Step Inside The Thomas and Fagiani’s Bar, Newly Open in Downtown Napa
The best seat in the house, in the new second-floor dining room.

Back in June we learned that long-dead Fagiani’s Bar, in the heart of downtown Napa on Main Street, facing the river, was finally going to get the makeover it deserved at the hands of New York-based AvroKO Hospitality Group. It’s called The Thomas now, with the downstairs bar retaining the Fagiani’s name and the historic neon sign. And these New Yorkers, along with an army of local contractors, made fast work of the renovation at the space, adding a whole third story dining area and roof deck, and outfitting the original two-level space with a brand new kitchen and fully refurbished bar, all in about eight weeks. They had a grand opening party last night, after a couple of weeks of soft opening, and chef Brad Farmerie (who earned a Michelin star at NYC’s Public) offered up a sampling of his nuanced American menu, and gave us a tour of the handsome new bar and restaurant that feels like it’s been there forever — well, it sort of has.

Opened originally in 1909 as The Thomas, the building began life as a restaurant and boarding house along Napa’s main drag, ultimately being turned into a working-man’s watering hole by Nick Fagiani, who took it over in 1945. His daughters, Muriel Fagiani and Anita Andrews, inherited the bar when he died in 1969, when they were both in their forties. Five years later, Anita met her end in the back room in a murder that shocked the community and remained unsolved for 36 years, until 2010, using DNA evidence. With the case finally settled and a likely suspect already behind bars for another crime, the family could move on and let go of the building.

While parts of the bar and the barstools, as well as the hardwood floors on the main two levels, are all original, much of the historic character in the space has been added via other salvaged materials — antique café chairs, an ornate, oak-columned vintage back bar, a pressed aluminum ceiling, and an antique water bubbler from a nearby school, for instance. AvroKo’s design expertise shows in each detail. It’s a bar that feels worn in, yet it’s also a new space even for anyone who remembers the old Fagiani’s.

A cocktail list from bar manager Jim Wrigley (a UK native whose previous experience includes Albannach in Trafalgar Square and the Lonsdale in Notting Hill) and a limited bar menu will be served in the warm and inviting downstairs bar, while the full menu is served in the second floor dining room — adjacent to the new, white-tiled open kitchen with its grand archway — and on the rooftop terrace, which is partially covered with its own separate bar. A staff member told us that they’ve already had to turn away a number of locals who, upon seeing the new terrace from the street, want to come in and have drinks up there — it is strictly a dining area, and the restaurant needs the extra seating, so unfortunately rooftop cocktailing is not an option without getting a table, and some dinner.

Check out our slideshow to see the full spread they put out, and the extensive renovation.

The Thomas and Fagiani’s Bar - 813 Main Street, Napa - 707.226.7821 - Open seven days for dinner and weekend brunch, with the bar open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Lunch to come.

Earlier: The Thomas Opens August 8th in Napa, Complete With Historic Fagiani’s Sign
Downtown Napa’s Fagiani’s to Reopen in August After 38 Years
Fagiani’s murder: A sigh of relief … after 36 years [Napa Valley Register]

The ground-floor bar, which hasn’t seen the light of day, or patrons, since it closed in 1974 following the tragic murder of Anita Andrews, has new life and all new fixtures.
A new pressed aluminum ceiling looks vintage.
The back bar was found on the East Coast and shipped in, but looks like it belongs.
Some historic canceled checks, signed by Nick Fagiani in 1946, were found and framed for the walls of the bar.
Even the bathrooms have cool, exposed copper pipes over the mirrors.
A vintage water bubbler was salvaged from a nearby school.
On the second floor is the kitchen and main dining room. Design elements, like the suspended café chairs, were actually of necessity — the confines of the space didn’t allow for any storage, so, there’s the extra seating when a party needs to add another chair.
A view out the front windows over the Napa River at sunset, from the second floor.
The kitchen had to be built from scratch. This floor was originally a boarding house dating back to the 1910s.
Another design element that came of necessity was the glass-walled wine cave that’s suspended along one wall of the dining room. The sommelier has to walk in to the long narrow space to fetch bottle.
The best seat in the house is obviously this six-person booth by the front windows.
Chef Farmerie presents his 28-day aged Angus beef with bone marrow bearnaise.
Another winning bite was this grilled Monterey Bay squid with Farmerie’s signature sweet chili sauce, creme fraiche, and lemon cucumber.
Canapés of wild mushroom mousse with assorted wild mushrooms and whiskey jelly.
Here’s the view overlooking the Napa River from the third-floor terrace dining area.
A smooth uni custard topped with crab and caviar.
There is a second bar with several seats for dining on the third floor.
At last night’s event, a signature menu item — the California crudité — was presented as a crudité bar, with a smoky black-truffle baba ghanoush for dipping.
A half story was added on top of the existing building, allowing for indoor and outdoor dining and a commanding view of the river.
After the sun sets, the rooftop terrace glows along with the rest of the revived building, and the historic sign which hasn’t been lit in decades.
Step Inside The Thomas and Fagiani’s Bar, Newly Open in Downtown Napa