Since opening in Cleveland Heights last fall, Gigi’s on Fairmount has been absolutely mobbed by adoring fans who have fallen for the romantic, cocoon-like setting of the diminutive wine bar. Along with the crystal chandeliers, mile-long mirrors, flickering candlelight and fluffy pillows, guests have come to expect cramped quarters and long waits at peak times for a table.
Well, now there’s somewhere close by to grab a drink while you wait. Gigi’s After Dark will open in an adjacent space this weekend, providing space for up to 50 additional guests.
“The space kind of came up out of nowhere,” explains James Patsch, who owns the restaurant with his wife Gia “Gigi” Ilijasic. “We weren't expecting to do anything this quickly, but when the space became available we had to jump on it.”
Set in the former duoHOME space, Gigi’s After Dark is more lounge than restaurant, says Patsch, “a place where you can come and have a cocktail while you’re waiting for a table next door or stick around after dinner for a cocktail.”
Two new openings connect the neighboring spaces, sealed off during the day by thick black-and-white drapery. Along with the 10-seat bar, there are multiple soft-seating areas, high-top tables, and a 10-seat “Chef’s Table,” the only table in either room that can be reserved. The lounge is dimly lit, with bright yellow chairs and the now-familiar crystal chandeliers, shiny mirrors, flickering candlelight and fluffy pillows. There’s even room for live music, such as a jazz trio.
Gigi’s After Dark will serve a limited menu of snacks, like the popular bruschetta boards next door, where diners build their own assortment from a long list of choices. Classic cocktail fans will be pleased to see a familiar face behind the stick: Eric Mattimore, the former bar manager at the sorely missed Katz Club Bar Car.
Gigi’s After Dark will be open every evening but Sunday from 5 til close, which could be as late as 1 a.m. on weekends.
The windfall of new space has allowed the owners to pull out the small lounge area and wee bar in the original restaurant space, freeing up some much needed square footage. But don’t expect to find much room to dance, says Patsch.
“We don’t want to lose that cozy, New York City-style feel that our customers have come to love,” he says.