The food at this new generation of wine bars is a perfect combination of fun and ambition, with dishes designed to pair with a variety of wine styles. The team has also started selling home meal kits created by Epp, which give customers a glimpse of the wine bar that will soon open its doors. The glasses must be large and, if the bar is really good, they will provide the right cup shape for the wine you order. Their collective success, which is now measured by their ability to stay in business, is the result of immense creativity and hard work, but it also shows the uniqueness of the wine bar as a flexible and especially resilient business model.
Hajcak (who also plans to open a virtual wine bar as a new source of income) has gained followers thanks to its biweekly virtual blind tastings; customers select numbered and pre-packaged wine flights on Hummingbird before arriving. Some are creative and call themselves “Enotecas” and some have the double nickname of “restaurant and wine bar”, but more and more establishments are popping up with the designation designed, presumably, to attract people in their thirties who drink wine. Instead of opening a wine bar for dinner with a long list of natural wines, Light Sleeper opened its doors in December with a menu of soups, salads and pizzas to take away. Jeremiah Stone explains that at Wildair, he and co-chef Fabian von Hauske serve more complex and robust dishes than can be found in a Parisian wine bar.
Nor is a wine bar that has a small tasting area where they sometimes (with or without notice) serve wines for customers to try. James Murphy, former leader of LCD Soundsystem and co-owner of Four Hoursemen, is one of the most unlikely proponents of New York's natural wine bar scene. Among the newcomers was L'ange Vin, Jean-Pierre Robinot's Montmartre wine bar (who now produces wine in the Loire Valley), which opened its doors in 1989 and served casual dishes such as rillettes and tartines. When Wilson and his partners decided to open their store in Chicago before the pandemic, a wine bar was being prepared with a menu by chef Ryan Epp, a former student of Alinea and the Aviary.
In Paris, Rovine says, apero culture (short for aperitif) is an integral part of wine bar culture. Beyond Paris and New York, the natural wine bar scene has flourished in Copenhagen, Tokyo, London and Sydney. Flexible business models and creative community involvement allow wine bars to remain profitable even in tumultuous times.