Ambassador, a cocktail bar-restaurant, is due to open soon on the northeast corner of Seventh Street and Girard Avenue, a slice of lower North Philadelphia, near Tiffin and the Shrine of St. John Neumann, that is poised for residential development as the real estate action moves west from Kensington.

Ambassador, operated by veteran bar man Khalil Mir, replaces the Melrose, a onetime bar that was so rough it reputedly had a concrete bunker behind the bar to protect the staff. Mir, a partner in Roxborough’s Hilltown Tavern, has secured hundreds of distressed tin ceiling panels to clad the interior and exterior of Ambassador, which will have a timeworn look.

Speaking of timeworn: If you say “Ambassador” and “Seventh and Girard” to those of a certain age, they’ll think of blintzes and whitefish platters. The Ambassador was a kosher dairy restaurant on the southwest corner from the 1940s through 1975. Much more recently, “Ambassador” was the announced name of the bar that will replace Belgian Cafe at 21st and Green Streets in Fairmount. Fergus Carey, a partner in that venture, said he was searching for a different name now.

And speaking of Fairmount, Mir is planning to open a second Hilltown Tavern in a former barroom at 24th and Brown Streets.

Ambassador chef John Calvert, who spent nine years at R2L at Liberty Place, will execute an American menu for dinner and weekend brunch.

Stay tuned.

Old tin ceiling panels clad the walls at Ambassador, 635 W. Girard Ave.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Old tin ceiling panels clad the walls at Ambassador, 635 W. Girard Ave.