Center City Sips has been in full swing for a minute now, and chances are you’ve managed to do some damage to your liver when Wednesday rolls around. To maximize the weeks we have left to go hard on discounted drinks ($3 for beer; $4 for wine; and $5 for cocktails) and half-priced food, we rounded up the best deals during Center City Sips (even if that means going to work with a hangover on Thursday). While you'll get the most bang for your buck at these places below, don’t forget to check out the complete list of participating Sips bars and restaurants here.
Turns out, one of your go-to karaoke destinations is also a generous observer of Sips, with enough half-priced sushi and seafood appetizers to fill you up (and then some) for dinner, but you’ll need to eat anyway because you have over a dozen wine, beer, and cocktail options, including the signature 11th Street Ginger Mule, to choose from each week.
Tequilas is all about the ambiance, whether you score a table outside on Locust St on a perfect summer day or find a spot inside, surrounded by intricate architecture and plenty of Dia de los Muertos decor. One very special bonus: if you stay for dinner after Sips, you’ll get a discounted meal (15% off). So save room for guac!
The creative cocktails and delicately crafted small plates at Fine Palate make it the spot for Center City Sips when you’re looking for a fun yet low-key alternative to Wednesday party spots like Marathon on Market. Try all the skewers or some eggplant caviar ($5) and grab a seat by the large open windows where you can drink the discounted Frisky Ginger cocktail in peace.
Washington Square West
Like Tequilas, stopping by here for Center City Sips means you get a 15% discount on dinner that same evening, which is a perfect way to try Garces’ tasting menu (heavy on influences from Western Europe) for a fraction of the usual cost. During happy hour, get a preview with half-priced appetizers like the house-made mozzarella with a glass of house wine. How could you not stay for dinner after that?
The main draw of the aptly named SkyGarten is its insane view -- the indoor-outdoor space sits on the 51st floor of Three Logan Square at Top of the Tower, quite possibly making it the tallest beer garden ever. The $5 Irish Goodbye cocktail is a good way to start out strong for the evening, and when you start to fade, just grab a half-priced bratwurst sandwich.
Whether you’re a dedicated vegan or just looking for some stiff drinks, you’ll be pleased to come across the discounted menu at Charlie was a sinner. this summer. If you're tofu-averse, the Korean-style fried tofu here will make you a believer. The $5 cocktails include the ever-changing Charlie’s Punch and the Mad King, made with Irish whiskey, pinot noir, elderberry, hibiscus, lime, and fresno chili.
Another vegan spot appealing to carnivores as well, Bar Bombon’s menu is full of plant-based Puerto Rican cuisine you can get for much less during Sips, like $3 tacos, $5 empanadas, not to mention $4 red sangria. The bartenders pick the discounted $3 beer for Sips every week.
Discounted comfort food bites are the big draw at Smokin’ Betty’s, where the novelty of weekly grilled pizza specials will only set you back six bucks; cheesesteak egg rolls and grilled wings are even cheaper. Smokin’ Betty’s has four specialty cocktails for Sips, including the Mrs. Daly, with two types of vodka, iced tea, and lemonade -- in case you want to get your adult Arnold Palmer on.
For tons of sushi for a fraction of the usual cost, Fuji is a destination like no other. More than a dozen types of rolls go for just $4 each, along with a few small plates at half price (fried calamari, edamame, etc.). The Sips beer menu isn’t very thrilling, but you can always opt for a summer cocktail like the watermelon saju martini.
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1. Yakitori Boy211 N 11th St, Philadelphia
2. Tequilas Restaurant1602 Locust St, Philadelphia
3. Fine Palate231 South 15th Street, Philadelphia
4. Garces Trading Company1111 Locust St, Philadelphia
5. SkyGarten at Top of the Tower1717 Arch St, Philadelphia
6. Charlie was a sinner.131 S 13th St, Philadelphia
7. Bar Bombón133 S 18th St, Philadelphia
8. Smokin' Betty's116 S 11th St, Philadelphia
9. Fuji Mountain2030 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
Yakitori boy defines itself as the Japanese version of a pub. If that's the case, the Eastern take on a pub is a sleek and contemporary karaoke bar where the portions are small, the sake is flowing, and the crowd isn't shy, particularly on stage. If you aren't coming to belt out your go-to song, you're probably here for the food, which is served as its prepared and includes chicken wings, crispy fried salmon neck, and a sushi selection with all the basics. Make sure you bring a pack with you, because the belief here is that sharing is caring.
If you didn't get this impression from its name, the name of the game at this Rittenhouse Square spot is tequila -- tequila shots, tequila cocktails, tequila salsa -- it's all tequila. Well, that and Day of the Dead decor (this place is decked from floor to ceiling) and traditional Mexican fare like mole poblano and chiles rellenos. The servers here will likely attempt to dazzle you with creative bartending techniques lie head-balancing acts, so you'll get a show with dinner, too (just lookout for the occasional broken margarita glass).
There’s something extremely satisfying about the choose-your-own-adventure dinner at Fine Palate, where course after course will surprise you (for $10 per course). Maybe the best part of it all: You can decide on your own when it’s time to switch to dessert. Give the kitchen some insight into what you absolutely won’t eat and anything you're just dying to try, then leave it up to them to see what on and off-menu dishes you get. Some seasonal favorites include the charred octopus, the watermelon gazpacho, and the barbecue-style suckling pig.
GTC's Iron Chef Jose Garces' first foray into culinary curation: an indoor cafe and marketplace modeled after outdoor European affairs stocked with goods and ingredients featured on his menus, from hand-selected coffee roasts and pastries to imported cheeses and prepared foods, with full-service high-top butcher's block tables plus the option to uncork 200+ bottles of vino (purchased from the PLCB's first wine boutique).
Top of the Tower is a private event space on the 51st floor of 3 Logan Square. Every Sunday, it opens to the public with its Sky Brunch series, a prix-fixe meal that takes Sunday brunch to new heights (literally). There are seven buffet stations at which you'll find omelettes, carved-to-order meats, breakfast pastries, bacon, and even sushi. Reservations are required and tickets are usually around $50 per person, but hey, the first cocktail is on the house.
Charlie certainly was a sinner, and a glutenous one at that. Despite a mostly vegan menu, Charlie's knocks it out of the park with decadent small plates and seemingly whimsical cocktails that hit you fast. Dark wood-paneled walls and plush velvet booths create a warm, intimate interior that's perfect for a date night. Take a seat at one of the candlelit tables and indulge in the always mysterious Charlie's Punch.
Latin American dishes gets a vegan twist at Bar Bombon, which is helmed by the same team behind health food havens HipCityVeg and Charlie Was a Sinner. The plant-based dishes are so deliciously disguised here that even a meat eater can happily indulge. Tacos are filled with seitan or buffalo cauliflower, while empanadas are stuffed with a medley of mushrooms, leeks, currants, and pickled plantains. If you're on the go, stop by the take-out window for the same good food and Stumptown Coffee.
The burger options at Smokin’ Betty’s don't disappoint. Try their signature Betty burge, which has burger, pork belly, avocado, chester, garlic aioli, and all those other quintessential burger ingredients.
You don't come to Fuji Mountain to eat sushi rolls at a bar or a table. No, at this Rittenhouse spot, you sit on one of the puffy red or brown leather couches lining the walls and eat from a low table sitting in the middle of the room. It's kind of the perfect setup: The tables are just the right size for the massive sushi and sashimi feats that'll easily leave your entire entourage stuffed and lying back to run their stomachs, utterly satisfied. Besides, they're going to need the rest if they want to brave the karaoke room upstairs.