U-Bahn Debuts In Middle of Snowstorm

TJ Kong onstage a U-Bahn

TJ Kong onstage a U-Bahn

Icy sidewalks, falling snow and frigid temperatures didn’t stop new subterranean bar and music venue U-Bahn from opening on Thursday. Hundreds of people—mostly in the 21 to 35 age range—turned out to see what it’s all about.

The doors opened to the public for the first time at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, still in the middle of the snow emergency declared by the City of Philadelphia. PR guy Kory Aversa, who represents the club, said it took him an hour to get a cab to the opening.

U-Bahn sits underneath BRÜ Craft & Wurst. There are 18 beers on tap, all from Pennsylvania, and the food is snacky—think pickles, dips with crostini and sandwiches. I tried the hoagie dip, which is disgusting to think about (it’s basically a puréed Italian hoagie) but delicious to eat.

The club nods to its music focus with the menus, which are enclosed in old LP covers:

Robert Goulet!

Those menus are sitting on the ledge of one of two “VIP” areas, little nooks with benches that sit at the bottom of what were the elevator shafts. You can’t see the stage from that location, but the club says they might be putting monitors in the VIP areas with a direct feed of whatever is happening on stage.

And if the band sucks, you can always head to the arcade:

There’s Mortal Kombat, Madden Football, and two multi-game machines that contain all of the old-school arcade games that you really only want to play after a few beers.

But what’s a music venue without music, right?

There were four bands on the schedule for opening night, with TJ Kong taking the first slot. Before the show started, I was warned that the sound system hadn’t been fully installed yet, so I’ll wait until later to make a judgment on the sound quality.

But the stage is nice and high—and I love the backdrop—so if you’re standing at the back for a sold-out show (that would be around 200 people in the room), you’ll still be able to see the band.

U-Bahn says it expects to book live music—mostly of the local band and singer-songwriter variety—three to five nights per week by mid-Spring.

It’s actually the second Center City live music venue to open in 2015. Mark Bee of Silk City and North 3rd recently opened a 250-person venue on the second floor of Franky Bradley’s, which is his restaurant that replaces the old Sisters lesbian club. Weird Hot is playing there on Friday night.

The clubs are two-tenths of a mile away from each other. Check out both and let us know what you think.