First Look: SRV, a Venetian Bacaro in the South End

The latest from the Coda team may open later this week
December 15, 2015
by Scott Kearnan

Cheers! There's a new Italian wine bar in town. 

Well, almost. Pending some final permits, SRV could open by the end of the week — that's according to Deirdre Auld, director of operations for the Coda Group (Canary Square, Coda and The Salty Pig) and one of last year's 30 Under 30 honorees. Auld isn't the only young hot shot involved. One of this year's nominees, Michael Lombardi, is co-exec chef at SRV. Along with Kevin O'Donnell, he'll concentrate on housemade pastas and small plates that are perfect for vino pairing — much in the style of a Venetian bacaro. Lombardi and O'Donnell previously worked together at Zeppelin in Umbria, then teamed up again at NYC's Del Posto, L'Office in Paris and, most recently, The Salty Pig. SRV (short for Serene Republic of Venice)  is the latest in their series of tag-teaming culinary adventures, and we have your first look at the interior below. It's simple, it's stylish and it's aiming to be your next South End social scene. 

569 Columbus Ave.; 617-536-9500

SRV seats about 98 in its main dining room, which gets plenty of light (thanks to a wall of tall windows). Come Spring, expect alfresco dining too. The rear of the restaurant is an enclosed courtyard with a back deck for 50, and cafe-style sidewalk seating for about 20 will be added to the Columbus Avenue side. There's also a private dining room, glimpsed through blue oversized shutters that are inspired by the weathered storm doors of an old Venetian home. 

A winged lion is the symbol of Venice, and so an embossed painting of the jungle's king greets guests at the entrance. The spirit of Venice informed many design flourishes, says Auld. For instance, hand-done Venetian plaster was used for all the walls — aside from the exposed brick, that is, which look perfectly gorgeous unadorned. 

The marble-topped bar seats about 20, but SRV wants to see you on your feet too. The space features drink rails so guests have a place to put their glass — or small plate, served from a traditional cicchetti station — while milling and mingling. That's in keeping with the spirit of a bacaro, says Lombardi, who wants to encourage the appropriate wine-bar social scene. Venice is also known for its hand-blown glass, so that's exactly what was used for the pendant lights that hang above the bar. 

"There's wrought iron everywhere in Venice," says Auld, who points out its use in many accents around the restaurant. There's the staircase rails, seen here, to the drink rails that line the walls. 

Ceramic planters provide a soft pop of green against the cool exposed brick. SRV's two rooms are actually within two separate buildings. A wall between them was demolished to connect the units. 

Cut-crystal decanter lights hang above tables in the main dining room — one of several design nods to the restaurant's wine-bar identity. 

openings preview