Why I Love Philly: The Boot and Saddle Bar

This sign is not as mysteriously obscure as some of the treasures I’ve come across. It’s on the city’s main drag – Broad Street – and within spitting distance of City Hall, but that doesn’t make this weathered monstrosity any less wonderful. Country and Western music in South Philly? Who would have thunk it? I’m not sure if the bar is open not being brave enough to poke my head in. It must have been something when the neon was still working.

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15 Responses to Why I Love Philly: The Boot and Saddle Bar

  1. Karen says:

    That place was open well past the 80s, I believe. Back in the day, it catered to sailors from the Naval Base, with a healthy smattering of neighborhood people. I went there once in the 80s. While waiting in the long ladies’ room line, I watched as an older woman squatted down and peed right into the wastebasket. She said, “I can’t help it, hon. I got the diabetes.”

  2. Joe Williams says:

    Hysterical story!

    Thanks so much for commenting, Karen! Keep an eye on this spot because I will be posting more treasures from Philadelphia!

  3. Wyatt Earp says:

    “What kind of music do you usually play here?”

    “We have both kinds: country and western!”

  4. Joe Williams says:

    Is there any other kind of music?

  5. karen says:

    Why did you start this Blog, any personal ties?

    Thank you,
    Many friends met there and also married!

  6. Joe Williams says:

    No. No personal ties. I just love the sign.

    This blog is sort of a junk drawer filled with the stuff we love.

    Thanks for commenting!

  7. paul says:

    That sign was beautiful at night , esp with the colored neon, it actually had a neon spur . Be great if anyone has a night picture of it. Looked like a signed that belonged in Las Vegas.

  8. Joe Williams says:

    Thanks for commenting!

    Sadly, I’ve never seen it lit up. I always remember it as sort of weathered. Hopefully somebody out there has a photo of it in it’s original glory!

  9. Linda Juilianna Ruilova says:

    OMG! The Boot n’ Saddle. I can tell you a lot about the Boot. It was the greatest place ever. Owned by Pete DelBorrello. I rented one of his apts over his laundromat. He had just bought that place and had a little bar in it. As I got to know him he asked me to work for him and I said okay what the heck. Then I met Jeannie his daughter and we ran it together. I saw it go from a dive to a great place. His brother Al put in a 40 ft circular bar and they served shots and beer from kegs that were hooked up from the basement. There used to be a Marine Armory across the street so we had a lot of Marines in there and a few neighbordhood morning lushes. I remember the day the sign was delivered and put up. It was the most beautiful sign I ever saw. Then we decided to have Country Music because that was Pete’s favorite music. We started to get bands on the weekend. Gradually the sign brought in customer after customer. It really grew and people loved it. Jeannie and I had a great following. Then Pete decided to have go-go dancers at lunchtime and that brought in more people. He had two stands on top of the bar at each end and the dancers would dance there. The backroom was a sawdust floor with tables and used to be packed on weekends with country music and dancing. God I loved that bar. It was responsible for me finding my husband in a round about way and I moved to Oklahoma City. I can tell you story after story about the Boot. It is very dear to my heart. I loved Pete and Elsa Delborrello they were like parents to me as I was supporting myself and alone in the world.That 40 ft circular bar was amazing and a long walk back and forth there were bar stools all the way around and sawdust on the floor. Eventually Pete let me put in food and a steamtable and then he let me put mixed drinks for the ladies and it was absolutely great. He loved that bar. He also owned laundromats–check cashing place-bakeries and god knows what else. The Delborrello’s of South Philly were very well respected by everyone. He had wonderful kids. New years day was a blast…It used to be so packed and people in and out for the Mummers Parade you couldn’t pour a drink fast enough. I still kind of stay in touch with the family. Jeannie is my daughters godmother. Sorry to go on and on but I just can’t say enough about that wonderful family and the man who brought Country Music to South Philly. Anything you want to know just ask me. Pete was the kindest and most respectable I have ever met in my life. If I had the energy and the money I would buy it and start it up again because I know it would work. Country music is big today and everyone loves it. It would do South Philly good.
    Long Live The Boot. Linda Okie

  10. Joe says:

    I can’t thank you enough for commenting, Linda! Thanks for filling us all in on South Philly history! Feel free to comment with any more memories!

    Got any photos of the place in from when you were there?

  11. John Waldinger says:

    Joe: For some reason this post reminded me of, the pine street beverage room. If you remember crazy Sally who would go through a trap door in the floor every time the cops would stop by. Ahhhh . . . . good times.

  12. Joe says:

    John,

    I think I may have been to Pine Street once with the PCA crew. Something happened, and I remembered it sitting there shuttered for years. It has long since turned into something else.

    Speaking of which, Doc Watson’s Pub is no more. It is a new place and new facade with a big polar bear on it.

  13. daniel says:

    my mother worked here in 1970- 1971 her name was ardith or she might have gone by carol. she met my father here a navy man his name is dan rice.i live in sacramento ca i want to fly back for the opening.does anybody know when that will be?

  14. admin says:

    Here’s an article about the bar’s coming resurrection:
    http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/tag/boot-saddle/
    I pass it often, but It doesn’t look like any work has started yet. Maybe the interior is being worked on.
    Thanks for commenting!

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