Gib’s Bar, the new sister business to Grampa’s Pizzeria and located next door at 1380 Williamson St., opened this past weekend. The bar, which spans two stories of a former house, has been redone by Gilbert Altschul and Marissa Johnson in a relaxed but elegant east-side style.
There’s an attractive light blue room on the ground floor, a masculine lair upstairs painted in sleek black, and a magnificently redone grand staircase in between, showcased under a glitzy chandelier. The spaces manage to be both intimate and airy.
Ed Hong, formerly of Forequarter and Merchant, is general manager, and Hastings Cameron, the longtime Underground Food Collective cocktailer, is consultant.
The ground floor bar is dedicated to quick pours, like kegged cocktails and 13 tap beers, and a small selection of wine.
A daiquiri on offer, with multiple rums, was tart with added complexity, perhaps from a bit of Rhum Agricole — rum made from fresh-pressed cane juice rather than molasses. A classic Dark ’n Stormy was given lift by Hamilton 151, a rum with rich flavor and a higher alcohol content. It’s relatively new to the U.S. market and a hat tip to connoisseurs. Each of the drinks has a touch of something extra in flavor and content.
The second floor is devoted to more complicated drinks. On offer opening night were Manhattans and “Artisanal Malibu,” a coconut-washed rum drink. Dealing with limited space, Cameron says he will begin Gib’s cocktail program by featuring a single type of alcohol.
First up is rum, next is whiskey. It’s a great way to bring a new clientele to the world of cocktails, and a smart introduction of the sure-to-be-classic Gib’s Bar to the neighborhood.