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Loch Bar, an upscale seafood restaurant, to open in the new Arthaus condos on South Broad Street

Facing the Kimmel Center and occupying the former site of Philadelphia International Records, the Baltimore-rooted restaurant will offer live music.

Atlas Restaurant Group founder Alex Smith (left) with Arthaus developer Carl Dranoff meeting in Arthaus' library during construction of Loch Bar, a bar-restaurant opening on the ground floor of Arthaus at Broad and Spruce Streets. The Kimmel Center is across the street.
Atlas Restaurant Group founder Alex Smith (left) with Arthaus developer Carl Dranoff meeting in Arthaus' library during construction of Loch Bar, a bar-restaurant opening on the ground floor of Arthaus at Broad and Spruce Streets. The Kimmel Center is across the street.Read moreMichael Klein / Staff

Loch Bar, a high-end seafood house based in Baltimore, plans to open this fall on the ground floor of the new Arthaus condominium building at Broad and Spruce Streets.

Loch Bar’s planned offering of live music nightly will play into the Avenue of the Arts leitmotif, as it faces the Kimmel Center across Broad Street and is on the former site of Philadelphia International Records, where producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff created the sound of Philadelphia in the 1960s and ’70s. The building was razed several years ago, making way for developer Carl Dranoff’s 47-story Arthaus, which opened last fall with 107 units.

Dranoff, the Philadelphia native who has developed a stretch of South Broad Street over the last 20 years, erected a display case in Arthaus’s lobby with curios paying tribute to Philly International.

» READ MORE: A look inside Arthaus condos

Loch Bar’s menu focuses on Mid-Atlantic-inspired seafood dishes, and the restaurant will have a large raw bar with at least a dozen varieties of oysters, 100-plus brown spirits, as well as beers and cocktails. It will open at 11 a.m. for lunch and its days will span happy hour, dinner, and late night, with 170 seats plus more than 50 seats outside on the wide sidewalks of both streets.

“From a price-point perspective, you can really go the gambit,” said Loch Bar founder Alexander Smith, who said the concept “offers an approachability, but also has a sophistication to it. You can come in and get a burger or you can come in and get a prime rib eye and a live lobster.”

He estimated dinner price tags of $75 to $85 per person plus alcohol, putting it squarely in line with many Center City destination restaurants.

The live music, which is offered during Sunday brunch, “has done a ton to drive traffic” at his other locations, Smith said.

Philadelphia is a new market for Smith, 38, who started in the food business while a student at the University of Delaware. He opened a Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop next to a movie theater in a downtown Baltimore building that his grandfather, a baker turned developer, was opening. Soon after, Smith added a deli, selling pizza and sandwiches, nearby.

His next move was fine dining under the name Atlas Restaurant Group.

As his grandfather is of Greek heritage, “I had an affinity for that cuisine,” he said. “We had a ton of restaurants in Baltimore that were essentially Greek-driven but not Greek fine dining — the gyro and souvlaki shops.” He traveled to see upscale Greek restaurants, including Estia in Center City Philadelphia, and in 2012 opened Ouzo Bay.

From then, Atlas’ growth has been swift and far-reaching: a Japanese concept, Azumi; a Maryland-style seafood restaurant, Choptank; an Italian chophouse, Tagliata; a gastropub with whiskey bar, The Bygone; a French steakhouse, Monarque; and a Latin restaurant, Maximón.

All told, he said he now owns 28 restaurants employing nearly 2,000 people in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Florida, and Texas, including the original deli. The ice cream parlor, also still open, would be the 29th property.

Smith said his company has grown organically and expanded with cash flow, for the most part taking over second-generation spaces, which are cheaper to retrofit than new spaces, like the one at Arthaus.

Philadelphia will be the fourth Loch Bar. The first opened in 2016 inside the Four Seasons Hotel overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Baton Raton, Fla., followed in 2018 with Houston opening in 2019.

Dranoff said he had been in talks with other restaurant operators, many of them corporate.

Atlas was the best fit, Dranoff said, because it reflected the family nature of his company, which he operates with his daughter, Julia. Smith runs Atlas with his brother, Eric, 32.

Smith said that although Philadelphia is much larger than Baltimore, it has a lot of similarities to Philadelphia. “That’s what attracted us to the market,” he said.

Dranoff has been building on South Broad since opening the Symphony House condo tower in 2003, which he followed up farther south with 777 South Broad and South Star Lofts.

» READ MORE: More South Broad construction on the way from Carl Dranoff

Arthaus, and by extension Loch Bar, lights up the last remaining dark corner of Broad and Spruce Streets after nightfall — a significant impact on a major downtown street. There’s the Kimmel Center on the southwest corner with its new Garces Trading Co. restaurant (and Volvér on the Spruce Street side), the Wilma Theater on the northeast corner, and Steak 48 steakhouse on the northwest corner. Smith said he enjoys the synergy with Steak 48, whose location in Houston’s River Oaks district is next to Loch Bar.

Steve Gartner and Adam Williamowsky of CBRE represented Atlas, while Jacob Cooper, Brittany Goldberg, and Jonathan Makar of MSC represented Dranoff. “While we have world-class local talent, it’s always rewarding when an out-of-town operation validates the Philadelphia restaurant scene,” Gartner said.

Dranoff calls Arthaus, a Bauhaus-inspired building by Philadelphia’s Eugene Kohn, “an architectural icon that is going to differentiate this corner and this whole district.”