Truth in Advertising

Bar signs are strange. Some promise too much, like My Blue Heaven, others not enough, like the Last Chance. Here It Is is refreshingly forthright, while The Corral is all too prophetic–two men were murdered outside that establishment a couple weeks ago. Maybe they should have gone to Mr. Jesse’s Nice and Polite Lounge instead.

Peter Woodall is the co-editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and a former newspaper reporter with the Biloxi Sun Herald and the Sacramento Bee. He worked as a producer for Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane and wrote a column about neighborhood bars for


  1. Good thing you photographed “here it is” when you did because
    The building was sold and the sign is no more.

  2. It’s a good policy to be Nice and Polite in Mr. Jesse’s Lounge. If you do ever wind up in any of these buckets of blood, you know that it’s time to stop drinking.

  3. Didn’t know about “Here It Is” (Here It Aint?)–always one of my favorites. Prince’s Fairmount, Mr. Jesse’s and the Fireside Tavern are gone, too

  4. Can you make this into a poster so that I can buy it from you immediately?

  5. Love this! Fantastic photo essay.

  6. Ariel Diliberto

    Funny story about Perry’s Place is that they don’t actually serve soup. Someone made the sign for the owner because they wanted him to serve soup– he put up the sign, but didn’t add soup to the menu.

  7. My all time favorite was from a bar called the Twist that was on North Broad just above Diamond St. and Temple Campus. Had a great old neon sign (that I never saw lit up so who knows when it last was) of a woman in classic 50’s style skirt. The place was knocked down around 91 or 92 and I have no idea where the sign ended up. Found a pic of it online years ago and lost the copy I made.

    Yet another disappearing link to the city’s past. Glad you captured these while you could!

  8. Does anyone know where Mr. Jesse’s is or who owns it? I would love to get my hands on that sign. Well done, I agree on the poster!

  9. What about “Sit on it?”–great sign, great name–on 1901 S. 19th st. It’s my fav!

  10. Don’t forget the Sit on it Lounge in Point Breeze and Phillips at Broad near Ellsworth. They are both some badass signs.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.


Recent Posts
Viva Minerva! Celebrating America's First Independent Female Architect

Viva Minerva! Celebrating America’s First Independent Female Architect

October 25, 2016  |  Vantage

Philadelphia architect Minerva Parker Nichols was the first independent female practitioner in the trade and the first female member of the AIA, earning acclaim in the region and across the country. To celebrate the recent addition of Mill-Rae, a Nichols-designed Victorian home with deep women's suffrage ties, to the National Register of Historic Places we present this first installment in a three-part series to honor her life and work > more

Committee Recommends Jewelers Row Buildings For Designation

Committee Recommends Jewelers Row Buildings For Designation

October 21, 2016  |  News

Temporary relief today in the fight to save two historic properties on Jewelers Row from demolition and residential development. Michael Bixler reports > more

Chinatown Tower Receives $1.3 Million State Development Grant

Chinatown Tower Receives $1.3 Million State Development Grant

October 21, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Chinatown tower gets boost from Harrisburg, Rodin Square espouses cargo aesthetic, new construction on the Sharswood/Brewerytown border, and Horticultural Society planting bulbs for spring > more

PAFA Exhibits The Innovative & Inappropriate Photography Of Thomas Eakins

PAFA Exhibits The Innovative & Inappropriate Photography Of Thomas Eakins

October 20, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Eakins through the lens, Lincoln Square renderings, Philly jazz greats honored, and colonial surveying tools come in Fairmount Park > more

Running Away With The Circus At 10th And Callowhill

Running Away With The Circus At 10th And Callowhill

October 20, 2016  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us under the big top on Callowhill Street where acrobats, elephants, and clowns once charmed city crowds > more

Dilworth Park Preps For Winter

Dilworth Park Preps For Winter

October 19, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Dilworth Park transforming into Wintergarden, Planning Commission rejects appealing RCO applications, design competition looks at future of Philly rowhouses, and calls for council hearings on SEPTA’s CCT service > more