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Courtesy of Uptown Beer Garden

“Last year, I blacked out at one of these,” the man in line behind me, a 24-year-old in a crisp oxford shirt and khaki pants, tells his friend. “I don’t think I went to work the next day.”

I ask him to explain the allure. He shrugs: “It’s kind of frowned-upon to be drunk on a Tuesday.” But this is Wednesday, in Philly, in the summer. It is, in short, Center City Sips – and that, to a certain subset of students and young professionals, means pretty much anything goes.

It’s in search of this supposedly fun thing that I’ve ventured here, to the 1700 block of JFK Boulevard. It’s a bland and uninviting stretch of the city’s banking district most days of the year. But on nights like this, the juxtaposition of Uptown Beer Garden on one side of the street and the Chops at the Comcast Center plaza on the other have conspired to create a midweek, Sipsian vortex of pulsing bass and tipsy young professionals, a nightmare in pastel and khaki.

Uptown Beer Garden, on a busy night, turns the plaza outside the BNY Mellon Building into one big post-work party. This photograph is not representative of an actual Sips crowd.

I was born too old for this, I think as I join the Uptown line, already 50 people deep. Fifteen minutes later, my wrist wrapped in an orange paper bracelet, I’m permitted entry into a courtyard shaded by trees strung with twinkle lights. It would be an enchanting transformation of the corporate plaza outside the BNY Mellon Center were it not for the endless surge of people pushing past, beer-first,…