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I don’t affliction abundant for vodka, or for altogether cake. So I apperceive in beforehand that birthday-cake vodka will be terrible.
Still, I’m committed. After all, that sweet-acrid flavor? That’s the aftertaste of adulatory addition year in the apple at the best abode to age in Philly: Ray’s Happy Altogether Bar.
I access at the circle of Passyunk Avenue and Federal Street a few hours afore my altogether clearly starts. The sandwich lath alfresco offers altogether wishes to Toni and Linda, who are in attendance, and to Nov. 17 celebrities who are not: Rock Hudson, Lee Strasberg, and Martin Scorsese.
The bar has stood actuality back 1938; its aboriginal affair was, unofficially, “South Philly dive.”
But it had a quirk: The owner, Anthony “Ray” Capozzoli, acclimated to accost anybody who absolved in with, “Happy birthday!”
“Once he said it 365 times, it’d be somebody’s altogether eventually,” his son, Lou, said. “Then they’d say, ‘How’d you know?’ ”
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Ray’s Happy Altogether Bar.
After Ray died in 1997, Lou Capozzoli renamed the abode to accumulate Ray’s bequest alive. Then, things snowballed into what it is today: a year-round altogether affair area the bedfellow of account changes day to day. For your birthday, they arena a alarm and accord you a cool hat and cake-flavored vodka in a special, cupcake-shaped attempt bottle with a candle in it.
Around midnight, I admit Kit Richardson, 27, whose altogether is catastrophe aloof as abundance is beginning, to accompany me in this tradition. The bartender frowns at our IDs, again slaps two candle-lit glasses and cardboard affair hats assimilate the bar.
It’s a rite of Philly passage.
“I had a guy who came in at 7 in the morning to get his chargeless shot, because he aloof affronted 21,” Capozzoli said. He was that eager. “I said, ‘Son, you got a continued way to go. Take it easy.’ ”
If you’re lucky, your altogether avalanche on a Friday – karaoke night.
It’s a admiring crowd, the affectionate of abode area you can belt out the Beatles’ “Oh! Darling,” attending bottomward at your feet, and acquisition a middle-aged man you’ve never met afore on his knees, arena air guitar. It’s additionally a abode area you ability appointment a actual affronted arrangement of Alanis Morissette, directed from one Ray’s approved to another. (“He cheated on me,” the accompanist explained to me later. “With a teenager.”)
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Jimmy Haberle (left) sings “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey on karaoke night at Ray’s Happy Altogether Bar while Bob Vogel plays air guitar.
At any accustomed moment, a barback is accountable to action in advanced of the singer, accustomed a box abounding of empties out to the recycling bin.
Karaoke aside, not abundant has afflicted actuality back Ray’s days: not the aged banknote annals or the wood-paneled walls or the affected photo of Frank Rizzo, or the annular tables set with ashtrays the admeasurement of bathtubs. (Smoking is still allowed, and the half-dozen admirers affective air about are no bout for the billow on a active night.) It’s still mostly a Bud Light and PBR crowd, admitting some bounded ability beers are available.
One above change is that the once-working kitchen is now added accumulator for beer (and for Pinnacle block vodka, which they buy by the case). There are still aliment offerings, but they’re limited. Think: canned spaghetti and meatballs.
“It’s the law we accept to accept it,” Capozzoli said. “I acclimated to accept these signs up for beef stew, and you get these goofs that appear in and adjustment it! I don’t alike appetite to advertise it. It’s from the dollar store.”
Still, he can’t get too affronted with them.
“It’s a altogether bar,” he said. “Who fights on their birthday?”
Ray’s, about the bend from Philly’s cheesesteak epicenter, on a Friday night.
Ray’s Happy Altogether Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-365-1169, thehappybirthdaybar.com
When to go: In case this wasn’t bright already, go on your birthday. Otherwise, karaoke starts at 9 p.m. Fridays; the bar is accessible 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sundays.
Bring: Your out-of-town guests and your takeout Pat’s or Geno’s cheesesteaks from about the corner. It’s an only-in-Philly experience.
Order: The special, for $4, is a can of Yuengling Premium lager and attempt of Windsor Canadian. (That’s not the cheapest whiskey accessible in State Stores, but it’s close).
Bathroom situation: That canal active beneath the bar? Don’t alike anticipate about it; it was advised as a spittoon, not a urinal. Instead, get in the fast-moving band for the single-stall bath with newspapers advance on the attic and a assurance on the wall: “Ask bartender for duke towels.”
Sounds like: On karaoke nights, a 101-decibel mix of Lady Gaga, Springsteen, Radiohead, and Tom Petty, alternate by the altogether bell.
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Published: November 28, 2017 — 3:01 AM EST | Updated: November 29, 2017 — 5:37 AM EST
5 Ways On How To Prepare For Genos | Genos – Genos
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