Philly’s Only Kansas City Chiefs Bar Cancels Super Bowl Party

"Unfortunately, we will be closed," confirms longtime Big Charlie's manager and Kansas City Chiefs fan Laura Sessa

Big Charlie's Saloon, a Kansas City Chiefs bar deep in Philadelphia Eagles territory

Big Charlie’s Saloon, a Kansas City Chiefs bar deep in Philadelphia Eagles territory in South Philly (Image via Google Maps)

Last week, we wrote about Big Charlie’s Saloon, the Kansas City Chiefs bar in South Philadelphia and, as far as we know, the only Kansas City Chiefs bar in the whole of Philadelphia. Well on Monday afternoon, we learned that Big Charlie’s just canceled their big Super Bowl party.

“Unfortunately, we will be closed,” says longtime Big Charlie’s manager and Kansas City Chiefs fan Laura Sessa, who has been behind the bar for the better part of two decades.

Like many Philly bars, Big Charlie’s decided to sell tickets to their Super Bowl festivities, so they put word out online. $25 would get you into the party and included food.

But Big Charlie’s didn’t use a ticketing website like EventBrite to sell their tickets, says Sessa. They did it the old school way. Show up at the bar, buy a wristband, which a lot of people did. Call and make a reservation and send $25 per person via Venmo, which a lot of people did. If you were a Big Charlie’s regular, you could just let them know you were coming, which a lot of people did, and you could just pay when you arrived on Sunday.

Problem was, they didn’t exactly keep track of all of this. And the bar, which maybe holds 135 people, according to Sessa’s best estimate, quickly realized that between the various people working there, they had promised something like 170 spots. And on top of that, they had regulars who hadn’t heard about the event who suddenly found themselves without a seat for Super Bowl Sunday.

“We felt so bad,” laments Sessa. “We couldn’t turn our regulars away. But thanks to all the media attention we’ve been receiving, this all really just blew up. And canceling felt like our only option.”

I suggested to Sessa that they cancel the party, issue refunds where needed, but then just open their doors on Sunday on a first-come, first-serve, no ticket basis. Just like a regular South Philly bar. She pondered that for a few seconds.

“But the problem is, what happens if the Eagles win?” she offered. “The city will be a madhouse and we’d have all these Chiefs fans trying to get home from our bar. It could be an issue.” (Of course, that would have been an issue either way, but I digress.)

Sessa says she’ll be watching the game from her South Philly home.

“It’s not like there are a lot of places I can go in my Chiefs gear,” she laughs.