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Root Has Been Reborn as R&D, Fishtown's Newest Cocktail Bar


A classic Floradora (gin, raspberry, lemon, ginger, & club soda)

Root Restaurant & Wine Bar, formerly Fishtown's premier spot for hard-to-find wines, has found a new life in its same space as R&D, a dark, sultry cocktail bar.

When Root closed up shop in August for a "break," it seemed like a simple case of owners Greg Root and Nick Kennedy needing some time off, but it was recently revealed that the restaurant would make a full switch to a speakeasy-style cocktail bar, which will be headed up by Aaron Deary (who also created the cocktail menu at Suraya). The name, which typically refers to "research and development," handily doubles as a reference to Root and Deary's last names.


A new take on a Rattlesnake, La Serpiente (reposado tequila, sherry, tamarind amaro, lemon, & egg white)

The cocktail menu, which will rotate every three months, pairs up traditional classics like milk punches and daiquiris with innovative twists on those essential cocktails, complete with stunning illustrations of drinks and glassware — for example, paired with a classic Bijou (gin, green chartreuse, house vermouth blend, orange bitters) is an original whiskey cocktail called the Savage Beauty (Irish whiskey, Old Tom gin, dry vermouth, alpine liqueur, pine & peat), allowing guests to try the new and old cocktails back to back if they so please.


A classic Bijou (gin, green chartreuse, house vermouth blend, & orange bitters)

The food menu has been pared down from Root's previous offerings, but you can still snack on selections from Chef Mike Joyce like pickle plates, a selection of meats and cheeses, togarashi-spiced popcorn, and, likely as a nod to their sister restaurant Suraya, spreads like labne and hummus as you sip your cocktail. They'll also still offer rotating wines by the glass and a few rotating beers, and keeping Root's history in mind, the wines and beers they find are sure to be unique varietals.

"Although we are taking every precaution to produce the best drinks we can, R&D is first and foremost a neighborhood bar for the people of Fishtown and Philly — a place to relax, to converse, and connect. As always with our sister establishments (Suraya, Cafe la Maude), hospitality is key; it’s what I grew up with in Ireland in my Grandmother's bar, and it’s something I’m very proud of and expect of my team," says Deary. "I’d also like to add that without my team none of this can be done. I have a very dedicated and talented group of individuals who have worked tirelessly (along with having other jobs) to make R&D what it is."

R&D will be open Wednesdays through Mondays from 6 PM - 1 AM and closed on Tuesdays, with Mondays dedicated to exclusively industry guests (if you work in the industry, bring a pay stub, card, or any proof of employment and enjoy 20% off). Philadelphia's next great cocktail bar is here, so stop by the former Root space and explore Root and Deary's brand new concept.

Photos via Drink Philly

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