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The Weekly Bacchanal That Is Center City Sips Is Canceled This Summer

The Center City happy hour, known to draw crowds, is off because of coronavirus

red table with four cocktails
Porta on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia has participated in Center City Sips in past years.

Center City Sips is canceled this year because of coronavirus. The weekly happy hour usually draws young, sometimes raucous crowds to Center City bars and restaurants for discounted drinks and snacks every Wednesday evening during the summer. Last year, almost 90 bars and restaurants participated.

Center City District, the not-for-profit business improvement group behind Sips, announced Wednesday on social media that “[f]or public health and safety, SIPS is taking a summer vacation this year.” Bars in Philadelphia are still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, while food establishments can only offer takeout and delivery.

Sips started out innocently enough 17 years ago. But it’s since grown into a weekly event that many try to avoid, with drunk crowds spilling out onto Center City sidewalks, and the occasional fight.

That said, some bar owners are big fans, with good reason. Last year, Teddy Sourias, the owner of Tradesman’s, Bru, and U-Bahn, told the Inquirer, “Center City Sips keeps our bars full and our staffing up midweek during the traditionally slower summer months.”