You’d think in America’s best beer-drinking city, we’d be about to put up a united front in our appreciation for cheap weeknight booze. But alas, this is Philadelphia and we are nothing if not contrarian. Every summer we become a city divided.
Half of us love Center City Sips, claiming that the Wednesday night happy hour version of Restaurant Week is the perfect way to celebrate Hump Day — even better if you can find a spot that serves booze outdoors. It’s an amazing reason to socialize on a Wednesday and a great way to meet other people in the city, we say earnestly while clutching a $3 Coors Light can. The other half of us grit our teeth and grumble at the watered-down cocktails and lukewarm appetizers. Half-priced cheesesteak spring rolls are not enough to win over the naysayers of Sips! We would rather pay full price on Tuesday, we exclaim, eyebrows crinkled with condescension.
Sips detractors have a valid point: Just like Restaurant Week can sometimes make perfectly acceptable eateries unbearable, Sips can turn your favorite bar into a business-casual nightmare. But week after week, I watch the bars fill up with excited swillers. Throughout the city, cabs circle popular Sips spots, knowing that tipsy imbibers will not have the energy to walk home to Fairmount after two hours of guzzling $4 Cabernet and stuffing their bellies with sliders and hummus plates. Just like we can count on Santa to be at Macy’s on Black Friday and Bill Cosby to be at Temple’s graduation, there are certain characters at every iteration of Center City Sips.
Behold, the 10 people you’ll see every Wednesday from now through August:
1. Guys Who Change Into Sips Suits
Who they are: Teachers or aspiring consultants. They may have worn a popped-collar polo to the office, but for $3 Coronas, they felt the need to class it up a bit.
Where they drink: Marathon at 19th and Market.
What they drink: “Whatever’s on tap, boss.”
Why they drink: Because no one understands their vision.
2. Love-Starved Young Professionals
Who they are: Administrative assistants in pencil skirts and office managers in pleated khakis.
Where they drink: Smith’s.
What they drink: All the $4 pinot grigio they can get their hands on.
Why they drink: Because the person they met at Sips last week turned out to be a total psycho.
3. Underaged College Kids
Who they are: These drinkers are also known as Marketing Interns Who Dress Like Strippers.
Where they drink: You’ll know them when you see them.
What they drink: $3 Lagers.
Why they drink: Because they can’t believe they didn’t get carded!
4. Barely Legal College Kids
Who they are: These drinkers are also known as Finance Interns Who Dress Like Their Parents.
Where they drink: Either Irish Pub.
What they drink: $3 Blue Moons.
Why they drink: Because work is, like, way harder than regular school.
5. Too-Old-to-Be-Wearing-That Women
Who they are: Somebody’s mom.
Where they drink: Anywhere with a DJ.
What they drink: Whatever tropical-colored cocktail is on special.
Why they drink: To forget.
6. People in Scrubs
Who they are: Nurses at Jefferson.
Where they drink: Moriarity’s.
What they drink: The house red.
Why they drink: Because they’ve been on their feet for 12 straight hours and goddamn right they deserve to kick back.
7. No-Worries-We’ll-Just-Squeeze-Him-In Tables
Who they are: People who vastly underestimate the number of people in their party.
Where they drink: Everywhere.
What they drink: Everything.
Why they drink: It doesn’t even matter, but the poor waitress is probably going to wind up running 15 credit card tabs for $12 a piece.
8. Table Savers a.k.a. the Unemployed
Who they are: The people who arrive at 4:30 to make sure their friends have a place to hang.
Where they drink: “I mean, wherever you guys wanna go. I’m not really busy so I can go wherever …”
What they drink: The cheapest thing on the menu.
Why they drink: Because they have nothing better to do.
9. The Gays
Who they are: The most attractive men in the room.
Where they drink: Woody’s.
What they drink: Light beer.
Why they drink: Oh please, have you ever met a gay man who doesn’t love a drink?
10. Anti-Social Texters
Who they are: The people who are sitting in a circle at a table, not speaking to each other but busily texting all their other friends to say, “OMG come to Sips, it’s so fun!”
Where they drink: Ladder 15.
What they drink: Cocktails.
Why they drink: It gives them a reason not go home right after work and watch reruns of Scandal.
Follow @errrica on Twitter.