Art in the Age
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Artistic, rustic, community-focused, niche, creative, upscale
Good for: Anything and everything bar-related: books, glassware, decanters, flasks, mixers PLUS gifts, accessories and more
When I first dove into Spruce Lane and started to do my research for places to see, I knew Art in the Age in Old City was a key player, but wasn’t exactly sure what it entailed as it’s so different (in a good way) from most traditional boutiques. “Is it a store, or a bar? What kind of things can you buy there?” were some of the questions I asked myself. With an Instagram following of 20K+ users, this place had to be something special. Once I was able to finally visit Art in the Age myself, everything seemed to click and I understood why it has such a great reputation and high level of respect from the local community.
Art in the Age (AITA for short) is a home bar supply store and tasting room. That’s right, two concepts in one shop which makes it a very cool place to experience. Through their Instagram account, I saw that they were hosting a release party for a new spirit and decided to buy tickets for the event with my boyfriend. It was the debut of their Fortunato’s Fate whiskey in partnership with local distillery, New Liberty, and also was part of The Rosenbach’s super fun Bibliococktails Series. Again, we weren’t really sure what to expect but we figured it’d be a fun way to see AITA for the first time while also grabbing a drink after work. When we walked in, we were very pleasantly surprised. Not only because the store was strikingly beautiful, but also because it was full of people and we were right on time for the event! Having coordinated these types of events in previous jobs of mine, I knew this turnout was impressive. When we beat the crowd to the bar (that is inside of the store), we ordered two specialty Fortunato's Fate cocktails that were both very tasty and went down smoothly. We also really enjoyed hearing from “The Philly Poe Guy” who humorously spoke at length about the historical context of the whiskey’s name, as it was inspired from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, The Cask of Amontillado.
This overarching theme of showing an appreciation for local history while adding a modern twist became very prevalent after attending the event and later touring the rest of the AITA shop. The store's name is actually derived from Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, paying homage to Benjamin's affinity for American craftsmanship and heritage which is clearly reflected within the store and overall brand.
For us shoppers who are dying to know more about what you can buy here, the list of bar-related items is extensive, so I’ll shout out a few things that stood out to me.
Books - If you want to educate yourself on the makings of a specific cocktail or the anatomy of your favorite spirit, then you are in luck. There is a heap of really cool, creative cocktail recipe books here. The colorful Bloody Mary book cover jumped out at me. I'd love to display this in a bright, sunny kitchen or on a coffee table at home.
Glassware - There is a specific area dedicated purely to beautiful decanters, tumblers, shakers, stirrers, you name it. This is definitely the place to go if you want to impress your significant other, or anyone really, with a very nice piece to add to their barware collection. AITA also has a unique collection of vintage items too for the more serious collectors.
Spirits + Mixers - Well, obviously you will find a wide variety here considering that Art in the Age is a cordial brand itself and converted into an 'artists' collective' retail space ten years ago. You can shop from their line of products that have incredibly creative tastes (Sierra Fig and Black Trumpet Blueberry, anyone?), as well as spirits from the aforementioned New Liberty Distillery along with syrups, bitters, mixers, and more. Oh yes, and they also have booze-flavored lollipops if that's up your alley. The margarita flavor was pretty intriguing.
Home, Gifts, Apparel - To top it all off, you can shop from a variety of unique gifts and AITA branded apparel here too. Shop herbal teas from local vendor, Terra Luna, as well as small batch soaps, cute stationery, and pantry items. The AITA logo is very cool, so I'm definitely contemplating buying myself a t-shirt to rock around the streets of Philadelphia.
After the event, my boyfriend and I came back to AITA on a Saturday morning to do this shoot and learn a little more about the store and brand. Upon taking another tour, we left feeling humbled by the level of expertise each staff member had about the retail space, spirits industry, and brand heritage. What a great and unique post to have in the Philadelphia community, we thought. I plan to come back to experience the tasting room during happy hour and hopefully attend another workshop or event. To keep an eye on all things AITA and see what's next on their ever-evolving schedule, follow them on Instagram at @artintheage.
Till next time!