Opening a bar at 2658 E. Clearfield St. in Port Richmond would be the first business venture for long-time Philadelphia natives Dan Gannon and Anthony Cepparulo.
Gannon said he wasn’t even looking to open a restaurant or bar until he stumbled upon Clearfield Tavern while driving around the neighborhood almost two years ago.
“I walked into the bar to talk to the bartender and asked him whether the owner was interested in selling the place,” Gannon said, taking note of the bar’s exquisite antique features. Gannon gave his contact information to the bartender to pass on to the owner, and by the time he put his keys in the ignition to leave, his cell phone rang.
“The bartender must have called the owner and got right back to me,” Gannon said. They purchased the building soon after, about a year and a half ago, from the original owners, whose family previously owned and operated the bar since 1916. The building dates back to 1898, according to Gannon.
The new restaurant will be called “bar-room.” Gannon envisions an old fashioned, 1920s-30s era restaurant and bar that will feature many of the building’s original features.
Gannon presented his plans to community members at a PROPAC meeting last Thursday and received unanimous support. The next step is a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 11 at 9:30 a.m.
Gannon is currently in the process of refurbishing both the inside and outside of the property to create the illusion of customers walking into another time period.
“We want to restore the bar to its original splendor,” Gannon said.
In addition to the bar, there is also a dining room that seats about 30 customers.
“We’d have a very unique, authentic captivating space that utilizes a lot of the things that are already here,” Gannon said.
These original features include a gold tin ceiling, Tennessee pink marble that lines the bar and cherry wood fixtures. Gannon said he plans to strip and refurbish the entire bar, but retain its early 20th century feel.
“The goal is to create an experience,” Gannon said. “We’ll have jazz music playing, featuring artists like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, all that ragtime, blues and swing.”
Gannon said he hopes bar-room will serve local beer and attract local residents and employees.
This is one of the first bars of its kind to be brought to Port Richmond. Joe Shields, 37, of Thompson Street, said he is looking forward to a new bar and restaurant opening in the neighborhood.
“There’s not a lot of restaurants in Port Richmond,” said Shields, who was in attendance at the PROPAC meeting last Thursday. “It’s nice to see a lot of development coming up north to this area.”
There were no signs of opposition from neighbors who attended the meeting, who signed off on Gannon’s venture, granting him their seal of approval.
Shields said he is excited for bar-room to open and anticipates a successful future for the new business.
“I’ll be there opening night,” Shields said.
Gannon said he hopes the place will be ready to open by late summer.
“Anyone who knows Port Richmond knows the neighborhood could benefit from something like this,” he said. ••