smoked whitefish

The Cloakroom
Dozens of cities have bars called The Cloakroom, but none quite like this.

Last year, the folks who brought you Bar Marco opened The Livermore—an East Liberty cocktail bar named for early 20th century stock trader Jesse L. Livermore. Now, in the next-door space vacant since Shadow Lounge closed last spring, those same folks are gearing up to open The Cloakroom.

But this won’t be an extension of The Livermore, or even your run-of-the-mill cocktail bar. Owner Bobby Fry is designing the space to act as a bar/event space hybrid which will be completely customizable and only open for planned events. But there’ll be no shortage of regular or public events at The Cloakroom.

“We’re planning on doing a Latin night with DJ Juan Diego, and with that we’ll be serving Puerto Rican food,” says The Livermore’s Joey Kennedy. “One of the nights, [local jazz trombonist] Hill Jordan will showcase his artists. We’re also going to be doing a live podcast on Wednesday afternoons.”

Fry and Thrill Mill founder Bobby Zappala will host the weekly podcast, called The GSD (Get S**t Done) Sessions, which will feature interviews with people who are doing cool things and bringing new ideas to Pittsburgh.

The Cloakroom is roughly twice the size of The Livermore and it will have an even larger bar. A new kitchen, currently under construction in the space between The Livermore and The Cloakroom, will serve both venues, and management is working on a master list of 100 cocktails, selections from which will be available at various events.

“We really want to bring the liveliness of east liberty in and have a place where everybody can go,” Kennedy says. “We’re really putting it in the hands of the artists and letting them make it what they think it should be.”

The Cloakroom will also function as a private event space, alleviating some of that traffic from Bar Marco’s second-floor venue, The Union Hall.

But why The Cloakroom?

“It’s where Jesse Livermore killed himself,” Fry says, referring to his bar’s namesake’s 1940 suicide in the cloakroom of Manhattan’s Sherry-Netherland Hotel.

The Queen’s Share
Maggie’s Farm Rum, whose distillery cocktail bar is quickly becoming one of the Strip District’s most popular weekend destinations, will release the first batch of its Queen’s Share rum with a party on Sunday, July 27.

Made from what distillers call the tails—the final third of a distilled spirit to exit the still—Maggie’s Farm will initially offer at least three varieties of finishes to the 125 proof rum, including one finished in a Four Roses bourbon barrel, one finished in a virgin oak barrel and a clean, unfinished version.

“It’s going to be kind of a specialty spirit because we can only make one batch every two months,” says Maggie’s Farm’s Moss Clark.

The party will occupy the 3200 block of Smallman Street in front of the distillery and include appearances from the PGH Taco Truck and the Mac & Gold truck, as well as live music from Graveyard Rockers and DJ Zombo.

Tickets to the event will be available through Showclix later this week.

Franktuary closing its Downtown location
After nearly a decade in the basement of Trinity Cathedral, Franktuary’s original location will close on July 23.

“The space, which is off the beaten path, has no direct access door and is poorly equipped to be a restaurant from just about any perspective; it seemed to set its aspiring restaurateurs up for near-immediate failure,” co-owner Tim Tobitsch wrote in a blog post on the restaurant’s website.

Franktuary, which opened in 2004 as Hot Dogma, will keep its food truck and Lawrenceville restaurant operational.

Oakland’s India Garden closes
India Garden, the Central Oakland restaurant popular for years among students for its late-night, half-price menu, has closed.

The restaurant was the subject of numerous health code violations last year, including employees smoking in the kitchen. Owner Didar Singh has put the building, the basement of which once housed bars like Spice Café and Pub I.G., up for sale with an asking price of $1.3 million.

Matthew Wein

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all...