Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Is A Wine Bar?

This may seem like an easy question to answer, but when you are opening a wine bar it is one that must be thought through in order to refine your concept. Over the last 6 months we have visited a lot of restaurants that called themselves wine bars, and a few real wine bars. Some impressed us with their novel thinking and great presentations and others were (in our estimation) really off the mark.

Here are a few criteria that I think make a wine bar:
  • Wine should be the focus of the concept with all other offerings to support the wine.
  • It should have a distinctly different feel than a restaurant. Meaning the emphasis for the look and feel of the space should support the enjoyment of wine and offer a place with the ability to socialize without shouting over music or being forced to sit in a more formal dining style.
  • Staff should know the product and be able to assist the customer in making suggestions and answer questions about the product.
  • It should be unapologetically for adults. We love kids (and hey, we have 'em) but we want to go to a wine bar to drink wine and socialize with other adults, not wade through children wandering around or hear babies screaming.
  • A great wine bar offers wine choices based on knowledge and selection, not national press. A wine that has a great marketing campaign belongs in chain restaurants and retailers, not in a wine bar.
Your thoughts? What makes a great wine bar?


michelle said...

I think all of these ideas are spot on! One of the best wine bars I've ever been to had sofas(!), pillows, candles and a fire place. It was like I had just walked into my best friend's living room. I think "comfort" is definitely a desirable trait for a wine bar.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to come downtown and see your place. It sounds wonderful from those we spoke to at the Valentines day dinner we had with you. From the sounds of it, it is a place to go.. We can't wait..

Amy said...

It should also feel markedly different from a typical bar or pub....sophisticated, but not stuffy.

Daniel said...

It is so exciting to see what you guys are up to. While I was deployed I read about the coming wine bar. Now that I am back I am waiting with baited breath for the opening. It is great to see somebody who knows what Fredericksburg is ready for and is stepping up to fill the bill.

Olivia said...

Right On Sista!! Especially about the kids. :)

Eve said...

Outdoor seating at the wine bar is a glorious idea -- outdoors in Fred, people watching, conversation, wine! Also on board with the no kids philosophy. The kids would have more fun elsewhere, and the grown ups need a little time off now and then.