Where will you be going for your next great meal or drink? Each week NEXT shares the latest news in local restaurant, bar and club openings.

There’s no stopping the friends that brought Pittsburgh the farm-to-table restaurant and wine bars, Bar Marco and Livermore. Justin Steel, Kevin Cox and Bobby Fry are opening two new soon-to-be hot spots.

The Wine Room opened the first weekend in March in the basement of Bar Marco in the Strip, a subterranean refuge that co-owner Bobby Fry calls “the sexiest room in the city.”

The idea revolves around the communal dining concept that allows small parties to mingle and make new friends with others at tables of ten. Bar Marco’s executive chef, Jamilka Borges, formerly of Legume, is working with Sarah Thomas, wine director, to put together unique four-course (6 p.m.) and 10-course (8 p.m.) seatings each week.

“The wines are all natural selections that are difficult for restaurants to source,” says Fry. “Seeing these girls work together and pull this off is really magical.”

Reservations are through ShowClix. Seatings are $55 and $125.

Fry and friends have also recently signed a lease on the former Shadow Lounge space in East Liberty where they plan to open a cocktail bar, an expansion of The Livermore.

we do property is remodeling the space, which was also the former home of Ava Lounge until it  moved out last year. A new tenant will be announced soon, says landlord Eve Picker.

As for Ava Lounge, good news. Justin Strong has teamed up with Jilly MacDowell, formerly of the Quiet Storm, to open Ava Cafe & Lounge, at 304 N. Craig St., Oakland. The café will be serving wraps, salads, vegan options and more Mondays through Fridays. Ava will open with nightly entertainment and events soon.

Butcher on Butler has hung its shingle at 5143 Butler Street formerly home to Foster’s Meats. Opened by former chef Michael Rado, the butcher shop will sell more than 40 kinds of sausage as well as beef sticks, brats and boudin.


Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...