Skip to content

The Dolphin: Old Charm & New Sounds.

July 11, 2014

TheDolphinOnline03Text by Lissa Alicia. Images by Charles Shan Cerrone.

Upon entering The Dolphin Tavern, the 1960s nostalgia smacks you in the face. When Dave P, Sean Agnew and their partners at Four Corners Management scooped up the vacant venue, they made sure to stay true to its classic charm.

“One of the things that attracted us was how amazing of a space it was,” says Dave P. “The history isn’t just in the actual history of the space but in the architecture of the space, the design  of the space. It’s all been there forever. Nothing has been changed in so long.”

“Nothing changed” means the wood paneling crowned by glamour shots of the bar’s former go-go dancers still remain. Immortalized in black and white still shots, girls like Kerrick, June and Nancy­ Dee keep older, longtime patrons company.

“Some of the bartenders have developed relationships with these people because they come in two to three times a week, at least,” says Dave P.  “It’s really cool to see that happen.”

These guys are customers that have been coming to The Dolphin long before Dave P. and his team turned it into the low-key international DJ haven that it is today. The old heads that do still come around manage to leave before the young bucks come in to get their fill of synth.

“When we first opened, a lot of them came in,” says Dave P.  “They were really excited that we re­opened. Eventually, as time went on, they realized what was going on, what kind of music was being played there. I think that might have turned some people off.”

While the night is still young, the early bird 20­-somethings take advantage of half off everything, an everyday special that wraps up at 10 p.m. By that point, the opening DJ has started his or her set and someone has consumed the perfect amount of alcohol to enable them to awkwardly bask in the fact they are the first person on the dance floor. It isn’t long before the latest intercontinental DJ has the entire floor packed with a highly appreciative crowd.

“I really appreciate how The Dolphin books internationally-renowned, world-class techno and house DJs to Philadelphia, a town that is pressed to get such big talent,” says Yeho Bostick, a regular at The Dolphin.

The calendar at The Dolphin Tavern stays pretty open. The few regular events hosted by the bar like Rock Tits and Club Haus bring out a pretty good crowd. The venue’s most popular night is Sissy Hop, a LGBTQ-friendly dance party where the DJs spin classic funk and soul.

Although the old neighborhood guys leave hours before the last DJ hops on the table, the  decades­old charm is literally painted on the walls. Murals depict Hawaiian babes in coconut  bras and the Philly skyline prior to the William Penn curse. Colorful, potentially seizure inducing, light­-up walls rest perpendicular to the dancefloor. That, paired with some of the most  world­-renowned electronic music, creates one of the most unique venues that a person can go  to groove.

“That’s what drew me to it,” Dave P. says. “The charm of the space, its heritage and its place in Philly. It had been an institution in Philadelphia for so long. To be able to have a space like that and reinvent it was a great and pretty exciting opportunity. I knew that people would be excited about it if we did the right thing there.”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: