Pretty Much No Bar You Want to Be At Is Open Late for the DNC

Anyone wanna hang out at a hookah bar or a Chinese restaurant in West Philly?

Photo by Maria McGreary

Photo by Maria McGreary

When I heard way back in February that the DNC Host Committee was working on a plan to let Philly bars stay open until 4 a.m., I thought it was going to mean a late-night free-for-all at some of the city’s best spots. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to hang out at Bob & Barbara’s or Hop Sing Laundromat or Jose Pistola’s until that hour, but I would have stupidly done it, and the idea of throwing back a few Citywide Specials with Anderson Cooper had a certain allure. Alas, the list of Philly bars open late during the DNC is pretty anemic.

The rules surrounding which bars would be eligible for the special permit were always a bit unclear, including after the application deadline expired on July 18th. It turned out that the bars had to be hosting events “connected” to the DNC.

What does “connected” mean? We were told that “events in which invitations are directed to convention attendees or those associated with the convention qualify.”

So, if I do a DNC dance party at my bar and invite convention attendees, I can stay open late? Nah. It sounds like only bars that are hosting very official DNC events — like the DNC is buying out the bar — got the stamp of approval.

Of course, only 47 applications were sent in. Not a lot.

We polled some bar owners in the city to try to get a sense of why more didn’t apply. Some said they didn’t bother because they — like the rest of us — were confused by the rules. Others just assumed that the “fix was in” and that they wouldn’t be allowed to stay open late because they hadn’t made any political donations of late. And one just forgot to fill out the form in time.

While Sang Kee Noodle House in West Philly, Center City hookah bar Byblos, and Sansom Street bro bar Ladder 15 were granted extensions, places like Morgan’s Pier, Chris’ Jazz Cafe, North Bowl, and controversial-but-popular rooftop bar Bok were denied. Even the Italian American Bocce Club of Paradise didn’t make the cut! (The full list of approved and denied bars and other licensees appears below.)

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says that it was the DNC Host Committee that did the original vetting and that the PLCB approved all of the bars that the committee sent to them. The DNC paid a one-time fee of $5,000 to the state to get the extensions.

Personally, I would have set it up so that any bar could get in, and those bars would pay $500 each for the privilege. Let’s say you had 200 bars apply (I think well more than that would have wanted in if the setup hasn’t been so screwy). That’s $100,000. Maybe make it a charitable thing. Give the money to Project H.O.M.E. or MANNA or one of the city’s other favorite charities. But what do I know?

Anyway, if you’re looking for me after hours tonight, I’ll be at the cocktail lounge at the Embassy Suites by the airport!


African American Museum
Chris’ Jazz Cafe
Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West
His & Hers Restaurant
The Italian American Bocce Club of Paradise
Morgan’s Pier
North Bowl
Positano Coast
Revolution House
Sheraton Suites Airport
South Bowl
South Philly Barbacoa
Stadium Sports Bar & Restaurant


Bru Craft & Wurst
Courtyard Marriott
Courtyard Marriott Airport
Crowne Plaza Presidential Boulevard
Crowne Plaza King of Prussia
Doubletree Airport
Doubletree Valley Forge
Downtown Marriott
Electric Factory
Embassy Suites Airport
Garces Catering (Academy of Music)
Garces Catering (801 Market)
Holiday Inn Lansdale
Hotel Monaco
Hotel Palomar/Square 1682
Hyatt at the Bellevue
Inn at Penn
Ladder 15
Le Meridien
Loews Philadelphia
Logan Hotel
National Mechanics
Sang Kee Noodle House
Sheraton Downtown

Note: This article was updated to reflect new approvals.