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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Barstool Sports Bar opens in Philadelphia

Barstool Sports was fonuded by Dave Portnoy in 2003. PHOTOS: RYAN MAINS ’23

Barstool Sports chose Philadelphia for its second sports bar, Barstool Samson Street, which opened in Center City on March 18, about six miles from Hawk Hill.

While the New York-based company has one bar inside its Barstool-themed sportsbook located at Ameristar Black Hawk Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado, the new bar in Philly is its own entity. The Philly bar is located at 1213 Sansom St. in Washington Square West.   

Barstool Sports, a digital media company that focuses on sports and entertainment, began in 2003 as a small print publication distributed only in the Boston area. The paper moved to a digital format in 2007, and the company has since grown into one of the largest platforms in the sports and entertainment industry. Penn National Gaming purchased Barstool Sports in a $450 million deal in 2020.

College students from across the country intern for Barstool Sports, producing content for the company and running social media accounts about sports programs and entertainment at their respective institutions and cities. The accounts are directly affiliated with Barstool Sports, not the institutions. 

Vraj Thaker ’22, who previously ran the Barstool Saint Joe’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, said students who run the Barstool Joe’s account are not allowed to comment on anything Barstool related, which includes the bar.

Adam Smith, more popularly known as Barstool Smitty, has worked for Barstool since 2011. Smith is a sports blogger and podcaster and active on social media. With almost 200,000 followers on Twitter, Smith is known as Barstool’s “Philadelphia guy.” 

“[The bar opening is] extremely exciting,” Smith said. “Another great spot for the good people of Philadelphia to congregate before, during and after games. The more Barstool in the City of Brotherly Love, the better.”

Ian DeFabio, general manager of the new bar, said he couldn’t comment without company approval but pointed out the bar’s large, 10,000-square-foot space, formerly occupied by the Brick Wall Tavern, which closed during the pandemic. 

Barstool Samson Street has three different bars on the main floor area and televisions scattered throughout. Patrons were tuned into a Phillies game one early Thursday afternoon late last month. Downstairs is a large space that operates like a club during later hours. 

Upstairs, patrons can order typical bar food items such as wings, burgers and other sandwiches. The bar also offers a variety of draft beers, hard seltzers, wine and specialty cocktails.

Ethan Trainer ’23, a big sports fan and a Barstool follower, said he was excited to go before the bar even opened. 

“Even since high school, I followed them on social media, listened to podcasts and watched their YouTube videos,” Trainer said. “So it was pretty exciting when I heard that they were opening a bar in Philly.” 

Trainer said the bar lived up to his expectations. 

“It’s really cool,” Trainer said. “I was pretty amazed when I got in there, how big it was inside. There are three separate bars with dozens of TVs, so it is obviously a great place to watch sports and grab a drink.”

Thomas Griffin ’23 said he is waiting to head to Sansom Street to see an NBA playoff game. 

“I’m pretty excited to get over there. I don’t really have a big sports bar that I love to go to in Philly, and I’m definitely going to give this one a try,” Griffin said.

While clearly a place to watch sporting events, Smith said he believes the bar is much more than that.

“It’s also the premier place for an enjoyable night out,” Smith said. “The entire bar is upscale and it features VIP areas as well as a full downstairs that brings out the club atmosphere. It’s definitely not just a place to watch sports.”

The bar offers different deals during major sporting events, especially for Philadelphia sports. If you are looking for a night to attend the bar, keep your eyes open for specials during the 76ers playoff run.

Barstool Sansom Street is open from 4 p.m to 2 a.m. from Monday to Friday and 11- 2 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Patrons need to be 21 years or older to enter, even at earlier hours.

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