Fans of Liam LaCivita's cooking when he was at Liberty Tavern won't find themselves in completely unfamiliar territory when visiting Bar Civita, his new Woodley Park restaurant opening next Tuesday.
Some familiar touches: a homemade cheese program, homemade sausages, breads and macaroni. There also will be hints at LaCivita's Pennsylvania upbringing, including a spin on Italian wedding soup with veal meatballs, and a veal breast and sweetbreads parmigiana. The restaurant will display 5-6 vegetable antipasti each day along a marble bar. Desserts will include plays on spumoni and tiramisu. "It's food that's recognizable, but done differently," he said.
An in-depth wine list will emphasize old world wines including Italian, French, German, Austrian and Spanish varietals, plus some Virginia wines. The beer program has 12 beers on tap, a mix of craft, imports, and easy drinking like LaCivita's beloved Miller High Life. "That's what I'll be having at the end of my shift," he said. The cocktail list will be riffs on Italian and American classics.
The space, formerly Irish bar Murphy's, has hints of the former tenant, including original tin ceilings left intact, an old wooden bar and a cozy fireplace that will be a focal point of the dining room. The building is from the 1930s and is decorated with original lithographs and prints from old books from the Brooklyn public library. There is seating for about 140 people including the bar area, dining room and patio.
Bar Civita will open first for dinner, and later add weekend brunch and eventually lunch service.