Once upon a time, back in the day in Philadelphia, the mention of a classic seafood restaurant in the city would mean you'd want to head to Old Original Bookbinders. This stately restaurant and bar began operation at 2nd and Walnut Streets in 1898, and it continued to please hungry folks visiting the city as well as locals for generations.
The food was delicious, the establishment warm and inviting. It's lobby held the world's largest lobster tank. And it was a lot of people's go-to place for celebratory meals and gatherings.
So many were heartbroken when the famed eatery closed its doors in 2009. But now, thanks to the energy and imagination of Chef Jose Garces and company, this place is set to start making memories once again as The Olde Bar.
Lobster was one of the features at Old Original Bookbinders, and it will be on the menu in various forms in the new establishment, as well — Photo courtesy of man pikin
When it began operating in the 19th century, Old Original Bookbinders focused on good food and drinks, and the restaurant offered up a great place for dining and camaraderie. Folks knew that for a classic and delicious meal in the city, you went to Old Original Bookbinders, and the place didn't disappoint – for more than 110 years.
Now, it's open again and operating under the official name The Olde Bar. Chef Jose Garces, along with cocktail developers and mixologists Erich Weiss and Charlotte Voisey, want to recreate the warm, welcome feel of yesterday here, yet also brighten and enliven the experience up a bit, savoring the old and welcoming in the new.
The menu here will focus on a raw bar and feature Garces' interpretations on items like fried clam bellies, crab cakes, fish and chips, lobster, New England clam chowder and snapper soup. Bar specials, historically inspired cocktails and happy hour delicacies abound, promising to make this place a tasty hotspot once again.
If you visit, be sure to check out the original woodwork, stained glass, banquettes, flooring, lighting and signage that are reminiscent of another era.
Vintage cocktails anyone? The Olde Bar will feature a great selection of them — Photo courtesy of Adrian Scottow
Also available at The Olde Bar are private event spaces in the Vessel Room and the Blackburn Room, which can seat hundreds for special occasions, weddings and other celebrations. Lobster boils, clambakes and other fun feasts will be able to be booked in the Commanders Room, so enjoying yourself with a few friends or many friends is easy, entertaining and bound to create memories.
Even if you never visited Old Original Bookbinders in its heyday and you're simply interested in seeing it now and creating memories of your own, then take the time to stop by for happy hour or book an event here, where the Olde is new again.