Uptown Beer Garden didn’t have the smoothest debut last summer. Shortly after opening to enormous crowds—turns out, Center City was thirsty for an open-air happy hour—it fell prey to L&I red tape during a crackdown on pop-up bars.
“We didn’t know what to expect — we got thrown to the wolves. We had 3,500 people the first day,” says Teddy Sourias, owner of Uptown as well as hotspots BRU Craft & Wurst, U-Bahn and the soon-to-open Cinder. “And nobody knows anything at L&I. You go in there, and they act like they don’t even know why they’re there. But we have things figured out this time.”
Opening May 19, this summer’s Uptown features twice the seating and a third bar to accommodate the 9,000-square-foot space. A new outdoor grill will be manned by veteran chef Jonathan Petruce, who’s serving an upscale, street food-inspired menu of portable snacks and sandwiches. In addition to Turkish chicken skewers, lobster rolls and Spanish octopus, he’s got the Philly classics covered—although no, there’s no faux-orange whiz on this cheesesteak, whose roll is slathered in beef fat rendered from marrow bones.