Prohibition Gastro Lounge is finally open in Powell, transforming the former decor shop into a two-story bar and restaurant with a focus on craft cocktails. The latter is what I stopped by to try this week and from what I've seen so far, this is one area where this spot excels.

Prohibition Gastro Lounge is finally open in Powell, transforming the former décor shop into a two-story bar and restaurant with a focus on craft cocktails.

The latter is what I stopped by to try this week as they continue their soft opening (they're open to the public-just emphasizing that training is still ongoing). From what I've seen so far, this is one area where this spot excels. It's no surprise, really, since the cocktail list was crafted by local bartending maven Cris Dehlavi, who lends her expertise here. She's trained the bar staff well, too, as bartenders shared stories behind the names of classic cocktails and were focused on finishing touches, like siphoning vibrant purple Crème Yvette into an Aviation so it would settle beautifully on the bottom of the glass.

All cocktails are $10 and there's a mix of signatures and classics with the year they were "invented" written beside the name in parenthesis-a fun touch especially since the drinks listed range from 1870 to 1938. Two signatures were tied for best in show: the Kentucky Rain made with Four Roses bourbon, jalapeno infused agave that lends the flavor of the pepper without the spice, lime and fleur de sel; and the Old Fashioned Elixir with Slow & Low rye whiskey orange and old fashioned bitters. The use of this rye whiskey, a strong liquor that's cut with orange and rock candy, is so smart. It gives the drink a sweet orange flavor without being too sweet or muddled with orange rind.

From the classics, I'd suggest the beautifully-balanced Mother-in-Law (ask the bartenders how this cocktail got its name) made with Old Forrester, Cointreau, Luxardo, Angostura and Peychaud's bitters.

There are some great aesthetic touches at Prohibition-gas-lamp like lanterns illuminating a neatly stocked floor to ceiling bar, a pencil-drawn mural depicting High and State streets circa 1920, a 24-tap draft beer line with a copper finish, and black walls and metallic wallpaper give it a backroom feel. But that's where the mystique ends. There's jazzy music playing, but when the restaurant is full, it's hard to hear over the noise. Two large TV screens above the bar illuminate the room, and distract from all the cool details. In a second, larger bar upstairs there are more TVs-but I'd argue this is where they work better for a more sports bar feel. I wish there was a little more lounge feel downstairs than there is now.

I didn't have a chance to venture into the menu, but what was served to tables around us looked promising. The menu is well-priced with barely an item more than $10, until you get to the four entrees (mac and cheese, salmon, chicken and steak), which go up to $19. The rest of the menu is a mix of starters, salads, flatbreads and sandwiches.