The 10 People You’ll Meet at Center City Sips


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:

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Springfield, PA Ranks High on “Most Like The Simpsons” List

Bart Simpson messes with your head, via

Bart Simpson messes with your head, via

Estately Real Estate Search analyzed 11 different data sets to arrive at its rankings of which actual cities most resemble the fictional Springfield portrayed on “The Simpsons.”  The chart below shows the criteria as well as each state’s ranking in each category. As you’ll see, Pennsylvania does well not only with power plants, which we knew, but with businesses named “Moe’s,” which I would not personally have assumed.

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Philly Ranked 7th Best Vacation Spot for the Health Conscious



When out-of-towners think of Philly, the first thing that comes to mind is usually a gigantic, greasy Philly Cheesesteak. Delicious? Yes. Healthy? Not so much. So imagine our surprise when we heard that Philly came in seventh on a recent list of Best Vacation Spots for the Health Conscious. I’m not complaining, but … huh?

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10 Tourism Campaigns Here for the Mocking


Since May, the Inquirer‘s Karen Heller has been covering the humorously bureaucratic scrap between the city’s two civic marketing firms and their conflicting efforts to “brand” Philadelphia with an official come-hither tourism slogan.

Launched in early 2014, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce and other outfits, debuted a new campaign: “PHL: Here for the Making.” The tagline’s meant to puff up Philly’s status as a hotbed of hands-on entrepreneurs, as well as hip-ify the city by slanging up its airport code, a la Portland, Oregon’s popular use of “PDX.” It hasn’t gained too much day-to-day traction just yet, due at least in part to skewering by critics like Heller. “Perhaps it was a late-night gambit where the exhausted branding experts, having jettisoned a thousand previous ideas, threw it up against the wall to see if it would stick,” she wrote.

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Howard Eskin’s 5 Most Memorable Feuds

howard eskinSurprise, surprise. Howard Eskin is in a tiff with a prominent Philadelphia athlete — again.

The target this time? Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who reportedly got in Eskin’s face before the team’s 5-3 win over the Dodgers last weekend after the WIP host claimed that the pitcher missed an earlier game against the Mets due to a hangover.

This is far from the first time that Eskin (recently inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame)  — and his ego — has been at odds with the athletes he covers. Here are five of his greatest hits:

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6 Ways Philly Really Is a World-Class City

“After walking about it for an hour or two, I felt I would have given the world for a crooked street,” Charles Dickens wrote of his visit to Philadelphia in 1842 in his book American Notes.

He just didn’t walk far enough — all he had to do was cross what was then the city line into Southwark or Northern Liberties and he would have found some.

Dickens may not have been terribly impressed by Philadelphia, or the rest of America for that matter, but other Europeans who have followed in his footsteps have had different reactions. Perhaps it’s because they may recognize a little bit of home in this city’s streetscapes and customs. In fact, there are some who say this is the most European of all American cities.

While there are plenty of Philadelphians who have never strayed far from the place of their birth, those who have — many of whom decided they liked the place enough to stick around — have taken it international in a big way. They probably helped Philly achieve that high “International Outreach” score the researchers at the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra in Spain gave this city on their way to ranking it as the 11th-smartest city in the world and second-smartest in the U.S. behind New York in its Cities in Motion Index. But — perhaps unbeknownst to you — we’ve had a bit of the global in us all along. Here are some of the ways in which Philly has a touch of the world about it:

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9 Golden Rules of Amtrak Etiquette

Darn! I missed National Train Day on May 10th. But in reality I have a lot of train days. That’s because I’ve been using Amtrak frequently over the past few months. And I’m not alone: Amtrak reportedly carries 31.5 million passengers a year and if trends continue, by 2040 ridership could reach 43.5 million. And I’m pretty sure all of those passengers were on the 6:25 Northeast Regional with me last night coming home from New York.

Were you on that train? Well, you snore. And also, please, out of respect for me and all the other 31.5 million fellow passengers, I hope you follow these 10 rules of etiquette.
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Pennsylvanians Google “Back Shaving” More Than Any Other Term

map of search terms

Image via Estately.

You gotta hand it to real estate websites: they know how to drive traffic. Witness Estately, which always has something to love. Today, it’s a map of the U.S. with the terms residents searched for most on Google in the last 10 years, based on the data on Google Trends. Are we surprised that Pennsylvania has a humiliating term as No. 1? We are not. What about the other terms? There are 18 total.

1. Back Shaving
2. Beer
3. Competitive Eating
4. Eagles (band)
5. Freedom
6. Furries
7. Heroin
8. Jello Wrestling
9. Madden NFL (video game)
10. Malt Liquor

The other eight…

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13 More Bizarre Philadelphia International Airport Moments: A Timeline

plane crash phl

Photo | Dennis Fee

This past Tuesday night, the pilots of a US Airways flight heading from Philadelphia International Airport to London were forced to make good on their “don’t make me turn this plane around!” threats once Robert Coppack decided to hit for the dickhead passenger cycle.

According to NBC Philadelphia, Coppack, a dual US/UK citizen, has been accused of touching three female passengers inappropriately, verbally abusing crew and threatening a Federal Air Marshal in the air. After the plane, which was near Cape Cod at the time of the turnaround, returned to PHL, he allegedly became “physically aggressive [and] belligerent” during interviews with law enforcement. He’s currently detained in Center City awaiting a hearing early next week.

These shenanigans serve as the latest entry in the canon of bizarre/embarrassing/both incidents that have involved PHL over the years. Below, a recent timeline of PHL’s many odd and unfortunate moments (2013 was a bear of a year for these guys). We should be thankful that these are all relatively minor in the grand scheme.

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