Gib's Bar, built into a Williamson Street house next door to Grampa's Pizzeria, feels like going to a very cool friend's house party.
Built by the Grampa's team of Gil Altschul and Marissa Johnson with Underground Food Collective's Hastings Cameron as lead consultant, Gib's officially opens today at 1380 Willy Street.
Ed Hong, another Underground alum, serves as general manager. After a pleasantly warm soft opening on Thursday night, Hong said the house-turned-bar will be air conditioned as of Tuesday.
Gib's will be open every day of the week except Mondays. The downstairs bar opens at 4 p.m. and the upstairs opens at 6 p.m. (Editor's note: Tonight the bar opens at 6 p.m.) Capacity is about 50 people, and the last drink will be served 30 minutes before bar time.
The two halves of the bar will have two different vibes, Hong explained.
"Our first floor bar, the menu is a little more about speed," Hong said, a nod to Gib's function as a waiting room for the pizza restaurant. "We'll have 11 beers on tap and housemade sodas and cocktails on tap."
Beer will rotate seasonally, and there will be two or three each of red and white wines, as well as rosé during warmer months.
Johnson furnished the cozy upstairs level with vintage couches, lamps and chandeliers. A large cabinet that would have been used for a science class is currently filled with varieties of rum. Whiskey is next.
"At the upstairs bar, the cocktails will be more composed," Hong said. "They're going to take a little more time to execute. I hate the word 'mixology' but they'll be more craft, or molecular-forward."
Hong said they have the equipment to make gels and spheres upstairs, though that won't be the sole focus. Think a smaller version of Aviary in Chicago (a frequent participant in SloPig).
Upstairs, the bar will devote three taps to beer. The other three will be housemade tonics and sodas. Hong expects many elements of the cocktail menu will remain constant throughout each season.
"We'll offer as many classic cocktails as we have ingredients for," he said.
— Lindsay Christians