Center City Sips, the weekly promotion that attracts hundreds of bar-goers on summer nights in Wednesdays with specials like $3 beer and half-priced appetizers, is no longer being held at the Comcast Center plaza.
As reported by Billy Penn’s Danya Henninger, the Chops steakhouse that had hosted Sips at its outdoor bar on the ground floor of the tower stopped participating after a July 26 brawl erupted there between patrons.
The directive came from Liberty Property Trust, the building’s owner. John Gattuso, a senior vice president with Liberty, said the decision was motivated not just by the fight, but by concerns over the growing Sips crowd – more than 1,000 people on some weeks – and an atmosphere that started to feel more like a frat party than a happy hour.
“The program has been very successful, but with every success you reach a point where you have to fine-tune aspects of it,” he said.
Chops owner Alex Plotkin said Tuesday that he hoped Chops would participate in next summer’s Sips. Sips ends for the year on Aug. 30.
“We had a successful season, and we look forward to doing it again,” Plotkin said. “At the end of the year, we’ll look at our options and think about what we can do differently.”
Gattuso said the Sips crowd has generally been well-behaved, but that the sheer numbers of young attendees risk making the scene less welcoming for older patrons. Next season, he said he hoped a renewed focus on food as well as drinks might help change the tone.
“We are definitely not trying to be party poopers, and we are not trying to turn back progress with regard to the vibrancy of Center City on weekdays,” he said. “I’m sure there are places in Center City where you can get $3 beer out of a keg, and that has its place. But we don’t want to lose the 45-year-old professional who’s meeting his spouse after work for a glass of wine.”