First Look: Bar Oliver

Photograph by Katherine Bish

1135 S. Big Bend
Brentwood/Maplewood/Richmond Heights
Dinner only, Tue–Sat

One look at the roughed-up, paint-chipped sign reading “Bar Oliver,” and even I—the one-eye-always-wandering master of the Big Bend cross-town commute who never misses a “Coming Soon” banner—thought, “Jeez, how long has that been there?” Turns out Richmond Heights’ newest restaurant opened in late April. That “old” sign is brand-new, the result of Oliver “Bud” Starr’s latest transformation of his wine-tasting/private-party/public-restaurant space, a room originally built solely for hosting pharmaceutical-company wine dinners (not as exciting as it may sound). This time, though, Starr has hit a niche, pulling off a successful riff on Bar Louie, a place where nonsmoking adults can hang, where every chair is comfortable, and where the menu was compiled using successful specials from the room’s other iterations: items like pinot noir salmon, pheasant wraps, and a superb four-cheese strip-steak pizza. Bar Oliver’s wine selection is as big as Starr’s wine store, literally steps away. Where else in town can you navigate such a wine list…on foot?

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