Ardiente is Spanish for ‘burning’….and that’s what this place is!! It’s hot, super sexy, and fits in with the Old City vibe perfectly! We were treated to a sneak preview last night. It enticed and seduced me, and only left me wanting more!! It will be about three more weeks till their grand opening, however.There’s a carefully thought-out design element at ever turn in Ardiente. Make sure you walk every inch of the multi-level, multi-faceted space! It’s incredible!
The decor is fusion, just as the Asian/Spanish menu will be. (Keep your eyes peeled for its official release on their Facebook page soon!) On one hand, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what to make of the space….lots of Buddhas and deity statues, gorgeous Moroccan lanterns, mandalas, stunning crystal chandeliers, lights with sexy fringe that kept reminding of the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story“. There’s even an antler light fixture. It was definitely a hodgepodge, but it contained so many various elements I love separately, and really, it all worked together here. It kept my eyes moving around the space all night. Add bold, colorful up-lighting and more candles (including ones that light the path downstairs) than I could count, and I totally dig the overall vibe so much!
Behind the main bar which seems like a great place to happy hour or for pre-dinner drinks sits a detailed, mesmerizing stained glass which was originally hand-sketched by the owner himself. Love this!! I can almost guarantee that from the attention put forth in choosing decor and design elements, that the cocktail menu will be filled with gems! Some chili-spiced this, some infused that. All carefully crafted. Excited to see!
Downstairs feels like you’re in a secret space with circular windows and sheer curtains were drawn back for just a peek inside. You’ll almost feel like you’re doing something bad…in a good way. Yet another gorgeous bar down there! It’s ornate and cut out just like the Moroccan lanterns that hang above upstairs. This was more of a cozy, lounge vibe section. The late-night folks will surely hang here.Both bathrooms were very interesting. The ones on the main floor have some kind of face recognition entry that will hold your space in line? I have never seen or heard of this before. So futuristic! The ones downstairs are unisex and remind me of the Emerald City…not the club, although I almost forgot about that place, like as in The Wizard Of Oz.The DJ who was stationed upstairs near the main bar and dining area were fantastic spinning old classics we can all sing along to, mixed with more current pop chart tunes. Perfect blend. People were grooving although the dance area was as smidge on the smaller side.
From the moment you walk in you are greeted by the beautiful, smiling hostess. The owner and GM were all on hand saying “hello”, so happy to meet everyone. The energy and excitement were really great!! The waitstaff roaming with passed hors d’oeuvres including large jumbo shrimp in a soy sauce, seafood ceviche’ and meatballs were all super friendly as well. A tad unprepared with questions about ingredients, but they’re not even open yet. Totally forgivable.
We would personally bring our children for dinner earlier in the night, but I’m not so sure it will be a place for all families. There are video screens with jellyfish, but also with belly and burlesque dancers, so perhaps save this one for date night. A date night you’ll put on that LBD (little black dress) and whip out a smoky eye. Do it up here!
I would say while the place is rather large, you may want to make reservations. Seems like it could get crowded just from how it held the crowds last night.
For me, it reminds me of classic Old City, back when it was really thriving. The days of Billy Wongs and my beloved, and oh so missed Tangerine. MY days in Old City, when I used to stay out just a little later. (Wink, wink) I welcome Ardiente as a new replacement for my old haunts. I’ve been waiting for one! I’m excited to frequent often and am thankful for feeling a bit younger last night.
*Will update review with more detailed food experiences in a few weeks! Can’t wait!
Xox, Sar aka Fab Philly