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Wednesday, February 1, 2023



For about 100 years, traveling salesmen, circus performers, immigrants, go-go girls, factory and rail workers, cab drivers and downtowners have come to the Trestle Inn at the southeast corner of 11th and Callowhill to cut loose. From the hustle and bustle of the railroad age to the decay of the post-industrial era, patrons could be guaranteed a good drink and a good time under the cover of the Reading Railroad viaduct. 

The Trestle Inn of today is up from seedy (still a tough ‘hood at night) and evokes these bygone days with a wink to the free spirit of the 60s and 70s. Stroll into this unassuming “whiskey and go-go” bar and you’ll feel transported through time. The dancehall and speakeasy scream 1970s lounge, with its glowing bar and actual go-go dancers performing most nights of the week. Brown liquor is in ample supply here, whether you’re looking for whiskey, bourbon, rye, or scotch. Sours are particularly popular and inexpensive. 

Show up on weekends for the complete Trestle Inn experience, when DJs play funk and soul jams to a packed dance floor, and the go-go gals shimmy until close at 2am.. Half block away is the elevated (former Reading Rail line) that’s now The Rail Park (akin to Manhattan’s High Line). Philly’s Reading line Built in the 1890s to carry passenger and freight trains into Center City, the viaduct consists of steel bridge structures, elevated filled areas and arched masonry bridges running from 11th and Vine streets to 9th Street and Fairmount Avenue, with a spur at Noble Street. 

The South entrance to the elevated Rail Park is half a block away
from The Trestle Inn, Philly's venerable brown liquor bar.

After the last train traveled its rails in 1984, the viaduct rapidly succumbed to weeds and disrepair. In 1995, the city’s rail authority acquired the quarter-mile-long spur – now the Rail Park -- that curves off northwest from the main branch. The park’s design was chosen to reflect the neighborhood’s industrial roots and repurpose the historic elements of the rail structure wherever possible. A wide path through the park is edged with native canopy trees and other plantings designed to provide air quality benefits and manage storm water runoff, and interspersed with a variety of public spaces, wide platform benches, wooden bench swings and walkways. 

Thanks to some urban vision, Philadelphia and its Trestle Inn are on the right side of the tracks.

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