Moving the bar was a brilliant idea. Not just moving it, but making it a focal point of the room. It certainly worked for Prato just down the block.
It was Prato that came to my mind the first time I saw the renovated space that is now Boca and that has been a half dozen or so other restaurants over the years, Matilda's the most recent. (I won't run the whole list of names, but I mentioned them in this article.) The bar-central scheme may be one of the reasons that Prato is always packed. It just passed its three-year mark and I don't think I've ever been in there when I haven't had to jockey for a position at the bar just to get a drink — never mind getting a seat. Boca was enjoying the same sort of busy-ness when I visited for dinner recently. My dinner companion remarked that he couldn't remember when he'd seen so many people in that space. It's really wonderful to see, and I hope that it continues and Boca packs them in for a good, long time.
To that end, it would do well to emulate Prato in another area: its food.