Back of the House

Was the Snowpocalypse a Success for Restaurateurs?

Photo: Kirsten Henri

Yesterday, Twitter was en fuego with word of bars and restaurants opening early, adding specials and offering discounts (along with word of surprisingly few closures). We were wondering if all of the alleged hordes of intrepid drinkers and diners manifested in a way that made it worth it to the owners, so we checked in with a few restaurateurs and bar owners (bar-teurs?) around town to see how the snow day treated them. Here’s how they fared.

Doug Hager, owner, Brauhaus Schmitz
“I didn’t look at the final numbers, but at the end of the day we were busier than we typically are on a Wednesday. We offered half-price on all bottles and they definitely hit up the higher-end stuff hard; the beer consumers in Philly are intelligent, savvy consumers and they recognized they could get a Rochefort 10 for $5. It kind of felt like a Swiss chalet - everyone was wearing ski goggles and it was nice having that atmosphere going on with a full-on blizzard. The tricky thing is every restaurant wants to do a special, yours has to stand out a little bit. Just doing a $1 off drafts is not going to get people to come in.”

Ed Hackett, owner, Pub & Kitchen
“It was actually really great for us. We had a bloody mary promo and we sold over 200 bloody marys from noon to 3 p.m. We were packed for the entire day and it was our best Wednesday ever even including when we had the outdoor seating open. We sold over 1000 pints of beer and we broke our record of serving 185 burgers in a day - we finished close to 200. The whole overall vibe was great - I think everyone was having a good time being out. We did last call around midnight. People were getting too drunk and started to get wasted. They had just been drinking the whole day.”

Randal Mrazik, general manager, Sampan
“A young couple was here right at 4p.m. for the half price scorpion bowl we were offering. They sat in the dining room with their 2 or 3 year old, ate dinner and went back home. Then the guy came back a couple of hours later with four or five people from their building and between the six of them they had two more scorpion bowls. There was a time around 5:30-ish there were probably five scorpion bowls on the bar. We did 65 covers, I wouldn’t say it was the best Wednesday we’ve had, but it was a really great Wednesday for a snowstorm. We’re only in our 60th day so it’s hard to say what the norm is. It was worth being open, that’s for sure.”

Adam Ritter, owner, Sidecar Bar
“We had opened for brunch yesterday [they’re normally only open for brunch on the weekends]; we figured we might as well go for it. Brunch was good - it wasn’t great, but it was worth doing. Everyone came over around the same time - between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - it was good after that, but it wasn’t a steady flow. Typically, when the weather comes like, we take advantage of those times. We try to vibe like Boy Scouts and stock up real good so we’re prepared for it. We have plenty of beer to get the rest of the neighborhood drunk. I know if I was on the other side of the bar right now, that’s what I’d be doing.”

Was the Snowpocalypse a Success for Restaurateurs?