Phillies playoff games and Eagles wins boost Philly sports bar, store business

As the Phillies clinched the National League Division Series and the Eagles beat the Cowboys over the weekend, the teams weren’t the only ones celebrating — and seeing dollar signs.

On 13th Street, Shibe Vintage Sports did a month’s worth of business in a weekend. Across Broad Street, joyous fans celebrated the Eagles’ victory at Good Dog Bar until 1:45 a.m. Monday.

From Philadelphia to Norristown to Bucks County, restaurants, bars, and sports memorabilia stores are reporting that business has been up 20% or more in recent weeks. Owners say it’s thanks to the Phillies’ playoff run coinciding with the undefeated start of the Eagles season.

“Having two teams doing phenomenally is a dream come true,” said Christopher Mullins Jr., co-owner of McGillin’s Olde Ale House in Center City. “It’s refreshingly exhausting. … There is just a whole new life out on the streets,” life that is spilling over into barrooms and storefronts, far away from the stadium lights in South Philly.

The fall is always lucrative for the region’s sports businesses, several owners said, with the Eagles typically garnering far and away the biggest crowds of any Philly team.

But the fall is not usually this lucrative.

With the Birds starting the season 6-0 for the first time since 2004 and the Phillies playing postseason baseball for the first time in more than a decade, fans are ecstatic. At the same time, there’s excitement — albeit to a lesser extent — about the playoff-bound Union and the start of the Sixers’ and the Flyers’ seasons.

In recent weeks, reinvigorated fans have shown a greater willingness to spend money — not only on game tickets but also on hefty bar tabs and new jerseys, hats, and other swag.

» READ MORE: Why the Phillies’ and Eagles’ successes might have you feeling happier, even if you’re not a fan

Business has steadily increased at Shibe since the Eagles’ season started, said co-owner Brian Michael, with October sales up 50% compared with this time last month.

Eagles gear remains the top seller at Shibe. But Michael said long-sleeved Phillies shirts, knit hats, and hoodies are flying off the shelves, too. So is kids’ clothing, he said, as schools have Phillies- and Eagles-themed days.

Last weekend was monumentally busy, he said.

“With the Phillies home games and the night [Eagles] game, which gives people more time to shop, all that kind of factored into the perfect storm,” Michael said.

Good Dog, near 15th and Locust, did its best business in months on Saturday as the Phillies clinched the division, owner Dave Garry said. Sunday was busy, too, with fans drinking at the bar into early morning, something Garry said they don’t do when the Eagles lose.

“When they’re winning, everybody is happier. They’re always looking for one last one on the way home,” Garry said, noting that Good Dog’s business was up 30% last week over the week prior.

At McGillin’s, where Eagles games often draw a large crowd, the Phillies’ playoff run has been the biggest boon, Mullins said.

The historic watering hole is almost always packed from 9 p.m. to close on weekends, he said. But if the Phillies play during the day, it will start to fill up closer to noon, he said.

During the week, some remote workers have posted up with their laptops out for midday playoff baseball. Others who are back in the office took extended lunches, Mullins said, or finished early to watch with coworkers. The scene is more bustling than usual, as the weekday lunch crowd has dwindled since the pandemic.

“That’s why having these day games is even more precious,” Mullins said.

Overall, he added, business is up about 25%.

The impact is felt in the suburbs, too.

At Steppy’s 2912 Eatery and Bar in Norristown, manager Anthony Taormina said any team in the playoffs bumps up business. On days that Phillies playoff games are on, he said, he can expect business to increase 25%, he said.

In Bristol, more people are coming into the sports memorabilia store Bucks County Baseball Co., and online sales are up at least 20% in the last two weeks, said JP Lutz, who co-owns the store with his father, Jim.

“I think what made this year unique in terms of championship runs was that no one really expected the Phillies to make the playoffs. And for the most part, the Eagles’ run has been surprising, too,” he said.

Some people are buying vintage gear from past championships as a good luck charm, he said, while a new generation is getting excited about the Phillies.

» READ MORE: Philadelphia police prep for potential fan celebrations if Phillies win NLCS and go to World Series

Lutz and Shibe’s Michael said they’re looking to increase inventory heading into the holiday season and ordering more Phillies items than usual.

“If there is a parade, we’re going to be right in the center of things,” Michael said. “We’re placing orders with our vendors next week on the chance they make it to the next round and even win that.”

Restaurant owners are forward-thinking, too, tentatively beefing up staffing on days the Phillies might play and making early preparations for championship celebrations — all without jinxing their beloved teams.

The exhaustion of such celebrations, they said, would be worth it — for both the uptick in sales and the excitement it would inject into the city.

“It makes for some of the best days,” said Good Dog’s Garry, who recalled having to help bartend after attending the Phillies’ World Series victory in 2008. Normally, “New Year’s Day would be the busiest. The World Series and Super Bowl blow that out of the water.”

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