The opening of Philadelphia’s first new hotel in Old City’s Historic District in years is now quickly approaching, with the ribbon-cutting of The Hotel Monaco Philadelphia on Independence Mall slated for October 11 (everything will be open officially on October 4).
One of the most exciting aspects of the latest Kimpton property in Philadelphia (the Hotel Palomar near Rittenhouse Square opened in October 2009) is the dining.
The 268-room Hotel Monaco, which sits at 5th and Chestnut Streets on the southeastern corner of Independence Mall, will be home to two restaurants: Red Owl Tavern on the ground floor, and Stratus Rooftop Lounge on the rooftop. Both are scheduled to soft-open on October 4.
We got some insider intel about both spots; check out the lowdown below:
Red Owl Tavern
— Ground Floor
Elevator Pitch: Modern American tavern serving rustic, farm-fresh comfort food sourced from across the Philadelphia region.
Food: Hotel Palomar’s Square 1682 Executive Chef Guillermo Tellez will don the chef’s whites at Red Owl as well. He’ll serve a meat-heavy menu (think burgers, ribs, steaks, sausages) that takes dining back to the basics. He’ll also do a lot of pickling, house-made sauces and preserves.
Drinks: Just in time for the National Constitution Center’s American Spirits exhibition, the bar at Red Owl, situated along 5th Street, will mix up Prohibition-style cocktails, heavy on the whiskey.
Vibe: Reclaimed barn siding and white steel girders will lend Red Owl’s decor a rustic vibe. Think: a mix of Barbuzzo and Square Peg. The atmosphere will be cozy and comfortable.
Capacity: Red Owl seats 90 on two levels inside (there’s an indoor mezzanine above the ground floor) plus 24 outside along Chestnut and 5th streets.
Coveted Seat: There is going to be a 10-seat chef’s table next to the wine vault (the original bank vault in Philadelphia’s historic Lafayette Building), where Chef Tellez will serve a nightly rotating prix fixe menu, served family-style on a lazy susan. There will also be a beautifully outfitted private dining room (called the Shanghai Room) seating 25.
To-Go Counter: Red Owl Tavern will also include a to-go counter serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, think pastries, juice, yogurt. For lunch, think butcher-style gourmet deli sandwiches and salads, great for picnics on the Independence Mall lawn outside.
The View: With a dead-on view of the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall, Red Owl provides a side of beautiful views with your meal.
Fun fact: Philadelphia-centric desserts will be available at both the to-go counter and on the a la carte menu: whoopie pies, locally sourced apple pies, more.
Elevator Pitch: Sleek, cosmopolitan rooftop bar and lounge atop the Hotel Monaco.
Food: The focus here is on shareable snacks, great for happy hour and a night out on the town alike.
Drinks: Craft cocktails in the $8-14 range will be luxe, shaken up from an entirely different menu from Red Owl but designed by the same master mixologist. There will also be about six beers, 20-30 glasses of wine and more.
Vibe: The Stratus vibe will be chic, with major design features including two giant steel garage doors that separate the outdoor deck and indoor bar, an 18-foot locally grown Japanese Maple planted in the center of the space and a 30-foot glass fireplace lining the western wall (so it will be open year-round).
Coveted Seat: There are two enclosed pavilions, each seating about 25, with windows that overlook Independence Mall, and the city skyline, with dramatic views. Note: the rest of the rooftop, outside the pavilions, is open to the sky but does not overlook the street due to 12-foot walls framing the rooftop.
The View: See above.
Capacity: Stratus will accommodate 300 in the bar, pavilions and outdoor patio area.
Fun fact: Herbs grown on the Japanese Maple planted in the center of the space will be used in cocktails.
Hotel Monaco Philadelphia — Opening October 4, 2012! (Ribbon-cutting October 11)
Red Owl Tavern and Stratus Rooftop Lounge — Soft opening October 4
433 Chestnut Street