Martini bar takes shape in Stroudsburg

MICHAEL SADOWSKI
Construction continues on a martini bar along Main Street on Tuesday.

Opening a restaurant is tough enough.

Two local builders are throwing in some extra degrees of difficulty when they plan to open a new bar and restaurant in Stroudsburg that's different from anything else in town. Plus, it's under the spectre of a bleak economy.

"We're taking our chances now," local builder and developer Bob Buff, who owns the property with partner Troy Nauman, said. "We realize that. We wish the economy was better, but we're still going through with this."

Buff said the under-construction, three-story building at 907 Main St. will feature an upscale martini bar on the first floor and commercial space on the second and third floors.

The bar, called Liquid, is touting "trendy drinks and tempting food," Buff said, and currently is scheduled to open in the fall.

Despite the economy, Buff said the bar will succeed because of the niche it fills in town.

While the downtown is famous — infamous? — for its nightspots that invite in the college crowd, Liquid plans to go after a more discriminating crowd.

"Unless the college kids have some pretty refined tastes, this probably won't be the place for them," Buff said. "We're not trying to price people out of the market, but this won't be a college hangout. We're targeting the 30-to-55 crowd."

For further proof, the menu isn't exactly what you'll find at college bars. Buff said it will be a tapas menu of food — small appetizers that constitute a full meal.

"Nothing against places like that, but this isn't a burger and hot wing place," Buff said.

Buff and Nauman received permission to destroy the formerly rundown building at the property years ago, and the borough then approved the building plans in August 2007.

It's another reclamation project the two have undertaken in the downtown.

In 2007, they refurbished the Kitson House — the site of the old nightclub The Hoop — at 745 Main St. The building now houses a Starbucks, a new pizza place at Marita's on the first floor.

On the second floor is office and residential space.

They've also torn down the old Bethlehem Sporting Goods store at Main and Eighth streets and rebuilt the Pure Day Spa in its place.

With a number of bars already in the downtown, Buff said there's room for one more because it will be so different from what's already there.

Plus, they already know locals who are looking for such a place.

"Troy and I have traveled out of town to places like this — far out of town — and we see people from the Poconos there," he said. "We just think there's definitely an opportunity for something different. There's nothing like this in the county right now."