Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Decent cocktails in Grant Park? A visit to Octane's latest location

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Tony Riffel in Octanes new space in the Jane Lofts
I kind of live at Octane on the Westside. It's close to my office, and is one of the few places in town that makes cappuccino to my obnoxious, exacting standards. So, I've been waiting excitedly for literally years for the Grant Park outpost of Octane, which owner Tony Riffel has now opened in the Jane Lofts. I live in Ormewood Park, so the new location is close to my house, and a convenient stop on my drive to work.

Riffel originally conceived of the spot in one of the building's small front spaces, but has instead opened in a large space in the back of the building. Octane shares this space with the Little Tart Bakery, which sells baked goods on the left side of the wide loft-like room, while a bar takes up the right side. Riffel has hired two accomplished bartenders - one who came from Empire State South and the other from Sound Table - to man the bar, and says the focus will be on classic cocktails. I can see this becoming quite the bar scene at night - this is a neighborhood that I imagine will appreciate a well mixed drink, and despite the proximity to H. Harper Station, Grant Park doesn't yet have its own cocktail bar worth mention (no disrespect to the surrounding bars, but they're more beer-centric). Octane is still waiting on final approval for its liquor license, but Riffel hopes it will come through some time this week.

I stopped by on my way to work yesterday and had a flawless cappuccino and a flaky, still-warm-from-the-oven pear and ginger turnover from Little Tart. This could easily become an expensive and calorific habit.

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