Hopson predicted that some bars would close.
Mike Rothman, who sells professional liability insurance to doctors and lawyers, said higher drink taxes would make him reconsider entertaining clients in Philadelphia.
"It's getting very hard to justify doing that in the city," said Rothman, a former owner of Brownie's.
Across Second Street, Ruairi Curran, 19, was taking a smoke break when he learned about the proposed tax hike on cigarettes.
His reaction was mixed. "Smoking is bad," he said between puffs. But a higher tax, he added, would hurt his wallet.
When told that the revenue would go to fill a budget gap for the School District, Curran sided firmly against the tax hike. "I don't think that's right," he said. "They should manage their money better."
Paul Bartley, 22, who was smoking outside the Plough and the Stars bar and restaurant, offered some cigarettes from his native Ireland.
He said a pack there already costs the equivalent of $11 in the United States.
"Every year in the [national] budget, they put the tax up on alcohol and cigarettes," he said. "Every year."
Bartley said smokers in Ireland complain, but generally accept the reality.
"It's a filthy habit," he said.
Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or email@example.com, or follow @Robertmoran215 on Twitter.