Bankroll, we hardly knew you. Major Center City investment goes on the auction block.
Bankroll, we hardly knew you. Major Center City investment goes on the auction block.JKRP Architects

Mims: Bankroll auction a shocker – can an upscale sports-centric restaurant make it in Philadelphia?

Was it behind the scenes turmoil or grandiose dreams that doomed the $25 million restaurant after only four months?

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that  Bankroll Philadelphia is planning to do an online sale of items that are part of the restaurant next month. According to reports, there is conversation that a new owner or group may purchase the venue.

This is astonishing considering this $25 million property just opened 4 months ago. The plan for Bankroll was to be an upscale restaurant with a sports betting component that would be an ideal place to watch sporting events and host parties. The initial reaction was receptive, and the facility was gaining appeal.

The site, formerly the iconic Boyd Theatre, has been transformed from a classic movie house to a high-end eatery/sports bar with multiple televisions and seating areas. A pre-opening, invitation-only party  was attended by guests that included SBC and BetMGM.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith hosted a private event there. I was able to go to Bankroll on opening night and  NFL Draft Night. I was impressed on both occasions and could not have envisioned the events that led up to yesterday’s announcement.

However, behind the scenes, there were some concerns that involved the direction of the venue. Those challenges led to prominent members of the team leaving and have proven detrimental and resulted in a recent furlough of the staff that remained.

The question is could the concept of a luxurious sport viewing venue work?

I think it could. Sports betting and sports are extremely popular in Philly and Bankroll's social environment and sports-centric setting did resonate. If I were to change anything, the restaurant would be more moderately priced. I would also make it a fun environment catering to a 30-and-up crowd with theme nights during the week when there are no major sporting events or live music on slow nights. Lastly, a name changes to give the location a fresh start. 

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