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March 07, 2018

Center City Sips will return this summer ... with some adjustments

Expect pricier drinks and way more security

Drinking Happy Hour
Carroll - Outside Dining in Center City Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Outdoor dining near Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia.

It’s hard to imagine summer happy hours on a day like today, but the season is indeed getting closer. Tuesday, exactly three months from its official launch, Center City District announced CCD Sips will be returning for its 15th year beginning June 6 -- with a few changes.

If you’ve lived through a Sips the past year or two, you might associate the summer tradition, in which 90+ bars and restaurants offer food and drink specials each Wednesday, more with frat-boy brawls and underage drinking than a nice after-work celebration.

It seems the Center City District is feeling that way, too.

To try and keep the program’s original sentiment in mind – to throw young professionals a bone with discounted drinks – the district is modifying the special by raising prices and partnering with Philadelphia security forces. The Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Delaware River Port Authority police, the PATCO police, and the SEPTA police all will be working with Center City District.

As for drinks, expect to drop a few more bucks than previous years: Beer, wine, and cocktails will go for $4, $5, and $6, respectively.

The new Sips regulations also will require more security and staffing is needed for bigger event spaces.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves at all of the great bars and restaurants that take part in Sips on Wednesday nights,” said Frank S. Spera from the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement in a statement.

“However, we want to make this perfectly clear: If you’re underage, or if you’re traveling into Center City with the goal of drinking excessively and behaving badly, you should stay home.”

Other updates this year include expanding bike police to monitor streets and meeting with businesses and building owners to prevent over-serving and crowd control.

Check out the ongoing list of participating Sips businesses here