Bar Pilar's murals and chandeliers remain intact. ( Sean McCormick/For The Washington Post)

The cozy tavern closed during the construction of a second-floor dining room and dedicated cocktail bar, which will significantly expand the number of seats and hopefully cut the wait times for chef Justin Bitner’s exquisite small plates.

Most of the structural work has finished -- except for the large hole in one corner of the ceiling where the staircase will go. For now, you can go to the first-floor bar, which is happily almost the same.

There are two key changes: No food is being served because the new, expanded kitchen is still under construction. Look for dinner to return around the end of the month, when the upstairs is targeted to open. Also, the bar’s back room, which held larger tables for groups, has been sacrificed for extra kitchen space. Room at Bar Pilar’s counter has always been tight, and you can expect it to be more so until the second story is ready.

In the meantime, there are draft beers, shots and glasses of French and Spanish wine for you to sip. Doors open nightly at 5 p.m.