Rittenhouse Row’s culinary heyday may have come and gone, but recapturing its thrills is as easy as returning to the place where it all began: Le Bec-Fin. This time, however, instead of awaiting entry into Georges Perrier’s storied dining room for gustatory indulgence of the highest order, make your way down the short flight of stairs to Tryst Le Bar.
A somewhat hush-hush transformation of the former Le Bar Lyonnais over the past several months has resulted in a stylish, subtly sexy hideaway for spirits and French-inspired small plates. Graphic wall coverings in jewel-tone hues soften the bar’s metallic palette, while all around Louis XV ghost chairs patiently flank tables for two.
Cocktails are worth savoring—celebrating, even—thanks to expert craftsmanship equally rooted in history (the no-frills old fashioned) and originality (a whiskeybased Peach Smash, anyone?). Perrier admits that Tryst’s sophisticated tricks are indeed meant to woo a younger generation of clientele—“The old customers think the bar is very ‘in,’” he says—but this new venture is not about winning over first-time visitors, nor about dispelling rampant rumors that the chef was shuttering 1523 Walnut Street for good.
For Perrier, it is about staying a few steps ahead of the competition. “I have always been a very avant-garde man,” he says. “I know if you want to do well in this industry, you have to be in advance of everyone else.”