(construction is moving so fast at 739 Franklin that this week-old photo of their bar in skeletal rebar form is already hopelessly outdated)
A week or so ago, ILFA sat down with the owners of 739 Franklin, a new bar, restaurant, and event space on the most rapidly-developing block of the Avenue (between Park and Sterling), to hear about their vision for the place. The brainchild of co-owners Glenn and Arianna DeRoche and manager Daniel Rico, the "bar and lounge" will ideally be a laid-back, friendly spot, "a place to take a break" according to Rico.
Laid back, but with some unique creative touches: Mr. DeRoche, trained as an architect, designed the space with partners from his past life, and it should be an interesting one. Features will include custom furniture made with reclaimed wood from barns in Maine and the Maritime Provinces of Canada, exposed brick and similarly weathered wood paneling on the walls, and a 500-bulb light installation inspired by a Jeff Wall photograph. DeRoche is quick to add that only a few of those bulbs will actually be lit, as sustainability is another organizing principle for 739. Along with the reclaimed wood, the bar will sport organic beers and wines, energy-efficient fixtures and appliances, and produce from an organic farm in Vermont on the menu. That menu, perhaps best described as "bar food beyond the fryer," is in development in collaboration with a Parisian chef, and will feature small bites as well as sandwiches and panini. They're also hoping to partner with well-liked brunch spots around the city to host catered Sunday brunches that will bring, according to DeRoche, the "best of the city" to Franklin Avenue.
The space itself is surprisingly large, with a comfortable front room where the bar is located and a spacious, well-lit back room that DeRoche and Rico hope to use as an events space for everything from "Movie Mondays" (a projector is being installed) to live music, readings, and open mics. They'll also make the walls available as a gallery space for local artists and curators if there is interest. While, like any new business, they can't be exactly sure when they'll open, they're aiming for October at the moment, and they will be hiring locally, so be on the lookout for their "help wanted" sign. Until then, stop in whenever they're working - they're a friendly bunch and they're taking suggestions.