Restaurant veterans go out on their own with new French-inspired Bar Pigalle

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Two longtime members of the local hospitality and beverage industry are opening their own bar in early 2022. Inspired by the French neighborhood for which it's named, Brush Park's Bar Pigalle at the Carlton Lofts is expected to offer craft cocktails and food in a refined but relaxed setting. 

It's a nod to the city's and the neighborhood's French roots, says co-owner Travis Fourmont, an award-winning mixologist who has worked behind the scenes to develop many bar programs at restaurants around the city. He and a collaborator, certified sommelier Joseph Allerton, met a decade ago while working together at Michael Symon's Roast in Detroit. 

Mixologist Travis Fourmont, left and certified sommerlier Joseph Allerton will open France-inspired Bar Pigalle in a few months in Detroit's Brush Park area.

Two guys with backgrounds in fancy drinks who are opening a French bar in a building that houses expensive loft living could come off as pretentious, but Fourmont says they want to be approachable and laid back while offering high-quality food and great service. They want the drink offerings to be exclusive, not the vibe. 

"We want to be innovative, we want to showcase our skills and ability, but we also want to have some kind of old-school staples," said Fourmont. "That's a huge thing. French is so classic and so great, but a lot of people think about French, they think of fine dining ... where we want to have more that cocktail bar, brasserie kind of feel."

Cocktails and the wine list will be a major focus, but food will be no afterthought. They've enlisted chef Mike Conrad, who has worked in Michelin-accredited restaurants, to run the kitchen. "Nothing is off limits," Conrad says in the press release about Bar Pagille. "I'm pulling from the classics but I'm using everything I have in my toolbox to make it our own." 

Diners can expect staples like steak frites but also inventive and playful vegetarian dishes. 

Bar Pigalle and Carlton Lofts are in a historic, nearly 100-year-old building designed by Louis Kamper, who was known as the architect of "Detroit's Gilded Age." Allerton and Fourmont say the area was part of the city's jazz scene in the 1920s and '30s, and want that mood to carry over at Bar Pigalle.

A rendering of what the inside of Bar Pigalle is expected to look like inside. It's slated to open in early 2022 on the ground floor of the Carlton Lofts in Detroit's Brush Park.

They worked with designers Pink + Wooderson — they designed nearby Grey Ghost and Second Best — to create the interior look. A released rendering shows a glamorous and welcoming dining room with an expertly lit and well-stocked bar as the focal point. 

As far as hiring, which is a huge hurdle for new and established restaurants right now, Fourmont says they not only want to hire people to take under their wing, but take it a step forward and offer employees further training so they can grow within the industry. 

"I think what the real opportunity here is to kind of separate ourselves is really focus on training and developing the next wave of hospitality professionals," said Fourmont. "With Joseph's background being a second-tier som and my background of literally being an educator ... we would love to find that young, hungry talent and develop new people and breathe new life into hospitality."

Bar Pigalle could open as soon as mid-January at 2915 John R. in Detroit. Learn more at barpigalle.com.

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mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens