When Michael O'Halloran opened Bistro 7 as an Old City BYOB 11 years ago, he was very much in keeping with the times. Old City was newly emerging as a destination. "Jewel-box BYOB" was the catch phrase du jour. And "BYO" implied wine and nothing else.
Now the chef who staged at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA and served as chef at White Dog Cafe has overhauled his concept to catch up with today's times. Bistro 7 remains a BYO, but now O'Halloran encourages patrons to bring along beers or spirits, which they can combine with fresh, seasonal mixers sold on the menu. He's also replaced his ten-course tasting menu with small and share-able plates and two family-style meals for groups of two to four. He calls the new arrangement more "approachable."
As for the dining room redo, by his own admission, O'Halloran has removed the fussiness to create a more relaxed, natural space that encourages conversation. Have a look around in the gallery above.