National dining and entertainment concept to replace The Hamilton Kitchen in downtown Allentown
A nationally acclaimed dining and entertainment concept will take the place of Hamilton Kitchen & Bar, one of the restaurants once seen as a linchpin to the dining scene in the revitalization of downtown Allentown.
City Center Investment Corp., which has overseen $1 billion worth of development in Allentown through a one-of-a-kind tax subsidy zone, and Sports & Social announced the change Wednesday.
Sports & Social, a division of Baltimore-based The Cordish Companies that also operates Xfinity Live! and Live! Casino & Hotel in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, is scheduled to open in the spring at the corner of Seventh and Hamilton streets on the ground floor of the Two City Center office building.
Hamilton Kitchen & Bar, which has been in that space for seven years, is set to close at the end of the year.
Sports & Social’s portfolio of venues can be found at the front door of professional sports stadiums, high-profile entertainment and lifestyle districts, and casino resort destinations nationwide — including The Battery adjacent to Truist Park in Atlanta, Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Texas Live! in the Arlington Entertainment District and Live! Casino Pittsburgh.
Sports & Social Allentown will be the brand’s third Pennsylvania location.
“Attracting the national brand Sports & Social to downtown Allentown validates the amazing revitalization of this great city,” said Judy Borrelli, City Center’s chief operating officer. “We’re thrilled to turn this prime location over to the experts at Sports & Social and offer Allentown’s residents, professionals, and visitors a brand new and exciting experience.”
The 8,000-square-foot venue will feature live music and entertainment throughout the week and sports-watching experiences with its game-day Sports Watch activations.
The venue will have an LED display at its center, allowing guests to enjoy multiple games and sporting events. Sports & Social also plans to utilize the outdoor patio for al fresco dining.
“City Center is one of the premier real estate development companies in the country and we are honored to work with them to add downtown Allentown to our Sports & Social portfolio,” said Scott Steenrod, chief operating officer of Live! Dining & Entertainment. “Sports & Social is the perfect combination of incredible food, great entertainment and state-of-the-art sports viewing all in an upscale setting. While the concept has become one of the top places to gather around the country, we take great pride in ensuring that each location is specifically curated from the interior design to our menu selection and live music from regional and local acts.”
The interior and patio of the new Sports & Social in Allentown is being redesigned by Knauer Incorporated under the direction of Mark Knauer, who has created some of the country’s top destinations in dining, hospitality, and entertainment.
Prominent Knauer projects include Bourbon House in New Orleans, Westin Milwaukee hotel and Stella Van Buren steakhouse in Milwaukee, Le Colonial Vietnamese restaurants in Chicago and Houston, and Ocean Prime steak and seafood restaurants in Boston, Denver and Chicago.
“Whether you’re stopping by with your family before a game or concert at PPL Center, socializing with friends and colleagues after work, or simply seeking an energized setting to view your favorite televised sporting event, Sports & Social in downtown Allentown will deliver an unmatched first-class dining and entertainment experience,” said Jarrett Laubach, City Center’s director of leasing.
City Center officials said they plan to work with Sports & Social to ensure employees of The Hamilton are given first priority in hiring.
Sports & Social, which has a tagline of “raising the sports bar,” will join a diverse mix of downtown Allentown restaurants, which include other full-service spots such as Fegley’s Allentown Brew Works, Brü Daddy’s Brewing Co., blended by Brü Daddy’s, Tacos Y Tequila, Bell Hall and The Dime.
Sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, located in PPL Center, is temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
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