Sonnys Cocktail joints opens as a laid-back bar with upscale menu

Eddy Marenco

Down on South Street, Philadelphians can check out a new joint calling an old popular venue home. The owners of Hawthornes, Wine Dive, Pivot Coffee, Tio Flores and Quick Sip have recently introduced South Street’s new bar, restaurant, streetery and backyard/patio—Sonnys Cocktail Joint—and it’s going to be offering a lot more than just tasty drinks.

The new venue calls the previous space of The Cambridge home and is set up right next to Wine Dive and just one block down from the restaurant family’s Tio Flores. This revamp was born out of the pandemic, when the team decided they wanted to go in a new direction after shutdowns. Sonnys will feature expertly made cocktails, New Age American eats, “Instagram-ready throwback vibes,” a house band, and even a classic jukebox.

“Sonnys Cocktail Joint is a bar for everyone where your glass is always full,” said owner Chris Fetfatzes in a statement. “As professionals in the industry, we craved a watering hole that had quality cocktails without judgment, so we created one… With a strong focus on craft spirits and cocktails, Sonnys offers a little something for all — from Hawthorne Cafe’s deep craft beer roots and branching out to a small but thoughtful all natural wine program curated by Wine Dive’s Jeffrey Hyman. Real people serving real drinks, Sonnys Cocktail Joint is everyone’s bar.”

The new space’s name comes from a personal note for the owners as well.

“My mom (Olimpia Fetfatzes) 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,” continues Fetfatzes. “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.”

From the kitchen, Philadelphians will find some high-brow dishes with laid-back prices from Chef D. DeMarco. For the drink program, imbibers can also 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. Sonnys is casual—no pressure, and no reservations.

Those who have spent time sipping down the drinks and indulging in the food at Wine Dive will also notice the same kind of atmospheric vibes at the newly opened venue. As the release states, they wanted to take the classic elements of a 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. This would be a new breed of neighborhood bar that is the best of all worlds, created for people just like them. It would be for all the Sonnys out there.

“We wanted to take the best of what people know as a neighborhood bar (the casual atmosphere, the low pressure atmosphere, the come-as-you-are attitude) and pair with with expertly made cocktails, a banging menu, a bad a#$ chef and amazing vibes,” said Fetfatzes.

Sonnys cocktail program will take your tastebuds on a trip around the world right from the comfort of your own seat as well with options ranging from Japanese highballs to Mezcal, tiki to molecular mixology, and everything in between. In total, customers can sip on 10 draft carbonated cocktails and 14 beer drafts including styles from classic imports to new age American craft boundary-pushing breweries to classic everyday selections. On top of the brews, seltzers ciders and wine (with 8 selections available by the glass or by the bottle) are on the menu.

Executive Chef D. DeMarco will be preparing food to compliment the extensive drink menu as well. DeMarco hails from Willingboro, New Jersey in Burlington County, where they spent their childhood in kitchens next to their father, who was a chef. DeMarco moved to Philly at 19, and worked under great chefs. They loved traveling and checking out new restaurants and quickly found they had an unquenchable thirst for new flavors and inventive cuisine.

DeMarco said in a statement, “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.”

Philadelphians can munch on a crab roll, steak tartare grilled cheese, fresh oysters, chicharrón with caviar and french onion dip, crispy shiitake mushrooms and more with plenty of vegetarian options, and some vegan and gluten free choices as well.

Fetfatzes added, “With Sonnys, we wanted to create a new home away from home for cocktail lovers that came without judgement and without pretense. There’s no better spot to do that than on South Street.”

For information on Sonnys Cocktail Joint (1506 South St.) visit sonnyscocktailjoint.com

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