Philly food and drink scene

Philly’s getting an underground dance bar with a slide and ball pit

Likely called Concourse, it’s a project from the owner of Morgan’s Pier.

The pit at BallieBallerson in London

The pit at BallieBallerson in London

DESTINO via BallieBallerson/Facebook

Dance parties in Center City are about to get kicked up a notch. This January, Avram Hornik of FCM Hospitality will debut a below-ground bar with a slide for an entrance and two adult-sized ball pits inside. Yes, ball pits, plural. And yes, an actual slide.

What makes Hornick think Philly deserves so much fun?

The project, which was first reported by, has been a dream of Hornik’s for some time now. He already owns and operates several successful bars and music venues — Morgan’s Pier, Boot & Saddle, Dolphin Tavern, William Street Common — and has a handful of others in the works. But he feels there’s a gap in the local nightlife scene.

“There’s nightclubs where you get dressed up and have bottle service,” Hornik told Billy Penn, “and there’s sports bars and restaurants. But it’s hard to find a middle ground.”

At this new spot, which will likely be called “Concourse” because of its location — in the former OTB Turf Club below 1635 Market St., right next to the underground transit concourse — Hornik plans to try to reproduce the feeling of house parties he loved in his 20s: “Blasting loud music, dancing with friends, not taking yourself too seriously.”

That throwback vibe will pervade the 10,000-square-foot space, where DJs will spin lots of ‘80s and ‘90s music on a no-nonsense sound system rocking loud enough that “people can feel the music.”

Decor will also have a funky retro look. A disco ball is a given, and lighting will include ethernet-connected cords that glow in different hues as the music changes, plus projection on the walls. Hornik’s already started collecting furniture, including a chair with a giant face in it, a giraffe made of mirrors and a zebra circle couch.

The future entrance to Concourse is at front right

The future entrance to Concourse is at front right

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

And the ball pits. Apparently adult ball pits are having a moment right now, trending on the West Coast and in the UK. Hornik envisions two for Concourse: One that’s a full body pit in the back game room, which will also be home to classic video games like Pac-Man, and one next to the dance floor that’s knee-height, so you can still move to the music while wading through.

That front pit will also be right next to the entrance — which will be a slide.

There’s always the chance the architects might come back with a buzzkill, but as of now, plans call for turning the escalator part of the entranceway (which is actually between Market and JFK) into a slope people will use to swoosh their way two stories down into the bar.

There will of course be an elevator for people with disabilities, and you will be able to descend via a set of stairs, but “if you’re too cool to enter the bar on the slide, you’re probably not gonna like the place,” Hornik said.

Bar stools and high-tops will surround the dance floor, and drinks will fall in line with the offerings at Morgan’s Pier: craft beer on tap and bottles/cans plus craft cocktails and booze. There will not be a food menu, but Hornik expects to cater private parties via his other venues — a second-floor lounge overlooking the dance area will be outfitted with couches and have its own bar.

Concourse is not about eating. It’s about having fun.

“I want people to come in there and feel like they are dancing for themselves, not for anyone else,” Hornik said. “I want people to really let loose and let their body take control.”

Want some more? Explore other Philly food and drink scene stories.

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Avram Hornik