GRAMERCY/MURRAY HILL—In a shrewd and likely necessary move, Jason and Joe Denton will close the eight-month-old upscale Italian restaurant, Bar Milano at the end of the year and transform it into an outpost of 'inoteca, their casual restaurant based dually in the West Village and on the Lower East Side. Jason tells us that the 'inoteca route is just "the right concept for the time," noting its casual menu and soft prices, as compared to what they tried to accomplish with Bar Milano. Bar Milano will close on 1/1/09, undergo a dress down, and open as an 'inoteca on or around February 1st.
But this isn't a total gut job at Bar Milano. According to Jason, the bar will stay, to be upgraded to a 'liquiri bar', and the booze program will expand. Look for additional cocktails ($10-13) and more wine. As for the dining room, they'll trade in the sleek marble for a more rustic aesthetic, adding in hard wood floors and wood tables and dropping the banquettes (matching their approach on Rivington and Ludlow).
From the Dentons' spokespeople, an official statement:
“Jason Denton and company of Bar Milano have decided to transform their northern Italian eatery into a new ‘inoteca and liquiri bar after the New Year. Bar Milano’s last day of operation will be December 31st.· All Bar Milano Coverage [~E~]
Already possessing a great space and a bustling bar scene, they aim to deliver casual Italian dining and great wine and spirits at a recession-friendly price point. Effective January 1st, the restaurant will close for a few weeks for minor renovations and to bring some of their staff up from the Lower East Side. They are excited about the change and look forward to bringing ‘inoteca to a new neighborhood.”
· Bar Milano [Official Site]