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The Olde Bar: Garces revamps Bookbinder's

It's pretty much as you remember it, though more polished.

Old Original Bookbinder's, a Philadelphia institution for decades, is being revived at the hands of Jose Garces and crew.

On Friday, Jan. 9, the former bar reopens as The Olde Bar (125 Walnut St., 215-253-3777), a reinterpretation of an oyster saloon.

And it's pretty much as you remember it, though more polished: dimly lit, oldtime globe fixtures, tin ceiling, mirrors, red booths, shaded lighting on the tables, candles. "I look in all these booths, and I see my family," said Erich Weiss, who is in charge of the beverage program.

Weiss is the son of Sandy Taxin, part of the Taxin family that owned Old Original Bookbinder's from the 1940s till it closed amid bankruptcy in 2009.

Bookbinder's main dining room is now a banquet room that can handle 200 to 300 people; a side room can seat 40 for private dining.

Day to day, patrons will occupy the barroom for a raw bar serving such snacks ($6 to $20) as beef fat fries, snapper soup, fried belly clams, a bacon-studded New England clam chowder, and roll mops. Ever have a Golden Buck? Bookbinder's used to serve one - chef Mike Siegel's version tops Welsh rarebit with oxtail marmalade and a sunny-side-up egg.

Larger plates include a crabcake ($20), steamed clams ($14), and fish and chips ($18). Lobster is on the menu - steamed, Newburg and a roll. Menu is here.

Cocktails nod to the classics, with much rye, sherries, and champagne cocktails designed to pair with shellfish.

It's serving from 4 p.m. till late daily.