As great as it can be to go “somewhere everybody knows your name,” it can also be great to go somewhere no one does. That’s where I spent tonight in Center City Philadelphia for drinks with friends. 

I’m just old enough to remember the atmosphere a sweet-smoke filled room once carried, and the close-in, home-like feeling the right sort of place can convey. XIX has a bit of that character to it, partly because it’s never tremendously full, and partly because it’s just well enough appointed without being overtly fancy that it’s a great place to retreat above the city.

It’s worth visiting, in other words.