It's been more than a year since Jose Garces signed a lease at the Old City landmark, but Old Original Bookbinder's is finally showing some signs of life. While one private event room within has been in use since last month, the Garces Group announced today that the bar and restaurant portion will soon re-open as The Olde Bar.
It sounds like the project has stayed true to its original plans to honor the traditional aspects of the restaurant while updating it to what the group is calling "a new interpretation of the classic oyster saloon." The remainder of the building is devoted to two private event spaces operated by Garces Events.
The Olde Bar will make its debut on Wednesday, December 31, with a $195-a-head New Year's Eve party. It will then officially open to the public "in early January." Once fully open, hours will be 4 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday, and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. No reservations will be accepted.
The focus of the menu will be a raw bar, alongside Garces' takes on fish house classics like fried clam bellies and crab cakes. And, of course, there will be snapper soup.
Behind the bar, Garces is touting "classic and innovative drink recipes that pay respect to Philadelphia lore and the oyster saloon's storied past." No exact word on what that might look like, but the cocktail program was drafted by nationally ubiquitous superstar mixologist Charlotte Voisey in partnership with Erich Weiss, a grandson of John M. Taxin, who owned Bookbinder's in its heyday.