Photos, story by Cassie Hepler
Remember North Shore Beach Club? Or as we liked to call it – Hipster soup? Well, welcome the revamped Monarch Philly, a kicked up version of the pool club with celebrity DJ’s, Dom Pérignon and more bodacious bodies you can even imagine in one place, glistening in the sun.
Northern Liberties new hot spot is a 27,000 square foot venue that provides daytime recreation with its pool and patio bar. And after the sun sets, entertainment and dining carries over to an inside restaurant and lounge area and outdoor garden area with craft food and cocktails.
This newly redesigned space can host parties up to 1,000 people and is broken up into three unique sections. The new garden area holds a bar and soon-to-be famous swing bar seats. The inside restaurant and lounge area is a beautifully designed upscale spot, which is quickly becoming the go-to spot in Northern Liberties for brunch until 5 p.m. available both at the pool and inside. The American menu, new and traditional, boasts some Southern style including Southern Style Corn Chowder, Cornmeal Crusted Goat Cheese Fritters, old fashioned grilled cheese, and their signature dish “The Monarch”: biscuit with fried chicken, cole slaw, and pickles.
The beachy Mediterranean vibe engulfs you as soon as you step inside from the concrete, dusty jungle outside. The pool provides great ambiance for drinks during the day or night with private VIP cabanas available for rental. And don’t worry, the once disgusting swampy bathrooms are getting a makeover soon.
We made it out on opening Memorial Day weekend before the rain rolled in to check it out and of course, gave it a good, long go for our Explore fans!
We rolled in around 1 p.m. after getting everything confirmed and situated for Explore Philly and started documenting right away for a tour around the pool and grounds. This is the pool as you walk inside, straight away views of blue on blue.
Chairs line against the walls and fences as at certain points of the day, it provides shade without an umbrella.
A couple of the VIP cabanas to host you and your friends were available – and all were reserved for MDW.
The VIP cabanas against the back wall were packed by mid afternoon and were also next to the DJ booth, also a cabana marked by white lattice.
Tons of people sweating in the sun line the deck area. The ages ranged from we would guess 21-40 but we saw some mad older hard bodies too, both men and women.
Up the steps we go with an entrance near the bathrooms to get the second floor view.
A gaggle of washboard abs… errr, I mean guys were perched at the end of this landing.
The view from above where the four hot hunks were sunbathing.
Looking over to the left, it wasn’t necessarily hotter up here but certainly more private.
Here’s why those guys chose this spot, it’s like the mafia seat of the pool. You can see everything and everyone. Well played gentlemen, well played.
The view from the other side of the second story deck.
And the view looking down from the same spot gives you a good view of the DJ.
Back underneath the above second story, on the first floor is the beach bar. Owner Tim Lu looks out to make sure everyone is having a good, fun and safe time.
Inside the restaurant and lounge is blasting air conditioning and allows patrons who don’t want to swim the option of having a cool drink or brunch/lunch with no sticky seats.
People enjoying bellinis, mojitos and more at the restaurant and lounge.
The bar with Sunday sports on so the fans don’t miss a beat!
The garden area with swings for seats. You can work your legs and abs while enjoying a cocktail, it’s a win-win!
The view from the steps walking down from the restaurant and lounge.
The view to the right with alternate entrance available, but IDs will be checked. No cheating!
The view to the left from the restaurant steps also is a warmer, sunnier dining and drinking option.
And back to the pool! We went with the delicious and refreshing bellinis (or mimosas, bloody mary) in a pitcher for only $25. As my friend said, why would you order anything else? We’re in love already.
The sweetest waitress/model around, Nina Pollutri, was as bright and bubbly as the bellini! We were impressed by the friendly and kind waitresses, all beautiful and most wearing double braids. North Shore was known for the opposite effect.
Two fried eggs over corn tortilla, refried beans, salsa, avocado, sour cream and pico de gallo better known as Huevos Racheros were devoured so quickly, no one even said a word. Beuno! The new brunch menu also gives nods to France, the South and other areas with most price points at $12.
This guys was filming all day long, we assume for an up and coming video. Will you be in it?
Because we love bubbles and were totally impressed by this list of champagne. You fancy, huh?
Summer really doesn’t start until you have a Hell or High Watermelon with that delicious, fruity kick at the end. Yum!
The Bramble, Bluecoat gin, blackberry shrub and lemon juice make a potent little drink. The nice thing about the cocktails here is you can enjoy one by yourself or turn it into a pitcher and they all pack a punch.
Cheers as the place starts getting packed and we switched spots to not sizzle in the sun. That and taking a dip in the slightly cool pool will help.
Our lovely waitress Nina said it’s pretty hard to mess up a frozen Strawberry Daiquiri and she wasn’t lying. This one went done strong, quick and smooth. It’s hard to remember it’s not a smoothie.
Finally getting hungry, the tuna steak salad beckoned and we obliged. This is exactly how tuna should be done, the perfect amount of protein and the lemon vinaigrette was the right dressing for a hot, sunny Sunday.
We were on a roll now with the mango mojito and just a splash of mango. Also potent but delicious, it was refreshing and we were happy that drinks at this pool are not watered down unlike others.
Delving into a plate of shrimp and grits was necessary to have something to soak up the booze. The sauce and shrimp were tasty but we wished we had some seasoning (salt, pepper maybe?) for the grits. But it’s probably hard to have condiments at a pool!
One of our better (or bad?) ideas was to have some more peach bellinis at the end of the day. We ended up sharing with our super thankful neighbors as our eyes were certainly bigger than our stomachs!
The pool offers these super cute and funny faced Nemo wannabes to float on around the pool.
Internationally-known celebrity DJ and former Big Brother contestant, DJ Paola Shea, was headlining the Memorial Day weekend holiday celebration. The rap started getting harder as sunset rolled around. Clouds started rolling in again for yet more rain so we headed out a lot more relaxed and fell right asleep at night. Thanks Monarch for a chill yet cool day! We’ll be back for more bubbles.