Since Paris Bistro closed, there has been a certain je ne sais quoi missing in the Northwest dining scene. But with the opening of Bar Lizette, classic French bistro fare has returned.
Since Paris Bistro closed, there has been a certain je ne sais quoi missing in the Northwest dining scene. But with the opening of Bar Lizette, located at 7152 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy, classic French bistro fare has returned to the evening bar lineup, this time with its own unique accent.
Credit goes to Bar Lizette owner Rob Pelszynski, who took over Mount Airy Taproom in September 2019. With Bar Lizette, his second Mt. Airy venue, Pelszynski has done an outstanding job of creating an inviting neighborhood bistro in a space previously occupied by Tap & Terrier Gastropub and Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange. The decor now features deep reds and dark wood, with soft music offering an intimate vibe – clearly distinguishing this spot from the popular sports bar down the block, which is known for chicken wings and televisions blaring the game.
The menu includes classic French dishes like moules and frites, charcuterie, French onion soup, salad Nicoise, seared duck breast, and creme brulee. Chef Domenick McEnery, formerly of La Peg in Old City, is giving the menu an Alsatian accent, which incorporates German specialties such as chicken schnitzel with garlic aioli and fennel slaw on a pretzel bun. The menu also offers vegetarian options.
But where Bar Lizette really shines is in its list of inventive cocktails, top-shelf vodkas, tequilas, whiskeys, cognacs, wines, and draft beer and cider. Check out the Alsatian wines and brews, including Gewurztraminer wine and Kronenbourg on tap. Their crisp Wyndridge cider is a nice alternative, and the wine list is extensive.
Meanwhile, mixologist Austin Swank pours out concoctions named after a variety of flirty damsels: Lizette, Brigitte and Delphine. Swank and another bartender, Liz Aubry, as well as the manager Erin Croke, all relocated to Bar Lizette from the Blue Comet in Glenside. Locals may also recognize Aubry from her cocktail classes at Mt. Airy Learning Tree.
Rumor has it that the existing outdoor dining area is to be expanded, and live music may make a debut. Given the number of professional musicians in Mt. Airy, that would be a welcome addition. As for parking, it’s free on the Avenue after 6 p.m., and there’s a convenient public parking lot just up the street next to FitLife.
If the crowd that packed the bar last Wednesday and Thursday evening is any indication, Bar Lizette already has a following in just its second week. Perhaps that is due to the friendliness and professionalism of the staff, who welcome single patrons at the bar as warmly as couples and groups – or because you can actually have a conversation here without cupping your ear.
“Bar Lizette made me feel like I was in on a really good secret,” said Chestnut Hill resident Kim Welsh. “I’d go back for the warmth, the onion soup, and the creme brulee.”
Bars typically get a reputation for the type of crowd they attract, and Bar Lizette is no exception. It is already on its way to becoming an unofficial Mt. Airy hangout, representing the neighborhood’s diversity, energy, and community spirit. This is where friends can gather in a private booth or at the bar, and where strangers quickly become a part of the conversation, making everyone feel at home.
Bar Lizette provides a walkable dining spot for residents of nearby luxury condos and high-rise apartments, as well as a much-needed option for people going out for an evening performance by Quintessence Theatre Group at The Sedgwick across the street.
Ultimately, owner Pelszynski read the room correctly when he planned Bar Lizette. He saw a need for “an elevated yet approachable” eatery, he said, and this one delivers. All entrees are under $30, including a Lizette Burger at $15.
While the cuisine is decidedly French, the overall mood has the same relaxed “Cheers” ambiance Pelszynski created at Mount Airy Taproom, with none of the pretense associated with, say, Parc on Rittenhouse Square. You don’t go to Bar Lizette to pretend you’re in Paris. You go there to celebrate being in Mt. Airy.
Open Wed-Sun, 4 to 10 p.m. For more information, visit BarLizette.com.