Chef Jose Vargas, who took over the landmark Fairmount bar Bridgid's in May, says his initial plan to retain its longtime look and feel did not work.

So this month, Vargas and his wife, Jennifer, have redone it as Paseo Tapas Bar (24th and Meredith Streets), lightly redecorating and opening the tapas bar that they have always talked about. They've gone the cozy-candle route, taking advantage of the fireplace. (The couple have opened and closed a series of restaurants, including Southern Belle in Jenkintown and Erdenheim and Leila's in Jenkintown. They also operate a Jenkintown brewpub with a microscopic one-half-barrel brewhouse called Leila's Liquid Project, at 307 York Rd.)

Paseo's 18 wines by the glass lean toward Spaniards, and the food has elements of Dominican with Spanish and Latin mixed in.

Menu includes cheeses and charcuterie; tapas such as escargots, sausage, croquettes, dates, octopus, and mussels; vegetables; and various rice dishes. Cocktails fill the drink list, which also includes a modest wine selection and 10 beers on draft.

Hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

The changeover is the second major restaurant flip in Fairmount this year, following Rembrandt's reconfiguration as Frankie Ann's Bar & Grill.

Longtime owner Chris Ryan sold Bridgid's earlier this year. Under his ownership, and with chef Michel Notredame in the kitchen, Bridgid's became a destination for Belgian beers and food.

Paseo Tapas Bar at 24th and Meredith Streets.
ELIZABETH EINHORN
Paseo Tapas Bar at 24th and Meredith Streets.