October 02, 2020
Philadelphia's original Continental restaurant, which opened in 1995, is closing its doors indefinitely, owner Stephen Starr announced.
The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar located at 138 Market St. is closing due to continued restrictions on indoor dining capacity triggered by the pandemic, Starr shared in a message posted on Instagram.
Starr confirmed the temporary closure to the Philadelphia Business Journal. He said that limits on indoor capacity were preventing the Continental Martini Bar from breaking even due to the already small size of the space.
It will be closed starting Saturday for the fall and winter seasons but not permanently, Starr said.
The Old City restaurant is known for its vintage charm. It preceded the opening of the Continental Midtown located in Center City, which launched in 2004.
"For 25 years, we have been a place where people have gathered for food and drink, laughs and celebrations, lunch, brunch and pre-theater meals," said Starr. "The silver diner with the rotating dice on the roof has become an iconic landmark on the corner of 2nd and Market. Some say it was the first craft cocktail bar, serving 40+ types of martinis."
View this post on Instagram
A message from @stephen.starr: “On October 3rd, we will be closing Continental Martini Bar for the fall and winter seasons. For 25 years, we have been a place where people have gathered for food and drink, laughs and celebrations, lunch, brunch and pre-theater meals. First dates, dinner dates and hookups. Birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. The silver diner with the rotating dice on the roof has become an iconic landmark on the corner of 2nd and Market. Some say it was the first craft cocktail bar, serving 40+ types of martinis. Its global tapas cuisine of shared plates started a new trend in dining. If the walls could talk, they would have incredible stories to tell. With only partial indoor occupancy allowable in the city, we believe this is the perfect time to close and reinvent this incredible spot. We know it has another life, another great purpose. The Continental holds sentimental value for many, including myself. So I assure you, that we will recreate it and reemerge with renewed energy and excitement.” #continentaloldcity #starrrestaurants
While closed, the Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar will reinvent itself. However, Starr promised to maintain the spirit of the place and recognized it holds "sentimental value for many."
The Continental Restaurant in Midtown is not affected by this closure and will remain open. Closure of the Old City restaurant comes approximately one month after the business celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Other local restaurants and other businesses also have felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, the clothing company Gap Inc. revealed it would be closing its Center City location.