Small Bar, a fixture on Park Boulevard in University Heights since 2009, has been shuttered since last week for a quick remodel. It’s currently scheduled to reopen on Thursday, February 28 with an expanded ownership team that now includes the principals behind Trust Restaurant Group, which recently opened Fort Oak in Mission Hills. The partnership is a continuation of the group’s investment into Park Boulevard says Wise, who with co-founder Steve Schwob also runs Trust Restaurant and Hundred Proof on the same main artery.
Wise says they’ll collaborate with Small Bar chef/owner Karen Barnett to retain its core culture, particularly the craft beer program that has distinguished the neighborhood bar. Besides a facelift to the bar’s facade and updates on the interior, changes include a reworked menu with new snacks and plates ranging from bar nuts and fried cauliflower to burgers and sandwiches. Several Small Bar classics will remain, including the wings, nachos, and the famous Liar’s Club Fuego Steak Melt.
Another enhancement is a transformation of the cocktail program under the leadership of Frank McGrath, the longtime manager of Adams Avenue’s esteemed Polite Provisions who will also be a partner at Small Bar. McGrath says his new menu of 16 cocktails and two punch bowls was designed to appeal to both dive bar drinkers and those seeking a more craft-centric experience. The list includes a Strawberry Daiquiri with strawberry-infused white rum, strawberry syrup, Aperol, and fresh lime, the Blood Red Summer which combines mezcal with house blood orange soda on tap, and the Sowing Season, a mix of herbal bitters, Suze, rye whiskey, fortified wine and banana. MGrath will also feature frequent chalkboard specials.
When asked to comment on the partnership, Barnett shared, “We will be celebrating 10 years of Small Bar in just a few months and I couldn’t be more humbled. I feel like we are forming a sort of dream team with Frankie and Brad joining me, and am excited for the next chapter.”