This just popped into our Inbox from the Morgan’s Pier team:
“We can’t believe it’s almost here! Our doors re-open TODAY at 4pm, and the kitchen fires up at 5, with some exciting new additions and some old summer favorites.
Dave P of Making Time will be kicking-off our entertainment season in a BIG way with a FREE DJ set of futuristic sounds for your ears from 10pm-2am! We’ve also got a weekend of incredible DJ’s lined up like Harvard Bass, Liv Spencer + Prince Language. See the full list here and click here to RSVP for FREE admission to this Friday & Saturday’s shows!
Keep the dance vibes going all summer with local DJs every weeknight, and DJs from across the globe every weekend—like Simian Mobile Disco, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and Dimitri From Paris.
Throughout the season, our buds over at R5 Productions are pulling out all the stops with FREE shows every Wednesday Night—including some heavy-hitters like Cold Cave, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and We Were Promised Jetpacks—from June 5th-August 28th.
This year, we’ll have a picnic menu, with all items around $10, that’s foodie, vegan, veggie, kid, omnivore—you name it—friendly. This menu is served in our Picnic Area. Although we won’t be taking reservations for this section, with 300 seats, there should be plenty of room for all.
In addition to the picnic options, there’s also a $30 fixed price menu, served exclusively in the elevated Dining Area. Space is limited so we encourage you to make your reservations here.
You can always find our upcoming events, specials and information at MorgansPier.com and for our nightly dinner specials & updates as they happen keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Can’t wait to see you at the Pier!
Man, oh man. We’d been checking in on the site to see what kind of shows and schedule they were booking, but we weren’t expecting this kind of fullness. Not gonna lie: In reading the hours of operation—and by that, we guess, they mainly mean when the kitchen’s open, not how late they’ll be serving drinks—it’s gonna be a service industry summer at the Pier. The picnic menu’s available from 5 to 11pm Sunday through Thursday and only 5 to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Things I can’t wait to put in my mouth from that menu: Smoky Party Wings; honey + chili glaze ($7.50), Blistered Shishito Peppers; ranch dressing + lemon wedge ($7.00), BBQ Pulled Mushroom Buns; house tofu + cucumber salad ($6.50), Really Good Fries; spicy salt + daily aioli (Side $3.00/Basket $7.00), Poached Lobster & Bibb; green goddess + brioche crumbs ($10.00), White Fish Salad Sammie; baby arugula + pickled red onion ($8.00), Slow Roasted Bacon Sammie; pickled cabbage + spicy mustard ($7.50).
Oh, and the talent. A handful of shows that made our eyes bug: a Classixx DJ set on Friday, June 14th ($5.00), a Cold Cave show a few days later on Wednesday, June 19th (free), then a Simian Mobile Disco DJ set on Saturday, the 22nd ($5.00), and OMG a Small Black free show on Wednesday, June 26th, and DAMN a James Murphy DJ set on the weekend of July 4th ($10.00) on Saturday night, the 6th). There’s obviously a ton more booked, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg and the tip that’s closest to May.
Check out this cool lil’ mini-short doc about DFA records to get excited for James Murphy to visit our little pier on Columbus Ave.
For the past two nights, we’ve indulged in the grand re-opening of a South Philly institution, The Dolphin, at Broad and Tasker. You know, the formerly-divey bar with the big sign out front that had notoriously atypical strippers and billiards. Well, it’s hip again thanks to those Four Corners management dudes responsible for Union Transfer and Morgan’s Pier. And that’s right, we went opening night and the following night. Just makin’ sure that whiskey’s still good – quality control.
1. Let’s start from the very beginning. We’re not mad at the bike parking situation – there are lots of signs and bike racks to lock up to. And one sweet young lady actually saw me walking my bike on the sidewalk as she came crossed Tasker and said ‘You look like you need a place to lock up.’ No cover, which is tight, and that door dude is legit; long gray hair, leather, cap of manliness and that slightly grizzled look that, say, that English mirage that Wayne has in Wayne’s World 2. We will not be fucking with him. Ever.
2. There are a couple city bartenders from places we’ve known and loved who’ve made the jump, and that’s part of the reason why we went. Let’s call her Murph, who’s been slinging drinks at Woody’s and Voyeur (and the Institute) for what feels like forever got pinballed around that narrow oval of a bar on Wednesday night. No time for chit chat, which we usually enjoy; she had people waving money at her for hours straight. Matt’s a beloved face at Kraftwork and the P.O.P.E. and he closed down the eastern half of the bar last night with a smile and a shine in his eyes. Good people.
3. Yes, there are dancers. But whereas we’ve heard in the past that Dolphin girls have worn just an X of electrical tape to cover nips, the ladies on opening night wore slightly bizarro opaque sparkly unitards. Like gymnasts on acid with The Fifth Element-like Mila Jovovich wigs. There are simple, cleared card tables on each end of the vaguely figure eight-shaped bar that ladies dance artistically, a little oddly and seductively. But it’s not slutty or even all that graphically sexy. On Thursday night they wore unicorn head masks with more traditionally-revealing and naughty-girdled night nurse whites. More of the latter, please.
4. There isn’t a ton that appears drastically different in terms of the physical space. As a patron who never stepped into the original gangster space, hearsay reports that they took down cobwebby chandeliers and removed an old-school floor-lit dancefloor (think Saturday Night Fever) and put that weird LED-ness up on the walls. Some cool metal lattice-work separates the front bar from the dance floor which was extended to usurp the pool table space. Wood paneling still lines the walls with big, bulbous rainbow brite string lights running along the ‘architectural detail’ of a weird shelf-like box that burps out of the wall eight feet from the floor. However, perhaps most importantly, it looks like the bathrooms have gotten a necessary facelift – clean, fresh new tiling, functioning urinals and a stall door that locks.
5. The music is one of the main attractions. It’s a DJ-heavy affair with Dave P and Sean Agnew plugging in talent on the decks. The music’s that ideal kind of electronic dance and house music that’s highly listenable at 1am when you’re seven servings deep. It’s reminiscent, naturally, of parties like Snacks and Making Time but without the indoor cigarette smoking. Philadelphians looking to get their ecstasy-fueled rave on have found a new goldmine. The surprisingly large dancefloor must accommodate at least 150-200 party boys and girls.
6. The argument has to be made: This is a well-calculated and strategic cash grab at the hordes of hipsters living in a ten-block radius of this new giant in night life. And you know what? Can you actually hate? This place is like a bigger and better Barbary smack dab in the heart of South Philly’s tattooed, smoking, leather-wearing masses. There’s nothing quite like it even remotely close. This summer those bartenders and this company are, in all likelihood, going to be hoovering hipster dollars into their pockets and bank accounts.
7. Not gonna lie to you, Wednesday was super-packed and a bit patience-testing to get a drink. And that’s fine! But folks came OUT for the opening night and that can only be a good sign. We’d like to assume that the rest of the Dolphin’s SoPhil residency won’t be so bombarded by sheer numbers. Thursday’s crowd was already thinner. And less bro-y; yeah, there were moments of the opening night that felt a little Old City-like.
8. We even got to chat with Sean Agnew, who shared the vision of the place – a chill beer and cocktail lounge until 10pm, when it turns into a great and lively dance destination with DJs lined up six nights a week. Doesn’t seem like there’s any food, just liquids, and a pretty simple program of cans, drafts, shots, and cocktails.
9. The crowd hanging around outside the entrance inhabits a large swath of Broad Street sidewalk. Smokers and drunks are going to be an endless source of entertainment to longtime residents and South Philadelphia generationals. It’s hard not to deny that they look like a bunch of hipsters – or just young people trying to look hip. These are not derogatory observations. It’ just clear that the Dolphin’s going to color the neighborhood in new ways, for better or worse.
10. This shit is exciting.
On Monday morning, another big announcement happened with a Michael Nutter photo op: Philadelphia Live Arts and Philly Fringe are combining efforts, solidifying a headquarters, expanding their scope, renovating a new space, and as Emily Guendelsberger put it, thankfully, shortening their combined names into FringeArts. This is big news. Not only is the nature of Philly Fringe and Live Arts morphing before our eyes into something bigger and better, they’re carving out a space for themselves across from the beautiful new Race Street Pier underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge. It’s going to be a massive space with multi-functioning spaces and a BAR. Oh, and public restrooms that’ll be open to the public all-year-round.
Take it from the horse’s mouth via their press release:
“Our future home is located across the street from Race Street Pier at the corner of Race Street and Columbus Boulevard. The 1903 historic former pumping station will be transformed into a year-round center for contemporary performing and visual arts; the 10,000-square-foot building will feature:
+ 240-seat Theater
+ Restaurant and Bar
+ Outdoor Plaza
+ Permanent Festival Hub
Programming under the new FringeArts banner will expand to include not only the annual 16-day Festival but also a year-round series of high-quality contemporary dance, theater and music performances both local and international; commissioned public art installations; and a residency program that continues to expand and grow as a state-of-the-art incubator for artists.”
As noted in Emily’s post, there might be a teeny, tiny problem – train and car traffic and the resulting noise. She said that even with a mic, when a NJ Transit train passed by, it’s all you could hear. But that’s outside. Even though an outdoor performance space sounds cool, you’ve gotta be crafty about what you do and when you do it. The theater sounds totally rad, though. We won’t say no to these kinds of things filling up our city.
With Morgan’s Pier, that damned beautiful Pier and Sugar House and all that, it looks like the city’s actually trying really hard to make that waterfront a thing. And while there’s plenty of room for improvement, they’re getting there. Like, can we do something with that monstrous Dave and Busters? Can we connect Old City more seamlessly with these new waterfront attractions? We gotta try.
With Third Ward and the looming reno and reuse of The Dolphin, it really feels like this city’s on the cusp of an explosion of art. With Union Transfer, we’re becoming a city with a world-class diversity of spaces. It’s happening, you guys!
There’s one other thing. Does Philly have enough actual art and artists to keep these enterprises humming? Maybe all this means that talent, voices, thoughts and art’ll be looking at our city with a keener eye; Philly has the resources and the spaces to facilitate every kind of show that can be dreamed up.