Ack, Philadelphia, don’t get frantic yet, despite the fact that the Phillies blew last night’s first show of the 2023 season to the Rangers with pitcher Aaron Nola on the mound. The Philadelphia Phillies will stay in Texas through April 2 (that’s right, including April Fool’s Day, April 1), then come back to town for its season home opener on April 6 for a three-day stretch with the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park.
Win. Lose. That’s great; and on the team to work out. For Philly audiences not hanging out at Citizens Bank Park are probably more concerned with claiming their own space in which to watch the Phillies make a stand this season than they are the games themselves. And while you can watch this space, next week, for what to eat at the big game on April 6 (are we getting 2-Foot Chili Cheesburgers like the Rangers got?), this weekend, here is a list of where to hang out, drink, eat and drink some more while watching the Phillies on (hopefully) big, hi-def screens.
Craft Hall on Delaware Avenue
First, Craft Hall is the only place for a Ultimate Tailgate Tower available during any Phillies game day – buffalo wings, BBQ Wings, mozzarella sticks, brisket cheesesteak egg rolls and my 1970s favorite snack, potato skins – all in one place (to say nothing of their super-sized GIANT GIANT Nachos). Secondly, Philly’s largest indoor restaurant with a dog park, beer garden, air hockey, and life-size Phanatic statue for selfies has bar wall sized and south wall LED screens, so it will be surround-sound Phils all day long.
Craft Hall, 901 N Delaware Avenue
Up north on Girard Avenue, the imitation grassy knoll is offering a Libertee Wagyi beef hot dog (not 24 inches long, but it is a start), along with $10 Kenwood Pitchers and hot dog/Kenwood Pint combo.
Libertee Grounds, 1600 W. Girard Avenue, Suite C5
Sports & Social in Live! Casino & Hotel
South Philly’s Live! casino by the sports complex is a key location for multiple LED Phillies TV screen viewing – from its circular Center Bar to its locations across the casino floor – to say nothing of its loud-ass cover bands and DJs. And there’s parking. Yay. When the first home game comes up next week, the Sports & Social in Live! Casino & Hotel will present an updated cocktail menu to celebrate the Phils’ home games with boozy concoctions such as The Schwarber (made with Pio Prosecco, peach schnapps and pineapple juice), The Turner (Silver tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, Cointreau and Red Bull Watermelon flavor) and a non-alcoholic offering (c’mon, The Harper?) if you absolutely must.
Live! Casino & Hotel, 900 Packer Avenue
Phillies opening days and nights is exactly what Bankroll – Center City’s newest luxe sports bar, restaurant and entertainment viewing social experience – was invented for. This newly opened restoration of the historic Boyd Theater focuses on everything from real-time odds boards to a mix of intimate, private dining and drinking salons, and grander more open, public rooms – all featuring varying sizes of giant LED screens. “The commitment that Philadelphians have for their teams is incredible, so why not give those passionate fans the best place to watch the big game?,” Bankroll CEO Padma Rao told me at its opening. At 13,000-square-feet, 350+ seats, there’s not a bad seat in the whole Bankroll house.
Bankroll, 1910 Chestnut Street
Joe Conklin & The City Rhythm Orchestra, a Salute to Philadelphia Sports, at Parx Xcite Center
OK, this is after the opening day festivities but, Philly-based comic, voice over actor, old school radio man and vocalist Joe Conklin IS Philly sports. So his Friday, April 14 showcase at Pax Casino’s Xcite Center with the City Rhythm Orchestra should prove to be a thrill – to say nothing of a family reunion when you consider that John Conklin and Jim Conklin will be singing with Tricia Gozzi, Debra Toscano, Joanne Farrell and surprise guests – all directed by Vince Valentine. “IT’S A NIGHT OF LAUGHTER, MUSIC, AND NOSTALGIA IN A HEARTFELT TRIBUTE TO PHILADELPHIA AND THE SHOW BRINGS TOGETHER THE FINEST MUSICIANS, SIGNERS, AND ENTERTAINERS IN THE BUSINESS. THE FACT THAT HALF OF THEM ARE ALL NAMED CONKLIN IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL,” writes Conklin in all caps. It must be true.
Parx Casino Xcite Center, 2999 Street Road, Bensalem, PA
The house that sporting equipment built, Xfinity Live! thrives on an opening weekend. They eat up watch parties like a cow chewing on grass and spit out $3 Budweiser, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra bottles. Along with this weekend’s celebrations featuring live DJs, sports trivia Budweiser sponsored giveaways (and chances at winning tickets to upcoming games) and XL!’s new gi-hugic 58-foot screen, come April 6, the steel sports salon will offer acoustic performances in the PBR Philly room (why not heavy metal cranked up to 11) multiple DJs, trivia game, giveaways and much more STARTING at 11 a.m. WTF?!
Xfinity Live!, 1100 Pattison Avenue
Sometimes you have to take your opening day with a dousing of cocktail panache – a chilled Stateside martini, shaken, not stirred with three olives, up – old world Art Deco surroundings, a piano player surely regaling the crowd with renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and a fine, rare prime rib to go at the black lacquered bar with its large LED screens. It’s almost a pity to have to watch the Phillies in a stately setting as such. Let them eat cake.
Rittenhouse Grill, 1701 Locust Street
Evil Genius Beer Company in Fishtown New Brew Debut
Along with doing what they do best – dropping homemade new brews such as “There’s No Crying In Baseball,” an ABV 6.0% Mango IPA named after the Tom Hanks quote from the movie A League of Their Own – Fishtown’s Evil Genius Beer Company celebrates Phillies opening day-and-beyond with buffalo chicken niceties, Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese and other Philly baseball totems.
Evil Genius Beer Company, 1727 N Front Street
Phillies Opening Watch Party at King of Prussia Town Center
King of Prussia’s Town Center hosted a big watch party last night where you could snap a picture with the NL Champs trophy and hang with the Phantic. Surely, there are streamers left hanging up and the swill bottoms of beer bottles left to consume.
King of Prussia Town Center, 155 Village Drive, Suite 100, King of Prussia, PA