As the sun sets on a cool evening and the tall buildings of Center City reflect the last of the sun, Lindsey Scannapieco turns from the skyline to the crowded deck behind her. Bok Bar, on the eighth floor of the former Bok Vocational School, is opening for the 2019 season and everybody wants to greet her and wish her well.
Scannapieco is the Managing Partner of Scout, a collective that purchased Bok in 2014 and re-purposed the vacant building. The bar was part of her grand vision, and it keeps getting better.
“This year, we’ve doubled the number of beers available, from 12 to 25,” says Scannapieco. “Many are local. We also serve over a dozen wines and have new non-alcoholic selections. Two of our drinks—Inspired Brews Kombucha and Two Robbers Hard Seltzer—are Bok Family offerings. Bok serves as the headquarters for the manufacturers.”
She shows off the Middle Eastern-inspired bar menu. Falafel, doner kebab, and watermelon kebab with mint, sumac and labneh are among the available items. “The spicy beef hand pie with harissa yogurt is my personal recommendation,” she says.
Away from the crowd, Donna Catalano has a drink with her daughter, Ashley Catalano–Leckerman. Generations of family members connect them to the building. Donna’s uncle taught woodworking at Bok, and her parents went to prom in the space now occupied by the bar.
“My great-grandmother operated the elevator here,” adds Ashley.
“This area has become eclectic and diverse, and this old building draws from that,” says Donna. “It’s refreshing and exciting to see the changes, and new things here every year.”
“Few cities offer something like this,” offers Matt Scheller, standing nearby. “The bar is a great adaptive reuse and preserves the original art deco design. The view is the best in Philadelphia. It’s a luxury to come here.”
As in previous years, Bok Bar is available as event space on Monday and Tuesday nights. Every second and fourth Tuesday, Bok offers Sunset Yoga on the rooftop for $15. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.
Bok Bar is open through September 27, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. It closes during inclement weather.
Though the bar is 21+ after 7 p.m., children and pets are welcome all day on Sunday.
Check out Bok’s schedule of free weekly tours and other events.