Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The tale of Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar and its origin is impossible to avoid, the story of founder and original owner Ray Capozzoli’s insistence on replacing “Hello” with “Happy Birthday” a piece of well-loved Philadelphia dive bar lore. Opened in 1938, the bar honors its birthday-themed tradition multiple times a night when the ringing of a bell behind the bar sparks a mass “Happy Birthday” response from the assembled crowd.

And just like Chuck E Cheese as a kid, there are perks for the birthday boys and girls, in this case a free Birthday Cake shot in a custom contraption complete with lit candle. Ray sadly passed away in 1997, son Lou the new owner of the bar who operates it with daughter Lou (not a typo). Photos of past regulars can be found on the walls throughout the space and maybe best of all, Ray’s opens at 7 AM most days (9 AM Sundays), making for an easy selection when the urge for a morning dive bar beer hits. Philadelphia tourists are drawn to nearby cheesesteak traps Pat’s & Geno’s, but Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar is the real destination in this part of Philadelphia.

SFG Note: This is a dive bar directory listing. We haven’t had the good fortune of visiting firsthand yet. When we do, you’ll get a great review. In the meantime, we’ve compiled information to help you make a choice on visiting.

The Basics

1200 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Neighborhood Bar



Further Reading

  • Passyunk Post
  • Philadelphia Inquirer
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