Fishtown Tiki Bar The Yachtsman Runs Out of Money, Turns To Kickstarter


When I interviewed Tommy Up recently for the back page of Philadelphia magazine’s April edition, he told me that his Fishtown tiki bar The Yachtsman would open around April 15th. Well last week came and went without any sign of The Yachtsman, and now we know why: the project has run out of money.

Up and his partner Sarah Brown have launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise at least $36,700 to get The Yachtsman up and running by June. As with all Kickstarter projects, if they don’t meet their goal, they don’t get a cent.

“…[L]ike every ‘crazy’ project, we have hit some unforeseen snags,” they explain in their campaign’s plea. “In our case, our building turned out to have significant structural issues that we needed to correct, before we could even start any decorative work… Instead of bringing in some corporate money, and losing the singleness of vision we feel is important, we want to keep The Yachtsman weird.”

And so they are asking their friends and the Internet for help.

Donation rewards range from Fishtown Yacht Club t-shirts ($35) and Officers Club Membership ($75, includes preferred entry and a key for the Officer’s Only restroom) to your very own name-plated bar stool ($950, and you get to claim the stool whenever you show up) and a framed portrait of developer Bart Blatstein ($2,750).

If you’re wondering why they’re not giving away free drinks, it’s because neither the PLCB nor Kickstarter allows it. Puritans.

Some may scoff at the notion of using Kickstarter to open a bar. After all, Kickstarter is normally used to fund a play, make a movie, or produce an invention, like Data Garden’s awesome device that lets you make music from your houseplants. In other words, highly creative projects.

“Well, this is a creative project as we see it,” says Brown. “This is really personal, and so we don’t want to bring people in as partners. We’d love to see it through with just our friends.”

The Yachtsman [Foobooz]

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • upandup19125

    Of all the things in the world that need funding in the neighborhood, we’re supposed to fund a bar so its owners can turn a profit?

  • JB

    If they do manage to raise the $37K, will that really be enough to finish the project and get the place open? Seems pretty low..when you have no money left.

  • Tom

    When I worked for Tommy up at pyt, my checks on a consistent basis were unable to be cashed. He showed up to meetings as if the whole place was a joke, and I can think of 100 other places to invest money in besides some bar he likely will treat as a playhouse.

  • Alimentarian

    “Donation rewards range from . . . a framed portrait of developer Bart Blatstein ($2,750).” That was clearly thrown in as a joke, right?

    • JB

      I would take the Alfred E. Neuman version!

  • Eric

    So they want the public to fork over money that they don’t have so they can run a bar and profit from it? This has to be the stupidest thing I’ve read in quite some time. Here’s an idea: don’t go into business if you don’t have money!! Ever hear of a bank loan??!!!? I make amazing ribs. Anyone care to buy me a BBQ restaurant? I’ll give you a shirt?

    • RIBSrUS

      Ribs you say? who should I make the check out to? lol

  • Christopher Sawyer

    Ugh… I have a credit card that has a limit above what Tommy Up is looking to raise. But could I trust him to pay any of it back floating him my lines…

  • dpark


  • Tommy Down

    This is amazingly unprofessional and even shameful. PYT has shown a profit since 2010. Assuming that Tommy Boy hasn’t snorted all of the proceeds, you can’t tell me he can’t scrounge up a little more cash or do what other Fishtown businessmen do: Walk into Hyperion Bank and ask for for a loan. He’s unwilling to do this because he thinks he has access to cheap capital by offering t-shirts to fund his own equity stake. I bet the idiots give him their money. Good for them.

  • GlassJawn

    Think of all the coke you can buy for $36,700! I think who ever gives them a cent deserves a framed photo of Tommy dUPe and BartStein flipping the camera while laughing. I can’t think of a bigger group of shameless jokers.

  • Little Tommy

    Seems ironic, “Yachtsman” name implies wealth. A grown man calling himself “Tommy” also rubs me wrong. Good luck, they’ll need it.

    • Tom Prince

      If you look at the concept of Tommy Up’s idea of a Tiki Bar in Fishtown you might want to consider a unique contribution to the many other establishments that are re-opening in the Fishtown/ Port Richmond area. Please do your homework on all the other similar pubs that have projected theme openings and reserve a comment. If you look into the history of Tiki Bars you will notice it is a WW2 Pacific theater Vets memory of favorite times during the War that established places like the “Yachtsman” .
      I’m a grown man, my friends call me Tommy or 1st Sgt Prince , Commander Prince or Mr.Prince.
      PS I do disagee with the money projects of Tommy Up!

  • Biting Cop

    If you hate the idea of this thing existing, all you need to do is report the project to Kickstarter. It’s that simple, people.

  • Alrightalex

    great kickstarter reward – having my name on a bar stool so i can throw the person sitting there off it when i show up. great friendly neighborhood place.

  • William Rhodes

    I don’t understand Kickstarter. I invest money in a new business but get no return on my investment at all? Tommy Up’s business does well by all appearances, why can’t get get a business loan to get this thing up and running. Is he afraid that it would not be accretive to the bottom line?

  • Amelia Lee

    clearly, when you don’t have enough money to open your business you should definitely fly across the country for “research”. Here’s your Kickstarter money hard at work!!

  • N

    This project sucks and does not belong in fishtown. go to atlantic city ya jerks. and stop asking the common person for money so you can profit!

  • cobradan

    Tommy Up is a homophobe, he accuses you of being gay if he can’t come up with a good response.