An Opening and a Closing 

The Mode Lounge starts slinging drinks, while Salt shuts its doors

The windows were steamed up in the former Grape Escape Jan. 23, as visitors packed a soft opening celebration for The Mode Lounge. Inside the completely revamped space--which boasts metal ceiling tiles, an elaborate chandelier and lots of low-lit booths and seating nooks--bartenders vigorously shook cocktails behind the prominent bar.

The menu, which was still being tweaked, included a number of elaborate cocktails made with house tinctures, syrups and bitters. The "classics" column featured drinks like the G-N-T with Aviation gin, quinine syrup, mineral water and lemongrass mist, while the "contemporary" cocktails list boasted potions like the Smoke & Oak with Four Roses bourbon, Vida joven mezcal, lemon, lime, tobacco smoke extract and Sweet Heat salt. There was even a $25 cocktail--the Miel Et Incendie--made with Excellia reposado tequila, Domaine de L'Alliance sauternes, Germain-Robin Alambic brandy, Averna, orange, saffron bitters and Smoked Spice mist.

While the wine list was relatively ample--with a healthy by-the-glass selection--the beer offerings were limited, with only a handful of cans and bottles. The food menu, also small, stuck to the raw theme with items like steak tartare, smoked salmon mousse, oysters on the half shell and yellowtail crudo.

The Mode officially opens to the public Thursday, Jan. 30, at 4 p.m. For more info, visit themodelounge.com.

And in closing news, Salt: A Modern Public House, formerly Salt Tears Coffeehouse and Noshery, shut its doors abruptly Jan. 7. The business had been taken over by Chef Benjamin Thorpe, former owner of The Cornerstone Bistro in Middleton, only a few months prior.

A sign posted on the door read: "The restaurant SALT will be temporarily closed for business. We regret and apologize for this inconvenience as SALT is closed due to repairs and maintenance. We are very thankful to our loyal customers and ask that you look for our re-opening coming soon."

Kristi Bowins, a representative from Colliers International, confirmed that the business is for sale.

"It closed down; the business is for sale. All the FF and E's [furniture, fixtures and equipment] are here, the whole nine yards. ... If anybody's interested, they can just give me a call and I'll point them in the right direction," said Bowins, who can be reached at 208-493-5108.

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