There won’t be a secret door or password, but Jason-Paul Febres is opening a tapas bar disguised as a speakeasy of sorts across from his Taste & See in Old Town.
“We’re going to be modern in a throwback way, so I think it’s going to be a beautiful fusion,” he says.
Gianni Bacci’s will open at 301 N. Washington, at the northwest corner of Second and Washington, this spring.
“It’s not going to be a problem to get in,” Febres says.
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He says he loves the idea of having a secret way to gain entrance like the old speakeasies had during Prohibition.
“We would love to, but I don’t think we can pull that off,” Febres says.
Where Taste & See was his restaurant concept, Febres says Gianna Bacci’s is more of the vision of his restaurant’s general manager, Steven Bacci.
“Steve was always talking about a bar,” Febres says.
He says it makes sense, too, since a lot of his diners ask where they should go after dinner.
“It really popped into my mind – we have to have a place for after.”
Though there are a lot of other Old Town bars, including ones Febres says he likes, he says they’re more casual. He’s planning what he calls a more upscale environment where business people and nearby hotel guests might want to go. Febres says he wants to appeal to people in their 30s and older.
“They want something more elegant to hang out (at),” he says. He says he doesn’t want a “get-out-and-go-get-drunk scene.”
Think Sinatra music, Prohibition-era cocktails, some tapas, including molecular cuisine and drinks where Febres plays with the composition of dishes.
“It’s going to have a nice selection of tapas,” he says. “It’s more like upscale tapas.”
Staff members will be in uniforms that look like vintage clothing, and the atmosphere will match.
“Anywhere from the ’20s to the ’60s,” Febres says. “That’s what we want to do.”
The inside will be small with only about 40 seats. A patio, which will face Washington, will also seat 40.
“Our patio’s going to be huge,” Febres says. “We want to accommodate both times of the year – the cold season and the hot season.”
The bar will be open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Gianni Bacci’s is named for Steven Bacci’s son. Febres says having the business named for a family member of Bacci’s is to “honor him a little bit.”
Febres hopes to open by March.
He’s also still planning to open an Old Town event venue where he could also have cooking classes. Febres first told Have You Heard? about his plans last year, though he hasn’t finalized a site.
“That’s later,” he says. “We’re doing that, too.”
He’s also thinking of a possible Spanish tapas bar for Old Town or an Italian restaurant.
“You never know,” Febres says.
“I have a lot of love for Old Town,” he says. “I see the potential. … I want to expand Old Town and create a different place to be.”
As an Eagle photographer took Febres’ picture at Gianni Bacci’s on Tuesday, he suggested he was playing a game of Monopoly by taking up corners.
“When he said it, it was just so funny,” Febres says.
He says that’s exactly what he’s doing.
“Not to monopolize the area but to expand it and get other businesses open,” Febres says.
“That’s my dream. That’s my goal. This is just the start.”