Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Alla Spina: Vetri's beer bar is alla-most ready

Want to dine on top of a fridge?

Alla Spina: Vetri's beer bar is alla-most ready

Alla Spina, the Italian beer pub fronted by Marc Vetri, Jeff Michaud and Jeff Benjamin, is targeting mid-February for its opening on Mount Vernon Street just west of Broad Street in the former Wilkie auto showroom. It's about 100 yards from their posher Osteria.

Michaud and the eatery's chef, Damon Menapace, gave me a walk-through today. Key detail to come: Befitting Alla Spina's translation as "on tap," there will be an elaborate industrial-strength, steampunk copper beer tower involving 20 kegs of beer plus 3 wines. (What is it with the kegged wines these days?)

Look closely at the photos, and over the 25-seat bar, you'll see an 8-top dining table placed atop the beer refrigeration system. Right now, a humble step ladder is your way up there. (And why would you want to dine on top of a refrigerator? Because you can.)

Also still to come is the work of artist David “Distort” Sol, who will spray graffiti on the walls, in keeping with the inner-city garage look. (Wags have been suggesting simply leaving the front door open one night.)

Michael Gruber Design, who also did the interiors of Osteria and Amis, said in a statement that the idea is to retain the feeling of an auto repair garage while using repurposed and sustainable materials. "Painted brick walls, skylights, and fire-scorched, cantilevered and floating ceilings reinforce the building’s history. A series of oversized glass aircraft hangar doors line one wall, magnifying the cool factor while visually blurring the line between inside and out. Dark satin hickory wood on other walls lends a modern contrast to the otherwise rugged interior."

The bar itself, not in yet, is a recycled composite of crushed glass beer bottles. There will be purposely mismatched lounge furniture, a Mondrian-like array of colored table tops, and ceramic wall tiles.

Michael Klein Philly.com
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at mklein@philly.com.

Michael Klein Philly.com
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