The Phillies are converting the space at Citizens Bank Park previously occupied by McFadden’s bar into an open-air beer garden with a bar and brick-oven pizzeria, a sports pub, and an adjacent 120-seat Shake Shack restaurant.
It is expected to be ready for the Phillies' home opener against the Atlanta Braves on March 28.
In a nostalgic touch, the team also has recovered the 19-foot Liberty Bell replica that topped the 700 level at Veterans Stadium and will place it outside the new area, named Pass and Stow after John Pass and John Stow, who recast the actual Liberty Bell in 1753. Pass and Stow’s entrance will be outside the Third Base Gate along Pattison Avenue.
Plans for such amenities have been in the works for several years, said Phillies executive vice president David Buck.
“We have a great ballpark,” Buck said of the stadium, which will enter its 16th season. “It just needs a refresh.”
Last year, the team opened the Yard, an interactive kids experience in right field, and Boardwalk Eats, a boardwalk-theme concession area in left field.
With the end of McFadden’s lease coming up, Buck said, the team decided to take back the space. “We wanted to control everything ourselves,” he said. “They did a fine job, but when you went into McFadden’s, you weren’t in the ballpark.”
With Pass and Stow, “you’re now in our home,” Buck said. “You can walk in and move back and forth freely” among the different areas.
McFadden’s allowed entry without a game ticket. Not so at Pass and Stow, which will be open two hours before the start of each home game, and will remain open until postgame. Shake Shack will be open during normal home game hours.
Aramark will operate the Pass and Stow concessions. The beer garden will be set up beneath a 30-by-50-foot pergola inside the gate, next to a stand called Foundry Pizza and a covered bar serving craft and draft beers. This open-air destination will span 11,500 square feet, seat 250 fans, and have ample standing room. Additional features include fire pits, TVs, and picnic tables.
Pass and Stow also will include a large building set behind two garage doors that will be open in nice weather. It will house a 7,000-square-foot, family-friendly sports pub with seating for 150 people, TVs, and a split-flap board, similar to Amtrak’s board at 30th Street Station, that shows game updates including balls and strikes. Oat Foundry, a Bridesburg company, is developing the board.
The Shake Shack will be the chain’s first full sit-down restaurant at a sports venue. Shake Shack will be adjacent to Pass and Stow and include TVs to catch game action.
Buck seemed particularly enthusiastic about the restored bell, which was the subject of research by the team.
Buck and James Trout, director of the marketing services and events for the Phillies, explained that this is one of two bells that were fixtures at Veterans Stadium.
One bell was installed for the 1971 stadium opening at the 400 level in center field and, with the animatronic mascots Phil and Phillis, were part of a display that rang after a Phillies player hit a home run. This bell, whose whereabouts the team said are now unknown, was the one hit by Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski off Burt Hooton in 1972. The entire display was dismantled in the late 1970s.
Buck and Trout said the bell that will be on display outside Pass and Stow was installed atop the Vet’s upper bowl over center field in 1983 as part of the team’s centennial celebration. In 2003, just before the stadium’s demolition, someone bought the bell. A Phillies employee tracked it down and bought it back, Buck said.
Numerous accounts published recently wrongly identify the bell that Luzinski hit, Buck and Trout said. Though it was a powerful shot that was still rising as it cleared the fence 408 feet from home plate and clanged the bell, the homer’s distinction in Phillies lore is significant more for its accuracy than for its distance.
The longest home run recorded at Veterans Stadium left the bat of the Pirates' Willie Stargell in 1971 as he clocked a Jim Bunning pitch into the 600 level in right field. A star marked the spot where it hit.