Doc Watson's (216 S. 11th St.), a fixture across from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital since 1971, is just weeks from final sale and a shutdown, during which it will be transformed into a veddy English pub called Sherlock's Tavern.
A partnership of Bob DeBolt, John Dunfee, and Greg Dodge -- they're behind Steve Gonzalez's soon-to-open pizza-wine bar Zavino at 13th and Sansom -- has bought the building from longtime owner Barry Sandrow.
The buyers expect to get the keys in January, and then work begins.
Among the touches: a new facade, and add a white marble-topped bar, lots of black and gold finishes, bookcases behind the bar.
DeBolt says they weren't even thinking about Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movie opening Christmas Day. They simply wanted to play off Arthur Conan Doyle.
Sandrow, who employed such luminaries as "Tex" Cobb and Dominick Irrera, ran Doc's from 1971 to 1997, when he sold it to an operator who was shut down in a notorious 2005 raid that discovered 100 underage drinkers stashed in a fourth-floor apartment. Sandrow sorted through the legal mess and reopened it in 2007 as the more proper Dr.Watson's.
Meanwhile, Sandrow says his last day has not been determined, as the deal awaits a sign-off by the Liquor Control Board.