August 12, 2015
Two years to the day that Sisters Nightclub closed its doors at what's now Franky Bradley's, the nightclub's former manager, Denise Cohen, has told PhillyVoice that she's readying a brand-new LGBT bar and restaurant.
Toasted Walnut Bar & Kitchen will open this fall at 1316 Walnut St., at what was formerly Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant. It's a two-floor, 3,800-square-foot "contemporary" space with three full-service bars and a culinary focus on "upscale bar food that's shareable," Cohen said. She cited variations of sliders and flatbreads as examples but said to definitely expect much more than the standard wings-and-chicken-tenders bar fare.
She also emphasized -- as many are probably wondering -- that Toasted Walnut will not be a lesbian bar in the traditional sense of the word, but will fill a void for those who felt a little aimless after Sisters shuttered in 2013.
"There’s no space for women right now, and we won’t be a lesbian bar -- but we will be there for everybody," she said. "There’s certainly plenty of places for [LGBT] people to go now. It’s not like the old days where women went to women’s bars and men went to men’s bars; it’s very mixed. People come together. So our entertainment will be geared toward women, but not exclusively. The programming will be a range of events.”
The plan is to turn the upstairs mezzanine into an events space for karaoke, comedy shows and dance parties. It will also host private parties, she said.
And the name? It's a nod to Walnut Street.
“I wanted the name to be unique and tie into the location, being on Walnut Street," she said. "But also being fun, that way you can think of yourself having dinner, dancing and singing karaoke there. So, it's like, ‘Let’s get toasted.' 'Where?' 'On Walnut.’"
The Toasted Walnut will also be the bar's signature cocktail, she added. Draft beer, meanwhile, will not immediately be available, but is planned for the future.
Cohen is currently seeking a chef. Those interested can find the listing here.