Home Food + DrinkBars Owner of Fresco Da Franco is Opening a High-End Cocktail Lounge Next Door

Owner of Fresco Da Franco is Opening a High-End Cocktail Lounge Next Door

by Danielle Farina
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Here in Montclair, we dine like royalty — from high-end sushi spots to classy Italian eateries, our city fits a diverse world of food options into its (just over) six-square-mile border. Now, residents can drink like royalty too, with the arrival of a new, exclusive bar, Bar Franco. Owned + operated by Hollywood TV producer Franco Porporino, Bar Franco will sit adjacent to Franco’s other Montclair business, Fresco Da Franco — which, for ten years, has built a sturdy reputation as one of the town’s most beloved Italian restaurants. Bar Franco will boast the same sophistication + elegance as its sister spot, with a door person and velvet rope guarding the bar’s entrance, and a super secret basement speakeasy. The Church Street cocktail lounge will serve up specialty drinks and Italian tapas to bring an opulent, “New York vibe” to Montclair. Read on for what we know about Bar Franco, the new high-end bar coming to Montclair’s Church Street. 

(Photo Credit: Rachael Grochowski of RHG Architecture)

All About Bar Franco

Liquor licenses are pretty hard to come by in Montclair, but TV producer Franco Porporino managed to snag one for his premiere Italian restaurant, Fresco Da Franco, back in 2022. Per northjersey.com, The license Franco acquired can serve two adjacent properties, so, naturally, Franco endeavored to open another business next to his Church Street eatery — this time, an upscale cocktail lounge called Bar Franco. 

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Accordingly, Franco spent $300,000 designing Bar Franco with Rachael Grochowski of RHG Architecture to create a “bespoke aperitivo bar with a unique, opulent, old-world Harry Cipriani vibe.” In a quote to Barista Net, Franco said that everything — from the coasters to one-of-a-kind glassware — will be “something like you’ve never seen.” Word on the street is, the bartenders will be giving theatrical performances, too. We can’t begin to imagine what those performances might look like, but we’re excited to find out. 

On the menu will be specialty cocktails + Italian tapas crafted by an Italian mixology team. The drinks will fuse unconventional ingredients to bring a unique twist to beloved cocktails. We’re talking about some seriously unique concoctions, like a mule with coconut wine and a martini with green juniper and single malt whiskey. Cocktail prices will range from $20 to $25 each. 

Renderings of the space confirm that Bar Franco will be decorated with chandeliers and velvet chairs + couches to lounge on to evoke the grandeur of the Prohibition era — and apparently, its exclusivity. Franco told northjersey.com that guests will be greeted by a doorman and velvet rope upon entry. Some guests will be personally invited by Franco to explore the basement speakeasy, La Tana, which will be open exclusively on weekends to 150 members.

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Bar Franco will be located on Church Street, right next door to Fresco Da Franco, which is located at 15 Church Street. The spot is slated to open sometime this month, though a date has yet to be confirmed.

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