a.bar | In addition to the full-service restaurant a.kitchen, the AKA hotel on Rittenhouse Square has expanded its amenities to include a super-sleek bar in the former Kiehl’s space. With no hot kitchen on premises, the menu centers around small plates and is decidedly seafood-heavy, with the main attraction being a well-appointed raw bar. The wine list, courtesy of sommelier Tim Kweeder (also the architect of a.kitchen’s stellar roster), focuses on artisanal natural wines — and immediately ranks as one of the best in the city. Open daily, 3 p.m.-midnight, 135 S. 18th St., 215-825-7000, stayaka.com.
Garage | The latest opening from Jason Evenchik (Growlers, Vintage) celebrates beer in cans and boardwalk vibes in the shell of a former body shop. The space has been kitted out with skeeball, pinball and pool tables (yes, the games spit out redeemable tickets) and an indoor lunch cart that will host a rotating cast of cooks from some of the city’s best-known food trucks. There’s also a generous “BYO cheesesteak” food policy, and if the list of cans numbering in the hundreds doesn’t do it for you, the bar offers a few drafts and a minimalist approach to wine — you want red or white? Open daily, 5 p.m.-2 a.m., 1231 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-278-2429.
Serpico | Any time a decorated New York chef moves to Philly, you can expect a good dose of breathless anticipation. When word got out that the newest arrival was the chef who opened Momofuku Ko with David Chang, the Philly food scene was left gasping for air. After months spent ducking most of the hype, Peter Serpico opened the doors last month. Though undoubtedly stylish, the neighborhood-joint vibe comes through with chalkboard menus and bar seating overlooking an open kitchen. The opening menu includes plenty of approachable tastes like hand-torn pastas and lamb ribs, though not without some twists (try not to look surprised when your foie hits the table in powder form). Open Sun.-Thu., 5-11 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m.-midnight, 604 South St., 215-925-3001, serpicoonsouth.com.
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