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Downtown Gains New Gin Joint

By Amy Scherzer
C.W.'s Gin Joint executive chef Gui Alinat and proprietor Carolyn Wilson recently celebrated the opening of the new "speakeasy" on Franklin Street. Photo by Amy Scherzer.

SOUTH TAMPAóDonít even think about making a fast getaway from C.W.ís Gin Joint. Downtown Tampaís new Prohibition-hip speakeasy is designed for lingering.

"Itís an ode to the í20s and í30s," said executive chef Gui Alinat, presenting proprietor Carolyn Wilsonís vision "with a French accent," at 633 N Franklin Street.

The 100-seat restaurant and bar serves dinner nightly, from 5 p.m to midnight, then a giant wheel of cheese comes out for drink patrons till 2 a.m. Live entertainment is booked Wednesdays through Sundays.

Chandeliers glow over velvet sofas clustered between dining tables and a gleaming bar featuring an extensive selection of gin and 45 kinds of mescal.

Alinat, along with head chef Cody Tiner, formerly chef de cuisine at Piquant, created the menu they call "elevated comfort food." Three specialities of the house are duck confit, braised short ribs and Greek-style octopus.

A popular personal chef and cookbook author, Alinat said he has catered in 3,000 homes in the bay area in the past 16 years.

"People want an experience after work or a movie or play," Alinat said, noting the proximity to office towers, Tampa Theatre and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

Wilsonís event space, a circa-1923 bank building called the Vault, adjoins the Joint.

"Itís been so much fun," she said, "Better than I hoped for. Iím having a blast."

Visit cwginjoint.com or call (813) 816-1446 for more information.

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