One current dining craze in Paris is the cave a manger—a wine retail shop that doubles as a casual restaurant specializing in wine-friendly food.
I was vaguely aware of that trend, but I only learned the term yesterday, when the Local Vine’s PR guy used it to describe the concept of the new Capitol Hill Local Vine. The wine bar will open in the Trace Lofts (between Barrio and Tavern Law, holy highend bar crawl) in mid-September.
Back in May, Local Vine owners Allison Nelson and Sarah Munson learned they would be forced to close their business because of structural issues in the McGuire building. They set about looking for a new space, eventually settling on a retail spot in the Trace building—it previously housed the short-lived Pizza Fusion.
Nelson and Munson hired local firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the architects who designed the first wine bar, to create the second. It was an opportunity to start fresh—take what was working from the first location but tweak the stuff that could use tweaking. Belltown’s Local Vine was a sleek and modern affair, Capitol Hill’s will be a bit more homey and rustic. BCJ created a plywood wavey ceiling for the new Local Vine that recalls that at the original, and as at the first LV, “there will be a lot of red,” says Munson. The tabletops will be plywood slabs propped up by wine casks from California, the wood stained scarlet from the wine that aged inside. As at LV1, there will be a loungey area along the front wall, with a row of windows that can open up in warm weather.
But unlike at LV1, there is a distinct retail area at LV2. It, as well as a private room for large parties and wine classes, will be set apart from the main bar area by sliding doors that can be opened up to create one large space. Munson says she plans to keep inviting winemakers for weekly tastings, and with the new retail area they’ll have more room to set up a pouring station and talk to tasters.
Fans of LV1’s truffled popcorn, cheese plates, and by-the-glass offerings will be happy to see those things at the new bar, but should expect a more focused menu—this is where the cave a manger comparison comes in—with large plates as well as small and a focus on pairings. As for happy hour…that hasn’t been decided yet, says Munson, who is still musing about how to handle the always-tricky HH issue. (Seattle diners expect it, but it’s tough on the bottom line.)
The cocktail program is also getting an upgrade: We’ll see champagne cocktails and sherry mixers alongside the hard stuff. Booze education nerds will be happy to know that LV2 will offer a variety of classes. One of the first: a Spanish wines and tapas seminar with plenty of tastings.