💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.
Center City Sips is canceled this year, but there’s another promotion that aims to bring people out to celebrate midweek happy hour — hopefully in a more distributed way.
Called Summer Social, the weekly event features dozens of bars and restaurants in neighborhoods all over Philadelphia. Each will offer food and drink specials every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m., including $4 beer and wine and $5 cocktails.
The promo was started by Chris Parker-Rajewski, a 31-year-old anesthesiologist at Temple University Hospital, and his friend Mark Prinzinger, 38.
“We’re aware of Sips and aware of the kind of ‘aura’ around Sips,” Parker Rajewski told Billy Penn, referencing big crowds that flooded out of office buildings and packed into a couple of downtown spots. “We wanted something a little more widespread.”
The duo joined forces last spring when Parker-Rajewski’s vacation trip was canceled by the pandemic. He reached out to Prinzinger, who had recently been laid off from a sales and marketing job, about creating a company that supported the hospitality industry through their shared interest: happy hour.
They started with an Instagram account posting drink deals in May 2020. It has since reached nearly 10k followers, and Happy Hour Philly has become a full-fledged business.
Summer Social is the first big venture. Bars can sign up at one of three levels ($175, $300 or $400) and get listed on the website, be included in social media promo, get free printed promotional fliers. and be part of a weekly raffle for followers.
Parker-Rajewski and Prinzinger hope their program will give participating locations a boost on a slower day of the week and during a season when Philadelphians normally flock to the Jersey shore on the weekends.
“We try to do everything we can to make sure that these restaurants and bars that have struggled over the past year get all the support that they possibly can,” Prinzinger said.
Unlike Sips, which was only Center City, Summer Social is partnered with locations across the city. Right now, the 29 participating locations are spread throughout seven neighborhoods of Philly, including Fairmount, Chinatown, Fishtown and University City.
And more spots continue to sign up.
Revolution House in Old City is one of the newest to join. General manager Michael Giammasi reached out to get info, and the founders dropped off fliers for him last week.
“I would definitely go out to one of these if I wasn’t working it,” said Giammasi, 25. “You know — $5 cocktail. Unbeatable.”
For the promotion to be worthwhile for the restaurant, he explained, customers have to buy at least two drinks and a food dish. He thinks Summer Social will be a hit. He added that the event allows the bartenders to try out new cocktails, like Revolution House’s mango and peach sangrias.
Parker-Rajewski hopes Summer Social will encourage people to patronize local bars and restaurants and get a chance to hang out with friends or meet new ones, even if they’re not back in the office yet.
“It’s just going to allow people to finish working at home, [and] they can wander down the street and have whatever choice a bar they want within their area,” he said.
The partners celebrated the kickoff on June 30 at Xochitl on Headhouse Square, and the event was a big success. The weekly promotion runs through Sept. 1. Find a list of participating bars here.