Review: Boxers PHL ‘Soft Open’

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Opening a new bar In Philadelphia is tough, opening a new gay bar in Philadelphia might be even tougher if you try doing it in an already bar saturated Gayborhood; But if you ask my opinion, which you technically are by reading this article, then I’d say Boxers PHL is here for the long run.

Walking into the bar for their “soft opening” on Thursday the first thing I was hit with was the smell of fresh paint. Is Boxers PHL ready to root themselves into the Gayborhood? Judging by the sizable crowd they drew in at 4:30, a full half-hour before the end of the technical workday, I’d say so.

I had to wait an extra minute or so to get my vodka cran., I figured I should order a “gay staple” to test the bartender, but I didn’t mind the wait, the distraction of 6 guys parading around in just red shorts was enough to distract me. Bartender Will Rayes, a cute Twunk (twink + hunk) was courteous and friendly. He quickly offered me some bar mix from a communal pitcher… I wonder if he hasn’t gotten the memo that gays don’t eat.

While waiting for my drink, I took a second to take in the decor and atmosphere. Fairly low-key and surprisingly well lit, the walls are covered with sepia-toned photos of sports players, whether these players are notably gay or not I can’t tell you, but they’re there pitching and catching. The music is “Gay” with never-ending steam of female pop star’s music videos playing on 3 of the 6 plasma screens, the other 3 are playing ESPN and ESPN 2.

My drink takes a little longer than I was hoping, but it’s only because Bartender Will and another bartender (whose name and phone number I wish I had gotten) are playfully squirting water guns at each other, and suddenly the wait (once again) seems okay.

The drink is “Woody’s Strong” and I sip it while checking out the crowd, nice integration of ages and genders, but time will surely segregate this bar into either a “venture inn” crowd or a “Friday at Icandy” crowd.

On my way out I checked out the upstairs bar briefly. Bartender Sean, taken and gay, told me not to quote him, but he says they’re hoping to have a grand opening within 2 weeks so keep an eye on PhillyGayCalendar for more news on that.

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