There’s a fun piece in this month’s Philadelphia magazine about bars across the country where Philly sports fans gather. Of particular interest, considering this Sunday’s game, is a Dallas watering hole that allows Birds supporters to yell “Cowboys suck!” While that’s sounds subversive and awesome in a masochistic, asking-for-trouble way that’s very Philly, I would never go there. Not because it’s a chain restaurant, but because that chain—Fox and Hound—has earned the title of the worst sports bar in Philadelphia.
Roughly six years ago, I went to the Fox and Hound at 15th and Spruce to watch the Eagles versus the Giants. The particular game escapes my memory, but it was a Sunday and an important showdown for both teams. I wore a white Eagles jersey, and one of my friends—a stinkin’ Giants fan—was decked out in blue. We arrived expecting to see a sea of green and a few annoying New Yorkers in the bar’s large main room—TVs blaring and the big game on most screens. Instead, we were seated in a smaller side room, where the Eagles were relegated to two crappy screens with no game sound. Again, remember this took place in the center of Center City Philadelphia.
What was on in the big room? The Steelers. At least 20 fans, geared up from head to toe and waving those dumb towels, had taken over. This wasn’t a Viking raid—someone from Fox and Hound let them in and said sure, we’ll blast the audio of an out-of-town matchup while this city’s team faces one of its biggest rivals. When I asked for sound, our waitress said the Pittsburgh posse comes in every weekend, so there’s “nothing they can do.” (Note to sports bar employees: That phrase is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Yes, there is something you can do. Tell the Stillers fans their money is no good here and to go pound sand.)
That was the last time I set foot in the Fox and Hound. But a manager confirms this tradition still endures. There’s even a bit of folklore now—word is that the takeover began when a few black-and-yellow-loving airline pilots had a layover in Philadelphia and were directed to Fox and Hound for the Steelers game. The Birds are still ghettoized in that side room, but the manager claims both Pennsylvania teams are given equal viewing opportunities. I guess that’s true, if you prefer to watch the Eagles on small screens with the mute button on. The final kick in the pants—there’s a giant inflatable Steelers fan at the front door.
I don’t care how many beers this place has on tap, or what’s on the menu, or what drink specials they’re promoting—no self-respecting Birds fan should patronize this joint. If Brian Dawkins offered to buy me beer all day long, bring me as many cheesesteaks as I could eat and do his Idiot Man dance every time the Eagles scored, I still would not go there (though that would make for the best Facebook profile photo ever). Even though there’s a gross lack of quality sports bars in Center City, I can name four joints within two blocks that I’d choose over Fox and Hound (Misconduct, Jose Pistola’s, Locust Rendezvous and Good Dog, which barely has any TVs at all).
Yet every weekend, you’ll see Eagles fans file into that renegade lair, smack in the middle of our home turf. This being a free country, you have the right to waste your hard-earned cash at an establishment that gives our Birds the bird. You also have the right to be stupid.
So all I can do is make a plea, for this Sunday and for every one that follows—uphold your civic duty as a Philadelphian and take your money elsewhere. And if you’re ever stuck in Dallas on a Sunday, avoid that Fox and Hound, too. (Though I’d consider calling that bar every time the Eagles score this weekend and yelling, “Dallas sucks!”)