Old City Wine Bar Opens Next Week

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Last May I introduced many of you to Thomas Boyd who planned to open a Wine Bar in The Daniel Building- though it didn’t have that name at the time. The Old City Wine Bar also hadn’t been named and Thomas hoped to open it last October. As often happens when dealing with construction and red-tape, it took a little longer. Otherwise, the vision he detailed nine months before opening is pretty much what you’ll find on his soft opening next Wednesday. The official grand opening is the following Monday, February 8.

I met Thomas earlier this week to look around and talk about the opening and was introduced to Court of Master Sommeliers certified sommelier Matt Burk. He’s most recently worked at Corks. Thomas laughed and said he brought Matt aboard so “I wouldn’t just stock all the wines that I like.” Also joining the staff is Master Chef Sadie Daniels who studied culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island. Most recently she was a manager at Tupelo Honey. Staff will total eight people when the doors open.

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

The extent of food offerings is both surprising and delightful. Someone with a light appetite could make dinner of it and enjoy fine wines at the same time. While the wine menu isn’t yet online, the food menu is here and I’ve already spent time learning about Aubergine Terrine, Spiedies and Peruvian Ceviche (I’ll let you google them for yourself) and they all look great. Meats and cheese abound on plates and in dishes, but vegetarian options are also offered. Both meat and cheeses will be locally sourced.

Thomas explained that they built a larger kitchen than originally planned and they will also work with Jig and Reel just next door. He said the kitchen may expand later (remember the grease interceptor I mentioned yesterday?). Also featured will be in-house made crackers and rotating specials.

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Beverages will, of course, focus on wines, but the decision was made to include eight craft beers on tap and about twenty different bottles since not everyone is into wine and they want to make everyone feel welcome. About 48 different wines will be offered by the glass – a large number made possible by a cabinet bottle preservation system replacing air with nitrogen as the bottles are used. It reduces waste by allowing the wine to taste fresh after opening for up to three weeks – by which time any bottle should be long used – while allowing a wider range of tasting experiences for patrons.

The goal for the restaurant is to develop a list of wines from around the world – while keeping them approachable. The staff will be educated and happy to teach, but the emphasis really will be on the joy of the bottle, flight or glass. Not intended to be stuffy and intimidating, the goal is a convivial evening with friends. The highest priced bottle carried will come in at right around $100 – and that’s the top of 150 bottles. Most bottles will run around half that.

Owner Thomas Boyd and Sommelier Matt Burk, Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Owner Thomas Boyd and Sommelier Matt Burk, Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

The glasses will average around $10 or less and half pours will be available allowing for wider sampling without breaking the budget. Flights will also be offered and the hope is to appeal to a wide range of people who enjoy the grape – not to build a church for wine snobs. The collection should be a blend of new wines to the Knoxville market along with some more familiar labels. Thomas summed it all up, “At the end of the day, wine is just a fun beverage.”

As you can see from the photographs, the space is beautiful from the bar to the tables – both of which were built by Seth Rowlette. The metal accent tiles on the walls give the industrial space just a touch of elegance and the unusual light fixtures are fun. The wine cellar is a fantastic space and I’m really looking forward to seeing it filled with bottles. The table, which had yet to be finished when I took the photographs, is my favorite physical feature of the new bar.

Owner Thomas Boyd and Sommelier Matt Burk, Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Owner Thomas Boyd and Sommelier Matt Burk, Old City Wine Bar, 108 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2016

Utilization of the lower space is an interesting side-story. It will be used for groups by reservation and will also be the site of educational events if you really want to let your inner wine-geek out on occasion. Details haven’t been sorted out for public access to the room on a regular basis, but I bet if you ask for a peek you’ll be accommodated happily.

Beginning with the soft opening February 3, hours will be 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 4:00 PM to midnight Friday and Saturday night, with a day off for staff on Sunday. That said, Thomas pointed out with a bit of a chuckle that they will stay open later if people are there and still enjoying themselves.

So, check out their website, give them a “like” on their Facebook page and I’ll see you there next week. Tell them you saw it here.

Comments

  1. The Old City Wine Bar also hadn’t been named and Thomas hoped to open it last October. As often happens when dealing with construction and red-tape, it took a little longer. Where did you get this information?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I’m not sure what you are asking. Did you mean to comment on this post or today’s? I got my information about the wine bar from the owner – Thomas, and my information about the coming restaurant on Market Square also from the owner – Matt. Do you have a statement? I’m really confused.

  2. Went last week with girlfriends hoping to be blown away but unfortunately was underwhelmed. Two main complaints: one, poor service, only one person seemed to be waiting tables for the whole location; and two, the food was not what you would expect for wine pairings. Seriously, pickled foods and BBQ? And not very good BBQ at that. Also had cheese platter, but nothing special. The peach and bleu cheese flatbread sounded interesting but there was a giant hunk of hard peach on soggy bread and was not edible. And serving beer in a wine bar? Sacrilege!

  3. Can anyone go to the soft opening?

  4. Kristina Casalenuovo says

    This looks wonderful! I’m sure we both will enjoy a place like this!

  5. Wade Steltson says

    Lol at your “master chef.” Did you call even one reference or check to see if she was ever a gm at tupelo?!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I generally accept what I am told at a restaurant. Did you want to make a statement? I did look for your name and didn’t see it anywhere. That’s odd.

  6. Melinda Meador says

    Sounds perfect!

  7. Tammie Cole says

    I would love to see Katy Free perform at this new venue.

    http://www.katyfree.com

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I’m not sure how much live music they plan, but she would be perfect.

    • Art Wagner says

      It seemed that one of the virtues of this place was that it was NOT a music and/or performance space, but one of the few places downtown where you can go to have a decent glass of wine and a conversation not distracted by TVs or volume.

  8. Great news! The place looks beautiful and the menu sounds good too. Can’t wait to check it out.

  9. Beautiful space. Nice work guys. Looking forward to checking it out

  10. Hooray! This is so exciting!

  11. Nancy Voith says

    Hearty congrats, Thomas! I’ll especially look forward to trying some of your favorite Argentine options. So glad to have this diverse and welcoming option in the Old City.

  12. Aaron Thompson says

    I am beyond excited for this spot! Jig and Reel is my favorite food in the old city and the concept of a wine bar with this pedigree really excites me! Can’t wait to see some of my favorites down there too. Ill be there next week!

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