A cool neighborhood bar for Northern Liberties


One by one, Philly's dive bars are going by the wayside.

The woman who brought the Trestle Inn in the Callowhill Loft District from seedy to its current brown-liquor glory - Suzanne O'Brien - is working her magic on a second bar.

That would be Jerry's Bar, a onetime shot-and-a-beer hard by I-95 at Laurel and New Market Streets in Northern Liberties. (It's around the corner from the Piazza at Schmidt's.)

The whole place was basically disassembled brick by brick and put back together - a project best tackled by someone who knows construction and masonry: contractor and longtime Jerry's customer Bill Proud, whose scaffolding you'll see all around town on building repairs and restorations.

As owner, he is keeping a low profile, preferring to offer the spotlight to his daughter Christie Proud Bernstein and her husband, Ryan Bernstein. She's a stylist and longtime manager (N3rd), and he's a designer.

They're going for what they call a "refined neighborhood bar" approach. Chef is Marshall Green, formerly chef-owner of  the erstwhile nearby Cafe Estelle. General manager John McNamee formerly owned El Fuego.

The second floor has been cut in half to allow a balcony overlooking the downstairs bar.

Objects and furnishings that the Prouds have uncovered on job sites will figure prominently into the decor. The downstairs bar - a glorious slab of 3-inch marble from Independence Place atop of metal, with a chair rail fashioned from railings from the Divine Lorraine Hotel - will seat 22, Twelve beers will be on tap, and the lines will be run out of antique doors. Twelve wines by the glass. Six restrooms.

The original bar top from Jerry's will be installed in a barroom upstairs; there's a dining room upstairs that will seat about 25. They're hoping for outside dining as well as an outdoor area in a yard next door.

To give you a scope of how much work was performed: The basement was scooped out to raise the ceiling height.

Green says his bistro menu will cater to those who crave wings and a burger up to escargot and bouillabaisse.

Opening is due at the end of April.