For two years, a lavishly appointed bar/restaurant on Second Street in Old City has been in the works behind a nondescript storefront.
Here, mere weeks before its opening, are the basic details of Ardiente (Spanish for "burning"):
Michael Sciore, who owns Philly's Latin radio stations known as La Mega, is putting the last touches on the Latin-Asian hybrid, decked out on two floors at 33 S. Second St.
There's a Buddakan-like vibe at work: high ceilings, dramatic down-lighting, drapery, wall coverings in various textures, and a top-flight sound system.
It won't be a nightclub, Sciore emphasizes.
The first floor focuses on a bar set up in front of an illuminated stained-glass window, which leads to a low-lit dining room on a platform.
Downstairs has plenty of lounge and private dining/event space.
I'll have more shortly on the menu and bar list, as well as the chef.
Opening is projected for later this month. Coming next door is an Insomnia Cookies shop.
This is one new glimmer of hope in Old City, still reeling from the temporary shutdowns of The Little Lion and Gina's 45 after the Chestnut Street fire on Feb. 18 (adding an unintentionally ironic twist to the "Ardiente" name).
In its soft-opening mode this week is Chez Ben, a French brasserie, and its stylish bar, M Brown's, on the ground floor of the newly rebranded Renaissance Philadelphia Hotel at Fourth and Chestnut Streets (the former Omni and later the Franklin Hotel); chef is Paras Shah, opening chef at Barcelona on East Passyunk Avenue.
Opening within a month will be Glory Beer Bar & Kitchen, at 126 Chestnut St. (the former Mad River), and next week should see yet another incarnation of Jolly's Dueling Piano Bar opening at 110 Chestnut St. (where Prime Stache was).