Who says you can’t drink in church ... or in a bronze, brass and aluminum foundry ... or in a funeral home? Those are the previous incarnations of what is now the The Abbey on Butler Street, a new bar, coffee house and restaurant. After three years of preparation, The Abbey opened for business at the beginning of April.
The footprint of the indoor space is vast and cruciform. Underneath the vaulted ceilings are two bars, a dining room and a cozy-feeling coffee bar. Little nooks are tucked throughout, offering corners for quiet conversation. The decor is modern-meets-Old-England, with large windows, dark wood and several couches. A stained-glass window that hangs above the coffee bar is a reclaimed treasure from Construction Junction. Golden calligraphy of the lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody” wraps around the molding of the main hall. The 2,500-square-foot outdoor patio is complete with a fireplace, and its centerpiece is a decorative fountain. The Lawrenceville venue manages to be both cavernous and inviting, with a focus on retaining some of the charm of its previous lives.
The drink menu mirrors the space. “We want to keep it approachable and fun,” says bar manager Melissa Schafer. Wine is available by the glass and bottle, with a few offerings from Pittsburgh Winery. All the cocktails come with a reasonable $10 price tag. Most of the recipes riff on the classics, with a little added flair. The Alma de Jalisco and the Old Pal were refreshing, balanced and booze-forward. Plans are in the works to feature different cocktail menus at both bars. The front bar features 20 taps with local and national craft brews as well as PBR. The coffee shop is equipped with a nitro system and plans to dedicate two taps to beer as well for afternoon drinking.