Vesper Owners Are Debuting New Cocktail and Music Hideaway 'Leda and The Swan'

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Vesper Owners Are Debuting New Cocktail and Music Hideaway 'Leda and The Swan'

Glu Hospitality, owners of Vesper Center City, Vesper Dayclub and Germantown Garden, have announced the grand opening of Leda and The Swan at 1224 Chestnut Street, in Philadelphia's thriving Midtown Village neighborhood. For Leda, Glu principles Derek Gibbons and Tim Lu present a new cocktail and music hideaway for the culturally curious. The 2,500 square foot new cocktail bar and lounge will feature specialty craft cocktails created by well-known cocktail veterans Ryan Fenton and Zach Kessler. The bar program will include nine special cocktails, four varieties of Old Fashioneds, large format bottled cocktails, dessert cocktails, vodka club cocktails featuring tinctures, wines and champagnes. For the creative types, come early to hang and come late to move with live music entertainment Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with DJs later night on Fridays and Saturdays. Leda will host an all-night opening night celebration this Friday, January 31, 2020, from 5:00pm to 2:00am. Starting regular hours will be Thursday, 5:00pm to Midnight, Friday, 5:00pm to 2:00am, and Saturday, 5:00pm to 2:00am. Happy hour will run every Thursday and Friday from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. For more about Leda, call 267-214-0086, visit, like LSPhilly (Leda and The Swan) on Facebook, and follow lnsphilly (Leda and the Swan) on Instagram.

Leda and The Swan aims to be a unique and beautiful space, with meticulous design, seasonal craft drinks, and genre-defying entertainment. The owners' vision for Leda is to create an experience for the culturally curious, that honors the creative types and artists, that comes with personal connection and strong storytelling. Core values for Leda include art, culture and beauty; engagement and interaction; intimacy and sensual pleasure; living in the moment (no phones); diversity; and mystery.

"Myth, art, love, & beauty paired with our reverence for hospitality have inspired us to create a comfortable space for the culturally curious to experience life in the here and now, "said Gibbons. "Leda and The Swan is a hideaway for couples, close friends, and the adventurous lone wolf. We provide artistic entertainment & menu offerings to guide guests through our ever-evolving story."

He added, "Our goal was to create a brand-new cocktail and music hideaway in the heart of Center City," said Gibbons. "We are a concept that is programmed based on the evolution of the night. Starting with happy hour and live music which guests can enjoy before and after dinner. After the live music ends, the disco ball gets turned on and guests can dance the night away to our many resident DJs. The venue was built to accommodate couples, lone wolves, creatives, entrepreneurs, group leaders, travelers, romantics, music snobs, actors, performers and our fellow service industry colleagues."

Inspiration for the name hails from a greek myth where Zeus transformed into a swan and he seduces Leda. Together, they have a child, Helena of Troy, who was according to mythology one of the most beautiful women in the world. Gibbons said, "Leda and The Swan is inspired by a greek myth which embodies values of art, myth and love. We want people to be intrigued by the name and the concept, and to be culturally curious. We want to create a social experience where patrons engage, interact and start a discussion. The unique name, cocktails and space are all first steps in that vision."

Whereas Midtown Village and Center City is currently home to a number of top restaurants, bars and nightclubs, Leda and The Swan looks to offer a unique hybrid cocktail bar and lounge that fuses live music, craft cocktails, dancing and local art in a comfortable and beautiful space.


The crown jewel of Leda and The Swan is the craft cocktail program - with each creation inspired by a story from mythology. Lu said, "Story-telling and evoking emotion is part of the overall Leda and The Swan experience. We aim to offer an original blend of cocktails drawing from inspiration from classics and neo classics alike."

At the helm of the bar and the cocktail program is Beverage Director Ryan Fenton (Midtown, Penn 6, Del Friscos) and Head Bartender Zach Kessler, who previously worked at The Franklin. Together, the duo created the cocktail program that showcases fresh ingredients and classic spirits. The menu includes nine specialty cocktails, four varieties of Old Fashioneds, dessert cocktails, vodka club specials made with a variety of tinctures, and large format bottled cocktails.

Specialty Cocktails include: (All $14.00)

Lillith - Blanco Tequila, Lillet, Beet Shrub, Lemon, Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper

Slow the Sun - Dry White Rum, Sage, Campari, Lemon, White Vermouth, Strawberry, Whole Egg

Return to Olympus - Rye, Rose Syrup, Lemon, Egg White, Vranac Float, Smoked

Shiro - Mezcal, Togarashi, Ginger, Lemon, Cucumber

Ulysses - Tullamore Dew, Lychee, Pickled Ginger, Angostura

Salvation of Humanity - White Whiskey, Ginger Beer, Lime, Lambic, Allagash White

The Cursed Creator - Plata Tequila, Cynar, Suze, Lime, Pomegranate

Leeds Devil - Rye, Cynar, Averna, Luxardo, Grand Marnier, Madagascar Vanilla

Trobairitz - Grey Goose, Sparkling Wine, Pink Peppercorn Syrup, Yuzu Bergamot Tincture


Leda and The Swan's goal for the wine and champagne program is to offer a fantastic quality and value from French, Italian and California regions. Selections include 13 wines and champagnes by the glass, and 15 selections by the bottle. Notable selections include Erasmo, Barbera Garnacha Valle Del Maule, Chile. The wine program was carefully curated by Jason Taylor from the Wine Merchant who was previously the GM/Sommelier of Mulherins.

For beer lovers, Leda and The Swan will offer 14 beera by the bottle, with a focus on the classics and a few higher end craft selections. Cider and hard seltzer are also available.


Happy hour runs Thursdays and Fridays, from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, and includes:

$7 specialty cocktails

$6 well drinks

$5 house wine

$4 beer


Leda and The Swan will feature live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night curated by Creative Director and entertainment veteran Jordan Poole. On Friday and Saturday nights also look for a rotating who's who of DJ's from around the region and beyond. The music and DJ programming will focus on RnB, Funk, Soul, Disco, House, Indie, Jazzy HipHop, & World Music. Lu said, "We want guests to come enjoy our space and feel comfortable. We want to appeal to many musical tastes." Watch for a full line-up of live music and DJs coming after opening weekend.


Curiously playful. Comfortably stylish.

Leda and The Swan's interior design story was created by Anne White and Managing Owner Derek Gibbons. Leda's vibe is upscale chic in a nod to the disco era of nightlife lounges. The space is filled with brick, rich velvet banquets, scripted wallpaper, velvet curtains, cherry blossoms, and other design details.

Leda's low-key exterior was designed to generate curiosity as citizens go to and fro in the night. Once inside the mysteriousblack door and velvet curtain, guests will find a gathering of characters laughing and chatting over drinks. They will be enveloped by a cherry blossom covered ceiling, brick walls, artwork, and candle-lit tables conveying beauty and warmth. The smell of jasmine in the air is matched with soulful live music invigorating sensuality, calling for couples to sit closer. As the night progresses, the golden disco ball drops, the lighting dims, and the DJ transitions to an upbeat and warm groove. Guests are welcome to mingle and move, but never feel forced out of their comfort zone.


Inside the 2,500 square foot space, look for a 25-foot bar, twelve bar stools, table seating for eight, and banquet seating for up to 48. In total, seating can accommodate up to 68 guests comfortably. The space can host up to 150 guests standing.

Renovations of the former Sumo Lounge space included a complete remodel of the bar, opening up of the entire space, new design elements, exposing of brickwork, new lighting, art and more.


For private parties, VIP booths and special events, catering for Leda and The Swan is available from both Raw and Vesper. Look for more information on a nightly menu of food coming down the road.


Owners - Glu Hospitality - Derek Gibbons and Tim Lu (Gibbons + Lu = Glu)
Managing Owner - Derek Gibbons
Beverage Director - Ryan Fenton
Creative Director - Jordan Poole
Interior Design - AGW Interiors/ Anne White


Glu Hospitality was formed in early 2019 by Tim Lu and Derek Gibbons. The duo had a shared vision to create a hospitality group that owns and manages many different type of unique and exceptional venues that guests can enjoy no matter the occasion they are celebrating. Currently, Glu owns Vesper Center City, Vesper Dayclub, Germantown Garden, Leda and The Swan and soon-to-open Anejo.


Tim Lu grew up as a Philadelphia native. He briefly moved out of the area while he attended Penn State University for undergraduate but moved back home directly after graduation. Lu has owned various and unique venues in Philadelphia for over ten years and continues to share all of his visions with the rest of the city. Lu's ambition is to create operational teams of people with a passion for hospitality and letting the sum of their experience and expertise become a unique experience for our customers. These experiences include hybrid dining and nightlife elements for brunch and dinner, a unique indoor/outdoor venue, and elevated nightlife and day-life experiences. At home, Lu is a family man, father of three beautiful children and husband to wife, Dana Lu. Lu has an open-door policy in both business and personal where everyone has a voice to be heard and where he leads from the front. Lu's mission, vision, purpose and goals are clear and that is a testament to his venues and the people operating them. Tim believes that with the perfect guest experience, exquisite cuisine, and unparalleled operational team, the sky is the limit to where he can go from here. Glu Hospitality has been formed with Lu as the CEO and under Glu lives Vesper Center City, Vesper Dayclub, Germantown Garden, Leda & The Swan and coming soon Anejo.


Derek Gibbons started his career in hospitality at an early age working in his grandfather's liquor store. This is where he found his strength in customer service and love for wine and spirits. He continued to perfect that skill studying Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, the top University in the nation for this profession. While doing so, he gained extensive knowledge of the industry running multiple bars, lounges and restaurants in Disney hotels and downtown Orlando hotels. Upon graduating he relocated to Miami where he helped run the Food and Beverage department for the Clevelander in the South Beach Hotel and the Marlin's Stadium outlet. Returning back to New York City in 2014, Gibbons quickly made a name for himself in the nightlife industry operating 1Oak, Up&Down and also overseeing both of their special events operations. During this time Gibbons managed to beat all budgets and sales projections year after year grossing over 40 million between the venues. In 2019, Gibbons co-founded Glu Hospitality which currently operates many unique venues in Philadelphia with the intention of many, many more.


Leda and The Swan will open a second floor mezzanine for added 900 square feet of event and lounge space. This is targeted to open by March, 2020. Also, this summer look for Leda and The Swan to take over the 1225 Raw outdoor courtyard for special pop-up events.


For private parties and special event inquiries, contact or call 267-214-0086.


Leda will host an all-night opening night celebration this Friday, January 31, 2020, from 5:00pm to 2:00am. Starting regular hours will be Thursday, 5:00pm to Midnight, Friday, 5:00pm to 2:00am, and Saturday, 5:00pm to 2:00am. Happy hour will run every Thursday and Friday from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.


For more about Leda, call 267-214-0086, visit, like LSPhilly (Leda and The Swan) on Facebook, and follow lnsphilly (Leda and the Swan) on Instagram.

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