has opened in the Strip District after nearly 6 months of remodeling work in the former No. 7 Engine Co. building. The historic space has been transformed into a European-style wine bar and restaurant, with an emphasis on communal dining and a menu designed for sharing.
Bobby Fry, one of four co-owners, says the remodeling was done to bring the space back to its original beauty. Floor tiles have been removed, dry-wall torn down to reveal classic subway tile, and a drop ceiling has given way to an original tin installation from 1905.
The first floor's symmetrical design is intended to encourage conversation among strangers, and create a sense of comfort. A large bar seats five to six, and opposite, a drink rail lines the window facing Penn Avenue. In between are three large communal tables, with combined seating capacity at 40. All furniture was designed by co-owner Michael Kreha, and built in-house, with welding provided by Gray's Welding of Braddock, PA.
Bar Marco is the first dining project of four childhood friends--Justin Steel, Kevin Cox, Fry and Kreha. Each left various professional careers, coalescing in Pittsburgh around a shared passion for food and drink.
The menu, which Fry describes as European bar food, will change on a regular basis, but recently featured “snack” plates like patatas bravas, arancini, frico, and a duck BLT; and large entrees, also meant for sharing, such as chicken enchiladas, baked caponata, and ribeye with chimichurri.
Bar Marco offers a range of small production wines, and inventive mixed drinks, such as a tequila gimlet featuring house-made lime cordial, and the Bar Marco Manhattan, made with orange bitters.
The second floor, while still a work in progress, is used as an art gallery and private event space.
Bar Marco opens at 5 p.m. and is open late, serving their full menu until 2 a.m., Wednesday through Saturday. 2216 Penn Avenue, Strip District. 724-875-2738.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Bobby Fry