Old School Spotlight: Rosewood Bar
A 46-year (and counting!) labor of love for three generations of a South Philly family.
The last 46 years have proven quite successful for the Kubicky clan, the overseers of Rosewood Bar, 1417 Shunk St. This success is evidenced by the four movies that were filmed there, the 130 pictures of patrons that adorn the bar’s walls, and the countless memories that customers have created inside the establishment.
“There is so much character in this place,” proprietor Robert Kubicky, who runs operations with wife Donna, said, noting that the site’s reliance on “original everything” and “no modern renovations” provides their guests—regulars and newcomers alike—with a pleasant spot to relax, reflect, and regard themselves as extended members of a loving family.
Kubicky moved to South Philly shortly after his 1972 nuptials. He grew fond of bartending, a side gig that he used to supplement his earnings as a music teacher. When the opportunity arose to run his own space, he eagerly secured the haunt and has worked hard since to make its four walls a neighborhood staple.
“We are very lucky,” he said as he described how the bar has become a trusted source of great drinks and unforgettable experiences. “We follow one simple rule that’s posted on our wall—Be Nice or Leave.” That four-word directive serves as a guiding force for Kubicky, whose place of business originally went by the name Kisler’s Restaurant.
“The space became a bar as soon as Prohibition ended,” he said of the December 1933 decision to scrap the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which had, for a little more than 13 years, banned the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. “It was called the Friendly Tavern back then. I have an old newspaper clipping with that name. In some of my ads, we mention that we’re a corner bar with friendly service—because that’s the truth.”
The sign that bears the Rosewood name, inspired by Rosewood Street, has been in place since the 1990s and has appeared in two of the movies filmed at the location. The most famous of these cinematic offerings is 2006’s “Invincible,” the story of Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale. That film, along with the works “Emmett’s Mark,” “Equity,” and “Maybe Next Year,” called on Rosewood for its authentic look.
Rosewood provides its customers a number of activities to complement the quality drinks and friendly staff. On Tuesdays, Rosewood hosts a game show night, featuring Quizzo and other games. A DJ spins hits every Saturday from 9pm to close. And on Sunday, the bar hosts the fun-filled “Music Party with Donna & Anthony” from 7pm to 11pm. A full turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and annual Christmas celebrations add to the family-feel the Kubickys foster.
“Since Day One, it’s been family-owned-and-operated,” the patriarch said of his labor of love, “Three generations worked there all at once with all of their heart and soul.”
1417 Shunk Street