A craft cocktail lounge is in the works for Willy Street, in the house next door to Grampa's Pizzeria.
Hastings Cameron of Forequarter and Josh Swentzel of Grampa's Pizzeria are teaming up for a bar concept with Grampa's owner Gil Altschul at 1380 Williamson St., next door to the pizzeria. The Victorian house has historically been apartments.
Current plans include a lounge atmosphere with a fresh herb garden in back for use in seasonal drinks. The three are also inviting guest chefs to create a rotating list of signature dishes for an abbreviated bar menu. They say they have had positive responses from Tory Miller of L'Etoile, Dan Fox of Heritage Tavern, Joey Dunscombe of the Weary Traveler, and Mark Schieber of Forequarter.
The space will additionally provide overflow for the popular, cozy Grampa's -- which Altschul says has more than an hour wait at peak times on weekends -- as well as bring craft cocktails to the Willy Street neighborhood.
Cameron says the bar will be very low-key: "We plan a lounge environment with cocktail service, no silverware; tapas-style eats; batched cocktails, kegged cocktails, and kombucha; plus barrel-aged cocktails and seasonal drinks." He adds: "It will aspire to be a world-class cocktail bar, but fit into the neighborhood and have an appropriate price point."
Cameron, who has developed cocktails for the Underground Food Collective and worked as a bartender at several downtown restaurants, also intends to eventually offer cocktail classes.
Of particular interest to beer geeks: The group is tapping Levi Funk of Funk Factory Geuzeria for a special house lambic-style brew.
The three hope to have the as-yet unnamed bar open this coming summer, in July. "We sat around listening to Wu Tang Clan with a bottle of crappy Tempranillo and a stack of bar books for inspiration -- but no name yet," says Josh Swentzel.
Like Grampa's, the bar's interior will be designed by Gil Altschul's fiancée, Marissa Johnson.
An initial informational meeting for immediate neighbors is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Lazy Jane's Cafe, 1358 Williamson St.