Adelphia at 13th and Chesnut

The Adelphia  was one of the busiest and oldest hotels in Philadelphia until its closure in 1974.  The lobby was cozy with a forties look.  The red carpeting and hand operated elevators showed something from a prior era.  At the back of the lobby was the Adelphia Room, which housed the city headquarters of the USO.  At one time, it may have been a dining room but I not certain.  The Coffee Shop was downstairs.  All of the serious dining and drinking was in the Adelphia Tavern.  Located on the west side, customers could enter through either the revolving door on 13th Street or the lobby.

The tavern itself had an English decor with pictures of the fox hunting.  It was similar, though less emphatic, to Hunt Room at the Bellevue Stratford.  One side of the restaurant had thick carpeting, tables, and wing back chairs.  The other side had a tile floor with booths. The L shaped bar served some of the best cocktails in town.  Their drinks were never heavy with soda water or fruit juice.  The menu was varied with a good list of beef specialties.   The TV over the bar was geared to sports.  The additional attraction for me-the Adelphia Tavern was  the only place  in Center City that served Ortlieb’s Beer.   After a while, the bartender would automatically open the bottle for me without asking.  The tavern welcomed shoppers from  Wanamaker’s across 13th Street.  It was a frequent place for Communion Breakfasts with St John’s Church next door.

As  indicated, the Adelphia closed in 1974 and become a place for budget apartments.  When a hotel converts to residences, the restaurant usually closes.  Unfortunately, the Adelphia  was no exception.  I understand developers have been at work  and the place now has luxury rentals of one or two bedrooms.

The Adelphia Hotel operated for just over 60 years and had a real impact on Center City.

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