"This is a gateway to East Liberty," says Bobby Fry, one of the owners of The Livermore. The newly opened bar makes an impressive entrance: Picture windows, capped with stained glass, flood light into the South Highland Avenue space, which formerly housed the Waffle Shop. Reclaimed bowling-alley lanes line the counter and bar.
The new venture bears the name of early 20th century Wall Street speculator Jesse L. Livermore, who won and lost a few fortunes before killing himself — a fate that inspired Fry to choose his own career path carefully. "Maybe if he had just opened a bar with his buddies, his life wouldn't have ended so tragically," Fry says.
The Livermore is, in fact, Fry's second venture with Justin Steel and Kevin Cox, who also own Bar Marco in the Strip District. Fry will oversee Livermore's bar alongside Sean Enright, who currently runs front-of-house at Bar Marco. The drink menu, leaner than its Bar Marco counterpart, features a mix of classics, spins and originals. Lighter drinks like Almost Home (sherry, a touch of Japanese whiskey and lavender-honey syrup) are typical refreshments, but daytime workers in search of a Mad Men-style business lunch won't go thirsty: Washington, D.C., bartender Derek Brown's "The Perfect Martini," for one, is on the menu.
"We decided we had to open up during the day," Fry says. "This [neighborhood] is the co-working mecca of Pittsburgh."
If you choose to tackle the day without booze, teas and fresh-squeezed juices are available, along with light refreshments, created by Steel along with Bar Marco executive chef Jamilka Borges.
By night, The Livermore serves as pre- and post-meal destination for aperitifs and nightcaps. "We're near Notion and Spoon, some of the best fine-dining restaurants in the city," Fry says.
"I know the whole story of this neighborhood: how it once was booming, and then its downfall in the '60s," he adds. "We want to help play a part in its restoration."