The pilgrimage to West Philly

Joanna Leigh Simon
Favorite Spot: Dahlak
Neighborhood: West Philly
Address: 4708 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143

I Am: Creative director for Philly-based video production company Skout Media. Grew up just outside Philly, then left for a whole, and now I’m back!
Years in Philly: 10 years growing up outside the city, 5 years living downtown
Current Home: Fishtown

My Love Note

Dear Dahlak,

It’s been over two years since I moved out of West Philly, but whenever my time there comes up in conversation or comes to mind, inevitably, so do you. I was bright eyed and new to town. I spent my formative years on the Main Line but still didn’t know the city too well when I unpacked my 3rd floor apartment at 48th and Baltimore.

I don’t remember the first time I walked through your unassuming doors and through the skinny hallway to your dark bar, or out back to the concrete patio, strewn with folding chairs and classroom desks. All I remember is, out of all the bars in all the towns and cities, you are damn near the best. String lights, plastic tables. Four-dollar whiskey-and-diet-cokes. Whether I was alone with a book or looking to camp out for the night with a dozen friends, you welcomed with open arms. The staff isn’t showy but they don’t mind being there. They always turn around the lagers and tiny whiskey drinks with a flourish.

There’s always something nostalgia-inducing coming from the juke box, and, in true West Philly style, no shortage of friendly strangers to chat with or bond with throughout the nights, many of which were the summer kind – hot, and bright, and dirty, and full of cheers and laughter. We got into trouble a lot after leaving your little backyard. The good kind of trouble.

I left West for South, and have since moved North, but I always speak of you fondly and even make the pilgrimage back once every few months. You haven’t changed a bit, Dahlak, and I hope you never do!


Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in West Philly Leave a comment

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