a.bar, the cocktail-bar companion to a.kitchen, is open at the northeast corner of 18th and Walnut Streets, off the lobby of the aka Rittenhouse Square.
a.bar replaces the longtime Kiehl's skin-care shop. It has at least one attribute that Kiehl's never had: Lighting up a corner of Rittenhouse Square after dark, something that the TD Bank and Anthropologie on the other corners do not do.
Keep in mind that a.bar is tiny - seating 40, including 18 at the pewtered-brass bar. Seven bar seats are set up in front of an oyster shucker.
Drink list (26 cocktails), wine list (75 percent whites and a magnum pour every day) and beer list (five on draft) are built around the menu, which is mostly of the raw-bar variety; dessert will be a homemade ice cream sandwich of the day. (The food will come out of a.kitchen's kitchen.)
Edward Asfour of Asfour Guzy, who also designed a.kitchen, has opted for a minimalist yet comfortable feel. The pewtered-brass bar is accented by stainless steel, and newly poured floors are of polished concrete. Furniture is white oak, stained dark blue. Swiss-made sound-absorbing ceiling is designed to suck up the din and make conversation possible over the soundtrack of blues, funk and reggae.
Hours are 3 p.m. to midnight daily (lunch is on the way later), and operator David Fields prices all oysters at $1.50 from 3 to 6 p.m.