The small bar at 1330 Walnut Street has gone under a lot of changes and it’s changing again. It’s new name is ‘Level Up‘
It started as BoxerPHL in 2014, as part of the set of Boxers bars from NYC. With two successful locations in New York City (one in Chelsea and one in Hell’s Kitchen) owner Rob Hynds brought his bar to Philadelphia.
Years later, the New York bar owner sold the bar to locals Kenneth Lowe Jr and Keenan Skinner, making JocksPHL the only black-owned gay bar in Philadelphia.
While JocksPHL was operating they had their up and downs. In 2020, they were listed as one of the top black-owned gay bars in the country by GayCities.com.
But in 2021, they faced criticism of transphobia from their staff and patrons. From a letter in response, the owners said “For the past month, we have been in the process of creating a business re-branding strategy, which includes a gender-neutral name.” The owner said that they never liked the name JocksPHL and choose Level Up from a list received from friends and patrons.
And hence came the new name – Level Up Bar & Lounge.
The owner also mentioned there were more changes planned, but they are still currently working on them. So watch this space!