Three veterans of various and wonderful bars and restaurants around town have teamed up to open a wine-focused bar on Capitol Hill.
La Dive, pronounced “La Deeve,” is set to open this fall at 721 East Pike. Co-owner Kate Opatz, also half of the team behind nearby neodives Montana and Nacho Borracho, specifically sidesteps the term “wine bar” because of its formal connotation. She and fellow owner Anais Custer are planning a handful of frozen wine-based cocktails like friesling (aka riesling and white peach vodka) and frojolais, a blend of beaujolais, raspberry, and campari that definitely wins on both the flavor and portmanteau fronts. La Dive's other focus will be its list of “reasonably priced, mostly natural” wines, says Opatz. The low-lit digs will also serve vodka sodas, shots and a beer, and other non-wine beverage situations.
Custer—the woman behind the Garbage People Love Wine popup, who has also been a gracious front of house presence at places like Mbar—will mostly be behind the bar, says Opatz, and set the tone for the place: "She's funny, hospitable, and passionate about wine."
The bar's name nods to a French wine festival often equated to Burning Man for natural wine. Opatz says the vibe will be “welcoming and warm,” though decor plans call for a mural by local artist Jennifer Ament, so probably best you don't scratch your name on the walls here a la Opatz’s original bar, Montana.
The third member of La Dive's trio, David Gurewitz, will oversee the food. I’ll miss his sandwich sensibilities over at Standard Brewing, but the alum of Spinasse and Lark (where he and Opatz met) says he'll "pay homage to some forgotten classics from America's repertoire," perhaps a chicken in a pot made with quail, or riffs on midcentury cocktail parties (though he promises no Jell-O with mayonnaise). Also on his agenda: investigating traditions that range from Russian zakuski to smorgasbord, tapas, and dim sum. Yes, that summation is crazy broad, but also an indication of Gurewitz's food brain, and I look forward to see how it actually manifests on a menu.
La Dive is aiming for an October open. In a year that's already provided a wealth of cool new bars, this place sounds like a refreshing midpoint between dive and destination.