The East Bay is flooded in fantastic white wine bars, like Ordinaire, the Punchdown, Bay Grape as well as Snail Bar. Nearly all of them, nonetheless, are concentrated in Oakland. Currently, one is concerning El Cerrito– and also its proprietor believes it will certainly be that city’s only white wine bar.The new place, Exchange, is slated to open in late 2021 or very early 2022 at 10368 San Pablo Ave., in the space previously inhabited by art school Handcraft Studio. Owner Claire Sullivan states it will certainly include not-too-funky all-natural white wines, herb style and also a light food menu.
“If I opened a white wine bar, it was constantly going to remain in El Cerrito,” claims Sullivan. “It seemed like there was a real opportunity right here.” (An additional red wine bar in the city, Scene, is presently closed.)
Sullivan has some major Bay Location a glass of wine pedigree: Her parents are Sylvie as well as Michael Sullivan, co-founders of Beaune Imports, which imports several of Europe’s most renowned red wines right into the UNITED STATE such as Burgundy’s Domaine des Comtes Lafon and also Domaine de Montille. She says she’s constantly been passionate regarding red wine yet wished to forge her own path instead of join the household organization.
Rather, Sullivan spent the last few years working for Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse. While she started working as a backwaiter at the dining establishment throughout university, she’s now in a fundraising role for Seas’ Edible Schoolyard Job, an initiative that teaches schoolchildren concerning food and agriculture.
Throughout the pandemic, nevertheless, Sullivan began reassessing her professional objectives. “It had constantly been a dream to open my own little area,” she says. “It had not been till a few months ago that I even thought the wild, wild imagine opening up a red wine bar might develop into a reality.”
Small talk is inspired by the various other East Bay red wine bars and shops that Sullivan appreciates, such as Bay Grape as well as Minimo. There will certainly be both a retail element and a bar; the corkage cost for opening up a bottle on-site will be $10 greater than the market price. That’s lower than the corkage fee at numerous various other comparable models throughout the Bay Location, which are generally closer to $15 or $20.
But that’s part of the beauty of remaining in more-affordable El Cerrito, Sullivan claims. “If I had San Francisco rent out to pay, it would certainly be various.”
She and also her fiance, Devin Hohler, that is assisting with the buildout, are putting in a complete cooking area. There will be conventional wine-bar snacks like olives, cheese and charcuterie, but additionally a lot more substantial price like sandwiches, salads and also “one warm recipe,” Sullivan states. She hopes individuals will certainly have the ability to stop in for both a laid-back mid-day glass and a much more considerable dish.
As for the white wines, Sullivan doesn’t have specifics yet regarding what will certainly be on deal, but she does know that the option will certainly drift towards low-intervention as well as natural glass of wines, with an emphasis on natural and also biodynamic farming.
“I want to state natural, however I also don’t want to say all-natural on the funkiest side of the range,” Sullivan states. “It will be concentrated on well-balanced glass of wines with good acidity.” This listing will not be fetishizing the rare; people who just desire a familiar-sounding glass of Cabernet or Pinot will locate something right here, she promises.
Though most of the potential areas she saw in El Cerrito were situated in strip malls, Sullivan was attracted to this set because it is a standalone building as well as has great deals of all-natural light. Along with the cooking area, she as well as Hohler are putting in a reclaimed-wood bar. The aesthetic will certainly include “neutral elements with steel accents,” she claims. And there will be plants– great deals of plants.
Even more information will become Sullivan gets closer to opening. She’s sent her liquor certificate application, as well as states the city of El Cerrito has appeared encouraging so far.
As word has gradually gone out, responses from the neighborhood have actually been really favorable, Sullivan claims. “Individuals are excited to have a community a glass of wine bar that they do not have to go to Oakland or Berkeley for.”
Esther Mobley is The San Francisco Chronicle’s white wine doubter. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Esther_mobley