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Gib's Bar November 2014

Gib's Bar, a cocktail lounge that will serve as a companion space/ waiting room for Grampa's Pizzeria next door, is under construction at 1380 Williamson St. 

Folks who dread waiting outside Grampa's Pizzeria in the winter to score a table and a brussels sprout-bacon pie can now pitch in toward a warmer wait.

Grampa's owners Gilbert Atschul and Marissa Johnson are turning a residence next door to the pizzeria in the 1300 block of Williamson St. into a cocktail lounge called Gib's.

This week, the pair launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $50,000 by Dec. 20.

"As we move further into renovations, we begin more and more to realize what a big project this is," Altschul says in the video.

Various people have suggested they tear the house down, Altschul adds, but that's not an option for him. A former stepson of "Lazy" Jane Capito, he grew up in the neighborhood, and "maintaining its charm and integrity is something that's important of the both of us, our families and our customers."

Altschul estimates that by the time the bar opens, they'll have put $400,000 into the project.

"We could have torn the thing down for almost cheaper, probably," Altschul said in an interview. "But that's part of the appeal — fitting into the neighborhood rather than changing it."

So far, Altschul and Johnson have borrowed from family, refinanced the building with Monona State Bank, and received loans from Madison Development Corporation and Dane County Development Corporation.

Gib's was once slated to be the Imaginary Bar, run by Hastings Cameron (former bartender at Forequarter) who is still involved in the project.

Backers of the Kickstarter project can choose from several reward levels, most of which tie into a kickoff party at somewhere like the High Noon Saloon.

"I would love to do it on my family's farm if people can wait 'til spring," Altschul said. "We will definitely make sure it's a good party."

The current next step is to put siding on the building, Altschul said. Meanwhile, Grampa's Pizzeria has moved to abbreviated winter hours, closing at 10 p.m. on weeknights.

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Since 2008, food editor Lindsay Christians has been writing about fine arts and food for The Capital Times. She loves eating at the bar, going to the theater, sparkling wine and good stories. She lives in Madison with two cats and too many cookbooks.