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Bottle and Barlow prepping – and primping – for weekend opening

Anthony Giannotti, one of the owners of Bottle and Barlow, gives a haircut earlier this year. Giannotti’s entire seven-person barber staff of independent contractors quit rather be reclassified as employees, he said. It’s one of the first local dominoes to fall as a result of state Supreme Court’s decision in April of Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court, which redefined who can work as an independent contractor.
Anthony Giannotti, one of the owners of Bottle and Barlow, gives a haircut earlier this year. Giannotti’s entire seven-person barber staff of independent contractors quit rather be reclassified as employees, he said. It’s one of the first local dominoes to fall as a result of state Supreme Court’s decision in April of Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court, which redefined who can work as an independent contractor. Bee file

Bottle and Barlow is going through final preparations this week as this combination bar/barbershop readies to open Saturday in the high-profile Warehouse Artist Lofts development on R Street.

The large, ground-floor space (with artists lofts on the floors above) will feature an expansive bar, plenty of outdoor seating, a separate room with six barber chairs, custom-built furniture and plenty of other touches by interior designer Whitney Johnson.

Bottle and Barlow has some serious star power behind it, including local barber Anthony Giannotti (of always-busy Anthony’s Barbershop) and well-respected bar talent Jason Wilde. Also in on the ownership are Kimio Bazett and Jonathan Modrow of Hook & Ladder and The Golden Bear.

Bottle and Barlow leads a surge in openings this week at WAL, including Metro Kitchen and Drinkery and Fish Face, a quick and casual poke bar by Billy Ngo of Kru fame. Both are in the adjacent building at WAL in the public market, which has a large patio out front on a converted loading dock.

When I stopped by today, Giannotti was giving a haircut to Andrew Calisterio, the cocktail phenom who moved to Phoenix last year. He was in Sacramento visiting and arranged for a haircut from his favorite barber. Giannotti, along with Jason Dunn, have moved from the shop on 21st Street to Bottle and Barlow and now accept appointments for cuts via the website.

Tonight is one of three preview events as the staff dials in its service skills and makes tweaks ahead of the official opening this weekend.

Bottle and Barlow has been highly anticipated for many months, in part because of the unusual bar-and-barbershop concept and because it promises to continue to elevate the standards among local bars. The staff education alone is unusually intense, featuring eight days of training and a rigorous testing program prior to opening. There were also extensive blind tastings of every spirit in the bar to ensure that quality won out over a label’s reputation.

Who is Bottle and Barlow’s target audience? In addition to those making appointments for haircuts with Giannotti, Dunn and company, the bar is expected to offer something for everybody, from those dropping by dressed in office attire to customers stopping in clad in T-shirts and shorts.

“There has been a lot of effort and a lot of thought put into everything,” Bazett said. “But at the end of the day, it’s just a high-quality neighborhood bar.”

Johnson says the color scheme is limited to two shades of gray and camel/mocha. In addition to numerous seats at the lengthy bar, there is a mezzanine upstairs behind the bar that will offer a touch of privacy along with a view of most of the action below. There is even plenty of style and a touch of nostalgia in the restrooms, which feature enlarged posters of local punk rock concerts through the years.

Bottle and Barlow will be open weeknights from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. and weekends from noon to 2 a.m. The barbershop will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

While much of the attention is on Bottle and Barlow, both Metro Kitchen and Fish Face are hosting preview events tonight prior to opening in the days ahead.

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, @Blarob

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