Brendan McGill's latest adds a little more post-work ambiance than his other cafes in the same building.

Image: Suzi Pratt

In Rome, amid historic fountains and selfie-stick-wielding tourists, a quick bite can often mean grabbing a square of thick pizza al taglio, or by the cut, which is certainly the essence that Brendan McGill's Bar Taglio partly aims to capture when it opens today (11–9pm) in the Exchange Building at First and Marion. It joins McGill's other in-building establishments, Cafe Hitchcock and Cafe Hitchcock Express.

McGill describes his Roman-style pizza as "super light and airy in the inside," while a hot AF deck oven and black steel pan ensure it also "has a shattering egg shell–like, super thin, and super crispy, crunchy bottom." Its thick, gluten-supported structure (thanks to a long, bubbly fermentation process) means it can carry hefty toppings: ribbons of prosciutto and arugula from McGilll's Bainbridge Island farm, potato slices with rosemary, carbonara with guanciale pork, onion, black pepper, and egg yolk, among other flavor combos. Not in a pizza mood? There's plenty else to savor from oven-roasted eggplants and hearty salads to lamb chops and housemade gelato.

The by-the-cut pizza is casual and speedy enough for lunch, but this is a bar, too, and so the space asks you to linger—at the marble-top bar, at a cushy banquette, at a bistro table, any one of the 60-ish seats, really. "You might get a martini with lunch," says McGill, but they come in smaller, two-ounce coupe glasses. "You don’t want to be plastered."

Alexandra Stang, who's now Team Hitchcock after a long stint at Bastille, is Bar Taglio's GM. But Stang's sommelier cred is all over the wine and cocktail menu, which boasts myriad Italian wines and a deep shelf of gin, vermouth, and Italian liqueurs. 

And should you require an afternoon jolt in the form of espresso with a side of digestif, say, amaro or grappa, Bar Taglio's got you. 

While the bar is for those of drinking age, the restaurant is fully family friendly. One recent evening McGill saw a family of four on the hunt for dinner. On a stretch of downtown dominated by lunch and a couple of higher-end dining establishments, Bar Taglio is a bit of a sweet spot.

"The magic of a pizzeria is that everybody loves pizza."

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