavor, check out Vagabond. This fun boutique also stocks the owners' own lines City of Brotherly Love and Stellapop along with vintage and other local designers. Now who's the fairest of them all? It might just be Third Street Habit. This all around fantastic stores sells a well edited selection of designers including 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent, Generra, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Foley & Corinna, and Larok to name a few. This is the place to go when you want to look fresh, polished and modern. PLAY If you happen to be in Philly at the beginning of the month, First Friday is the shiz. From 5-9 the first Friday of every month, all of the galleries in the Olde City area are open and more importantly serving free wine. Space 1026 is an amazing art collective / gallery / art space / printing studio with a roster of artists who all share the space. Check out their events page to see what’s going on. The Trocadero, or “Troc” as the locals call it, is the venue to go to see all your fave indie bands on tour. Olde City Tattoo is by far the best tattoo shop in the city and if you’ve been thinking about getting one, now’s the time to do it! For those who haven’t grown up near the Amish, catching a glimpse of them is like see the ghost of Christmas past. At Reading Terminal Market, see the Amish in their full bonnet glory, harking Shoefly pie and various other treats that will give you sustenance after a long day of farming. Addresses: Buddakan. 325 Chestnut Street. 215.574.9440 www.buddakan.com Beau Monde. 624 S. 4th Street. 212.592.0656. www.creperie-beaumonde.com Bar Ferdinand. 1030 N. 2nd Street. 215.923.1313. www.barferdinand.com Tattooed Moms. 530 South Street. 215.238.9980 Bob and Barbara. 1509 South Street. 215.545.4511 700 Club. 700 N. 2nd Street. 215.413.3181 Forbidden Planet. 10 N. 3rd St. Tel: 215.923.7399 Vagabond. 37 N. 3rd St. Tel: 267.671.0737. www.vagabondboutique.com Sugarcube. 124 N. 3rd St, Tel: 215.538.0825 www.sugarcube.us Third Street Habit. 153 N. 3rd St, Tel: 215.925.5455. www.thirdstreethabit.com First Fridays. www.oldcityarts.org Space 1026. 1026 Arch St, 2nd Floor. 215.574.7630. www.space1026.com Trocadero. 1003 Arch Street. 215.922.6888 www.thetroc.com Olde City Tattoo. 44 S. 2nd Street. 215.627.6271 Reading Terminal Market. 51 N. 12th Street. 215.922.2317 www.readingterminalmarket.orgH