Happy hour, pre-dinner apéritifs, post-dinner digestifs, a marathon pub crawl that lasts until last call (and then some). We don’t refer to any of those experiences as night drinking. Yet, we feel pressed to qualify any imbibing done before 5 p.m. (even though it’s always five o’clock somewhere) as day drinking, such is the stigma that stems from the “Mad Men” era, when the men drank themselves under the lunch table and the women, under the coffee table, neither supposedly the wiser. Clearly, we’re a much more restrained culture now.
Day drinking these days is more about taking advantage—of a rare couple of quiet hours among old friends, of a gentle breeze on a July afternoon, of a setting that’s far too cool for our likes come nightfall—than blacking out. (Though blacking out’s still on the table. We’re not Mormons.)
Summer itself is practically an open invitation to ditch the to-do list (and the kids) and rustle up a spur-of-the-moment BYO gathering by the pool, at the park or the beach. But there’s also something about sliding into a dimly lit booth on an ideal afternoon that feels deliciously rebellious. Neither way’s wrong. There are, after all, no rules for day drinking. Other than postpone the errands for another day altogether, not simply until later in the afternoon. That’s a viral video waiting to happen.
On that note, allow us to introduce you to a few of our favorite day-drinking spots.
Paramour (at the Wayne Hotel) | Wayne
When the sun’s shining bright and the humidity’s lightened up, the sidewalk seats along North Wayne Avenue are highly coveted, naturally. But the savviest among us know to seek out the 110-year-old Tudor Revival veranda, complete with ceiling fans and ample views of the surrounding gardens. Either way, order the Parisian Spritz, a light, bright sparkling wine cocktail spiked with a dollop of peach puree.
World of Beer | Exton
The franchise is comprised of 75 locations spread across 21 states, yet this one, which opened in May, is Pennsylvania’s first and only (because control states rarely get to have nice things). A thousand-square-foot patio holds more than enough table seating, as well as several outdoor sofas and a cornhole court. It’s what your backyard would look like if you had room for a thousand-square-foot deck, 60 rotating taps and a 600-bottle menu.
Martine’s RiverHouse | New Hope
People watching can be overstimulating. And sometimes—most of the time—the whole point of day drinking is to step out of your routine and dive headfirst into your company. On such occasions, there is no more tranquil setting (with a well-stocked bar and a well-versed bartender at your disposal) than the riverside deck at Martine’s. Main Street bustles on the other side of the restaurant, but it may as well be miles away.
Pag’s Wine Bar | Doylestown
Stuck home when, really, you should be using your vacation days more wisely? Head to Paganini. Between the deep (and reasonably priced) wine cellar, the small-plates menu and the just-out-of-the-way location, it’s an honest facsimile of a European square experience. Sip, nosh, repeat. No hurry.
Mas Mexicali Cantina | West Chester
If there was an official drink for day drinking, it’d have to be the margarita. Mas Mexicali obliges with 11 varieties. Paired with the rooftop deck, there may be no better place around here to watch a hazy sun set with a drink in hand (and a taco in the other).
Va La Vineyards | Avondale
Sidle up to the bar to try one (or four) of Anthony Vietri’s authentic, Italian-style field blends, each paired with a locally made artisanal cheese. From there, grab a bottle of your favorite and head for the deck out back, where it feels more like Tuscany than Chester County.
Tired Hands Fermentaria | Ardmore
The large picture windows (ideal people for watching), tall ceiling and the skylights make for one airy space. But unlike the saturated suckers walking by on the other side of those windows, you’re savoring your house-brewed session beer (a beer made for day drinking) and whiskey dills at a lovely 70 degrees with no hint of humidity.
X Marks the Spot
Legally, we can’t advise you to head for your secret-but-public spot with a bottle or a sixer in tow, but they’re the places that spring to mind first when you hear “day drinking,” are they not? No table, no chairs. Maybe a blanket. Definitely a spectacular view. We won’t tell if you won’t.