The Continental Midtown is known around town as a Philly staple to some, and recently they’ve made some spirited changes.
The Center City hotspot has an upscale retro diner-esque downstairs complete with quirky booths, a bar, and a menu full of shareable favorites. Upstairs, on the other hand, boasts a rooftop lounge as a backdrop to sipping on some of the venue’s most popular cocktails. And it’s the latter that has recently gotten a revamp and added a new flair to the bar/restaurant.
Recently, Starr Restaurants’ Continental Midtown announced a brand new cocktail menu in partnership with Unfiltered Hospitality—a collective of obsessive bar operators, award-winning mixologists and the brains behind nationally renowned cocktail menus at Miami hotspots The Broken Shaker, The Sylvester, The Standard and more, a release states.
“When opening its doors nearly two decades ago, The Continental set the standard for how to create and consume martinis,” said Gui Jaroschy, Partner at Unfiltered Hospitality in a statement. “Using a combination of modern techniques, tableside flair, dynamic presentations and bold new flavors, the new cocktail program will reclaim The Continental’s status as a trend-setting drink destination that’s sure to leave an impression after just one sip.”
Philadelphians can sip on 9 fresh martinis and six creative cocktails, all as an ode to the ideology The Continental was built on. It’s meant to take the flavoring up a notch with every choice, but also, bring the drinks back to the basics in terms of what they offer. So, you won’t find a drink on fire or one that changes colors, but you will find inventive twists on your typical libation.
That’s the case with the Cosmo Spacely, a spin on a traditional Cosmopolitan made with vodka, triple sec, acidified white cranberry juice and citrus bitters. The cocktail is shaken tableside and served completely clear—so it tastes just like a Cosmo, but looks like a completely different pick.
Another stand-out from the new menu is the Smellin’ Melons, a unique Asian-inspired highball that takes inspiration from the popular Melon Ball. The drink is made with a shrub consisting of fresh melon, shishito peppers and rice wine vinegar, vodka, melon liquor, orange juice and club soda. The taste is tart, vegetal and this “photo-ready” drink is poured into a fluted carousel highball glass.
Another re-imagined take from The Continental Midtown is the French Kiss, aka a new look at the French Martini. In this drink, the vodka is substituted for gin and then shaken together with framboise, fresh pineapple, lemon citrate and pandan elixir. And then of course, there’s the fan-favorite pick from the venue’s previous menu, The Astronaut.
“We were challenged with the most daunting task in recreating this iconic Continental classic,” continued Jaroschy. “The flavors of the original Astronaut play so well that we wanted to keep them all in place but update the ingredients and presentation to reflect modern cocktail trends.”
The drink’s signature Tang has been replaced with a “Stratospheric Sherbert,” a reduction of fresh orange juice and orange zest with pearlescent edible glitter. The Stratospheric Sherbert is combined with peach vodka and fresh lemon, and poured into a gold Electric Dust rimmed martini glass, the release notes.
“We’re always looking for innovative ways to enhance our guest experience and set the stage when it comes to what’s trending in food and beverage,” said Stephen Starr in a statement. “We’ve partnered with the best in the business to bring Continental’s guests an unparalleled new cocktail menu full of creative twists and turns.”
Philadelphians can check out the new full cocktail menu online and pair the drinks with an assortment of food choices spanning pastrami fried rice, French onion soup dumplings, corn fries, matzo ramen soup, miso braised short rib and more.
For more information on The Continental Midtown (1801 Chestnut St.,), visit continentalmidtown.com