The building housing Bistro Romano an Italian restaurant Philadelphia has a history all its own. Built in the early 1700′s, the building was originally the residence of a wealthy shipping merchant. Subsequently, it was a terminus on the underground railroad, then converted to a seed warehouse in 1914, and since 1973, has been home to the restaurant.
The open beam ceilings, hearth-brick walls and soft lighting make Bistro Romano’s bar and dining room a warm, informal setting for a friendly conversation, romantic rendezvous or business talk.
The bar in our upstairs lounge area has its own charm and is, quite literally, ship-shape. The bar was originally a fixture aboard the luxury liner City of Detroit III – a side wheel passenger steamer that was built in 1912 in Wyandotte, Michigan and operated by the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company.
In its day considered the finest inland passenger steamer afloat, it featured grand salons, staterooms, and a Gothic Room finished in hand-carved oak. The flowing form and luminous, jade green color of the bar capture the feel and endless expanse of the open ocean.
Besides the bar, midway on the gently curving stairway to the dining room, hangs a picture of a sea nymph. The painting graced the Forward Salon of the ship. As you sip your drink, you can almost hear the ship’s orchestra playing elegant waltzes and see the couples
dancing. The ship was dismantled in 1957 … but we’re happy to say that its remarkable bar and painting have survived, to grace Bistro Romano with its unusual beauty.
The unique Wine Cellar, located under the street and part of the former network of underground tunnels in Society Hill, is the perfect place for that romantic rendezvous.