SOUTH PHILADELPHIA. Lou Capp takes pride in Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar, the Passyunk Avenue mainstay his father owned a dozen years before the greatest U.S. football victory ever, the 1-0 win over England in 1950. Yet the affable “paisan”-to-all isn’t making much out of a month when more may seek access to early-morning bar stools.
“We get a lot of Irish, some English, people from all over the world since Pat’s and Geno’s are right around the corner. Tokyo, China, Italy. Germany,” he said, before delving into footy popularity. “An Irish guy with a thick accent was telling me about [Frenchman Thierry Henry’s handball elimination of Ireland’s qualifying]. Couldn’t understand him except him saying that I should DVR games. Well, I don’t have a DVR here, but we’ll be open when they’re on live.”
Ray’s is one of scant few Philly taprooms catering to the crack-of-dawn crowd, non-prime-time sports or not, but it’s not alone. Traditional football gathering spot Dark Horse plans early weekend-morning openings.
Catering to a passionate African-emigre audience, the woman answering the phone at Kilimanjaro Restaurant near 41st and Chestnut said, “We’ll open whenever there’s a crowd that wants us to.”