Whiskey and wine, live music and low lights. All the elements of an unforgettable and undeniably sultry night out can be found at Grapes and Grains, which had its grand opening on Friday, Oct. 16 at 201 N. Peoria St. in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop. The reservations exclusive lounge, dubbed GG’s, is the complete social experience (with virtually touch-free service) for those looking to indulge in an intimate evening that exudes exclusivity and the underground thrill of 1920s Chicago. Exposed brick walls, Chesterfield sofas, vintage chandeliers and a baby grand piano set a sexy scene; well-crafted cocktails and small plates complete it.
The reservations-exclusive lounge, dubbed GG’s, is the complete social experience — with virtually touch-free service — for those looking to indulge in an intimate evening that exudes exclusivity and the underground thrill of 1920s Chicago. Exposed brick walls, Chesterfield sofas, vintage chandeliers and a baby grand piano set a sexy scene; well-crafted cocktails and small plates complete it.
“We want guests to feel immediately transported once they walk into this beautiful space,” says owner Dimitri Anastos. “We have hand-selected each whiskey, wine and Champagne, but we also welcome guests to request their favorites. We’ve put thought into every detail and service point to ensure that the GG’s experience is not only safe and socially distanced but the ultimate way to spend a night out.”
The beverage menu features whiskeys and wines from around the world and modern takes on classic cocktails, including the “Knock on Wood” Whiskey Sour, “New Money” Old Fashioned and “Death Note” French 75. Artisanal cheese and charcuterie boards and small plates blend the best local and imported ingredients. Dishes include Smoked Imported Buratta with apple jam, watercress and garlic confit and Spumante Mussels topped with Champagne cream sauce, sour grapes, piment d`Espelette butter and served with grilled whole-grain bread. GG’s requires each table to purchase an item from the food menu. All menu items are also available to pre-order, for the ultimate social distancing experience.
Nightly programming at GG’s will feature live music, tastings, themed events and more. Tables are spaced more than 6 feet apart and will run at 25 percent occupancy per current capacity restrictions.
Reservations at GG’s can be made on Tock for “experience” packages of whiskey, wine and cheese board pairings, which are designed for groups of up to eight guests and allow for a virtually contact-free dining experience once seated.
GG’s is available for daytime private events seven days a week. The space includes a Champagne sabering room, perfect for any celebration. GG’s also accommodates guests on its outdoor patio, Sophia’s Garden, on Lake Street. Patio seating is first come, first served.
This past summer, I had the pleasure of dining at PB&J (Pizza, Beer and Jukebox), which is right next door to the new GG’s. The brother duo who own PB&J, Matthew McCahill and Josh McCahill, are super excited for this next adventure, along with their business partner, owner Dimitri Anastos, who put blood, sweat, and tears into the space that GG’s now occupies, which includes an entire wall dedicated to wine bottles.
I interviewed Matthew McCahill to get the inside scoop of what GG’s will offer to the public:
I loved experiencing your new restaurant, PB&J, this past summer. What inspired you and your brother to open a 1920s themed whiskey and wine bar? How will it stand out from other similar themed bars in the city?
I was inspired by old school Chicago-back before night clubs were there. Everywhere in the area now is coming out with new restaurants. Beautiful old foundations of buildings and architecture are being covered up and building around original foundations and decorations. Owner Dimiti is old school and wanted to keep the theme going. The old school Chicago theme transports you back in time. It’s sensual-not too feminine or masculine- it’s just right. Currently, nightclubs are not all open due to the pandemic, and this will provide adults with the option of going out and enjoying the night club life.
Are there any special details about the opening of GGs that you are looking forward to sharing with your customers?
Liveliness and the neighborhood bar vibe. It’s all about sharing the new space with the public. This is an experience for whiskey, wine, good food, and the opportunity to enjoy the experience. There will be delicious food such as cheese boards and champagne grapes and pineapple. We will have a charcuterie platter option with a delectable foie gras mousse, and small plates, nibbles, and bites.
GGs will be offering virtual touch-free service. How will you accommodate that?
It all starts with making an online reservation with the Tock app, which offers a peace of mind package. It gives diners different choices along with wine bottle prices. This comes with a cheeseboard. A cheese/wine pairing is added and is all at the table when customers arrive. You can also pay for your reservation in advance. Tables are spread 6-8 feet apart, including separate tables near the door. Diners can text message they need anything and there is a QR code to scan at the table. Wine bottles are not opened and are sterilized along with a wine key.
Will the bar offer outdoor dining as we are heading into colder temperatures? How will indoor dining be accommodated to stay safe and follow dining regulations due to the pandemic?
There is one table outside if customers prefer outdoor dining. Inside, there is an ionizer installed and a ventilation system that has fans on each side of each wall. Air flows and cools off the room. The indoor dining space occupies a maximum of 40 people at a time with a 2 hour dining time slot. Also, we test our staff every week for Covid 19. Masks are mandatory when eating, drinking, and talking with serving staff. Hand sanitizer is available at the front podium.
Are there plans for live music in the bar? If so, how will this be planned out with inside dining to again stay safe due to the pandemic?
The piano player performs In the corner of room by the wine cabinet, away from everyone and is roped off from diners. He also has a request book for songs.
Let’s have the inside scoop on the sabering champagne room!
The savoring room is the first one in Chicago and the US! It comes with candlelights which adds a certain sexiness to the place. Instructions for customers are provided on video, on how to use the sabering sword to uncork the champagne bottle.
Photos: Kinship Company
For more information, visit www.ggwestloop.com, call 773-398-9153 (textable phone number to make a reservation) and follow @ggwestloop on Instagram/FB.
Reservations have a $10 cover after 8pm on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays for the live piano entertainment. Thursdays.