SIPS is a two-hour Happy Hour every Wednesday night in the summer that challenges you to drink as many $6 vodka sodas as possible. And, because you’re getting $2 off every drink, it would be fiscally irresponsible not to take advantage. But when 7pm hits and the deals end, you might be hungry, and you’re not going to want to travel too far.
Here are eight places within a few blocks of the most popular SIPS bars where you can show up (slightly inebriated) and get a good meal.
Bar Ly is a great SIPS spot for two reasons - the crowds don’t get as crazy since it’s not Center City and it’s within a couple blocks of the incredible Burmese food at Rangoon. Don’t worry about making a reservation - you can almost always walk in with a big group of people and get a table. Order a few more beers, a bunch of orders of thousand layer bread, and at least one plate of coconut-curry-covered jungle chicken.
After finishing a fishbowl at Graffiti Bar, head right down the street to Zavino, where you can get some solid, affordable pizza to split. There’s never much of a wait, and even though it won’t be the most spectacular meal of your life, they serve a solid plate of pasta and personal pan pizza. And, if you want to continue drinking, they have a great wine list that’s heavy on reds.
If you’re spending your SIPS at Uptown Beer Garden, you definitely don’t mind a crowd. Harper’s Garden is also going to be crowded, especially on a nice night in the summer, but if you don’t mind waiting a few minutes for a table on their plant-covered deck, it’s one of the better places to have an outdoor meal around Center City. The wine list is long and affordable, and there are lots of small plates like kung pao squid and Moroccan lamb meatballs to share. Also, if you’re still hanging out at 10pm, they switch over to their late-night Happy Hour menu which is basically the same as having SIPS discounts all over again.
On summer Wednesdays at Dilworth Park, it’s perfectly acceptable to get intoxicated on the front lawn of the city’s capitol building. But once the novelty of that has worn off, you’re going to need a place to eat. And, like the capitol building, that place should be a Philly institution. Head to Mission Taqueria for some $6 house margaritas and $2 tacos. The space is bright, colorful, full of plants, and most of the tables have long benches to accommodate large groups.
You could easily stay at Porta after SIPS ends and have a full meal of pizza and wine. But if you want somewhere a little more low-key for dinner, walk down the street to Hiro Ramen. It’s a small place with just a couple of tables and a bar, and it’ll work perfectly whether you’re with a few friends or just want to get some food by yourself. The menu is mostly ramen, with options like chicken soy or a spicy version called “Gates of Hell,” plus smaller plates like pork gyoza and seaweed salad.
Even though IBG isn’t right in the middle of the SIPS madness, it still gets super crowded. Head out from this SIPS spot a little early to take advantage of the Happy Hour menu at nearby dive bar Lucha Cartel, where you can order a ton of food for $5. Even if you miss that, though, the tacos and margaritas are still pretty cheap at full price. Plus, they have a porch out front with large, picnic-style tables, so you can enjoy the nice weather while it lasts.
Woody’s is a Midtown Village staple, and it’s one of those places that you only go to if you’re trying to have a big night out. Since all the deals during SIPS end at 7pm, grab dinner at Bud & Marilyn’s before you go back to Woody’s to drink until last call. This retro spot is right down the street from Woody’s, and they serve all the buttery comfort food you could ever want - like crispy cheese curds and fried chicken - before you head back to the bar.
Congratulations - neither you nor any of your friends fell into the fountain at Pagano’s. That means you’re ready to have a post-SIPS dinner at El Rey. The Rittenhouse Mexican spot is like a festive diner full of booths, long tables, and vintage movie posters plastering the walls. And if you make it in time for Happy Hour, they’ve got dollar tacos (go for the steak and fish options), $2 beers, and $4 margaritas. If not, you can’t go wrong with the short rib enchiladas, the chile relleno, or their nachos that come in a pizza pan.