Philadelphia, PA

A bar for everyone, Sonny's Cocktail Joint opens on South Street

Marilyn Johnson

Chris Fetfatzes and Heather Annechiarico are ready to open Sonny's Cocktail Joint at 1508 South Street on Friday, August 6th at 5:00pm.

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Sonny's Cocktail Joint at 1508 South Street in Philadelphia, PAEddy Marenco

The new feel-good laid back neighborhood bar and covered backyard replaces The Cambridge which closed temporarily during the first shut-down of the pandemic. As the team began to prepare for reopening, they realized they wanted to move in a different direction. The response to their Wine Dive wine bar next door, was so positive, and the pandemic was taxing on everyone's spirits, the owners decided to change course and create something new and unexpected.

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Backyard/patio at Sonny's Cocktail Joint on South StreetEddy Marenco

"The pandemic afforded us time and space to step back and evaluate what we wanted moving forward," said Fetfatzes. "In a weird way, being closed gave us the gift of time, which is something you never get in the hospitality industry. We had over a year to properly conceptualize a bar that had an eclectic personality and comfort with great cocktails and a creative food program. And one that was super fun. Over the last year we’ve been able to take our time and build on the energy of Wine Dive to create this new space with a fantastic team that we’re all really proud of. Were there challenges? You better believe it. But the project brought us together and we are so proud of what we have all done together."

Sonny's will feature expertly made cocktails, New Age American eats, Instagram-ready throwback vibes, a house band, and even a classic jukebox.

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Well-executed cocktails at Sonny's Cocktail Joint on South StreetEddy Marenco

From the kitchen, Chef D. DeMarco will fire up inventive plays on the classics with food that would be considered high end if it weren't so down to earth. Chef D. (formerly Doreen) brings a wealth of experience from their work with LPNG Restaurant Group (American Sardine, Second District Brewing Company and South Philly Taproom), where they started as a Sous and quickly worked up to Culinary Director.

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Menu at Sonny's Cocktail Joint by Executive Chef D. DemarcoEddy Marenco

For the design of the opening menu, Chef took the cocktails and beverage program as inspiration to build a complimentary food program. The end result features a unique collection of dishes that elevate bar fare to the next level, with Crab Roll, Steak Tartare Grilled Cheese, Fresh Oysters, Chicharrón with Caviar and French Onion Dip, Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms and more.

Chef said, "We want the menu at Sonnys to continue to push boundaries of creativity. We want to bring highbrow food down to earth. Our constant theme will be approachable, fun and fresh."
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Approachable, fun, and fresh menu by Executive Chef D. Demarco at Sonny's Cocktail JointEddy Marenco

For the drink program, look for an extensive list of well-executed cocktails for cocktail lovers from every walk of life, along with a tightly curated list of wines, and 14 beers pouring on draft. Guided by Fetfatzes' vision of a bar for everyone, the cocktail program is an enthusiastic collision of worlds from Japanese highballs to Mezcal, tiki to molecular mixology, and everything in between.

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Cocktails at Sonny's Cocktail Joint on South StreetEddy Marenco

The bar will feature a European custom draft system broken into 10 draft carbonated cocktails and 14 beer drafts. For beer selections, customers will find a mix of the best examples of beers styles from classic imports to new age American craft boundary pushing breweries to classic everyday selections. For wine, it will feature a small but focused natural wine list curated by Jeffrey Hyman of Wine Dive, with 8 wines by the glass or by the bottle. Additionally, Sonnys will carry hard seltzers, ciders and a deep offering of small batch spirits.

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Cocktails and food at Sonny's Cocktail Joint on South StreetEddy Marenco

For vision and direction, Fetfatzes and Annechiarico wanted to continue on the journey they started with Wine Dive - but take it up a notch. They wanted to take the classic elements of a classic dive bar and raise the bar with an entirely fresh and new experience. They decided early on this would not be another Wine Dive but with cocktails, or a classic sticky dive bar from decades ago.

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Sonny's Cocktail Joint at 1508 South Street in Philadelphia, PAEddy Marenco

For vibes, look for welcoming, warm and comforting throwback elements like checkered floors, vinyl, textured glass, vintage beer art, thrift purchases, a jukebox, and an old school fridge.

For the name and inspiration for the personality of Sonny's, the owners kept it close to home. Sonnys is a nod to Fetfatzes' mom, Olimpia Fetfatzes.

"My mom growing up was nicknamed Sonny and she was as real as they come. She had the charm to light up a room and at the same time burn it down. She worked her tail off, was a lady who always had her nails done but at the same time not afraid to get her hands dirty. While growing up she was called fila which translates loosely to Sonny in English. She got into ice pick fights defending her hotdog cart location when she first migrated to Philly from Portugal, she was also a mom who no matter when always had a hot meal for us while working 12-16 hour days. She wanted nothing but her kids to strive for the highest heights, take no bull but have respect for everyone all at the same time. She is Sonny."

Sonny's is casual, no pressure, and no reservations. Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday, from 5:00pm to 2:00am, with kitchen hours 5:00pm to 12:00am.

Marilyn Johnson is a freelance food and travel writer covering the food and drink scene of Philadelphia, South Jersey, and beyond. Food news and travel tips: phillygrubtrips@gmail.com.

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Marilyn Johnson is a Philadelphia area based food and travel writer focusing on the food scenes in the Greater Philadelphia region. Email phillygrub@gmail.com for Philly area news; phillygrubtrips@gmail.com for travel tips and opportunities.

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