The Double S Wine Bar first opened in September 2018 at 129 South Gay Street. Originally serving California wines, the list expanded to include international wines. As the pandemic progressed, owner Steven Sansone included cocktails which could be taken out. Over the years it remained at that location, Latin dance became a significant part of the success of the business, despite its relatively small size.
In April 2022 the bar closed as its lease expired, with plans to move to 300 West Magnolia. When we last spoke to him, in August of 2022, he hoped to open at the new location by the next month, September 2022. It was not to be. As is often the case, a number of delays, including difficulty getting construction work completed in a timely manner, continued to push the opening date back, building up to an eight month delay.
Steve said it has been hard, but he’s excited to move to the next phase and start serving wine and bringing back the dance and music. He said his landlords really care about what they are doing and who goes into their spaces. He added, “They have been very helpful and flexible with the delays and set backs.”
I recently caught up with him and took in the beautiful, much larger space. The capacity at the previous address was 49, while the new space can accommodate 190. The space is much more suitable for his plans, which include “more big dance socials, more live music, comedy nights.” He said comedy night are really growing around town and he’s excited about that part.
He plans to build a stage in the summer to support some of those performances, but that won’t be done at first. He’s diverted that money to more pressing needs in order to open more quickly. He’s added a VIP section for performances of “bigger artists.” He plans to have a range of music and has hired a person to do his sound and his bookings. He wants to have live music four nights a week once things get rolling and he has “five dance instructors who want to offer lessons here.” Bottom line: expect lots of events.
Noting that people loved the intimacy of the previous address, he’s tried to recreate that in the larger space. In addition to the luxury of hosting larger crowds, the new address looks to offer fewer issues with volume. His business on the 100 block of Gay Street was in a heavily residential area and his new address is much less so, so live music late at night should be more workable. The new location also offers “a sea of parking” across the street under I-40.
Other businesses should soon open in the former Free Service Tire Store building (the new location), which is being redeveloped by John Roethlisberger and John Macready. All spaces are fully leased and work is underway to move two more businesses in. Axle Logistics moved in next door in the last couple of weeks and, as the building becomes fully occupied, a new node for business will be set on Magnolia to add to the other businesses already operating there. Steven feels large steps have been made to connect this part of the area to downtown and to businesses on out Central.
Incredibly, he’s been able to keep the same staff he had at the previous location, so you’ll see familiar faces. You can also expect the same range of wines (including about 25 by the glass) and a full bar. The bar should have a wider range of liquors given the additional space. He’ll offer a full bar for cocktails and he’ll have beer (including local) for those who prefer it. Food will be similar to the original location, with “small bites and cheese plates.” Food will also be available to bring in from Tako Taco and perhaps other nearby locations.
He’s got a few things scheduled out already. “I’m starting with Brian Clay playing Live Jazz Thursdays 7-10pm on the 25th.” He also plans to have live music every Friday and Saturday, with Argentine Tango dance classes every Sun from 4 to 6 pm. Wednesdays (starting next month), he’ll offer Salsa and bachata class from 7 to 10 pm.
The business will be open from 5:00 pm to “late” every day except Sunday when it will open at 1:00 pm, and Monday when it will be closed. He said as more live music is programmed the bar will stay open until later. He plans to throw the doors open for his official opening this Friday night, May 19.
If you’d like to help him in his final push to get everything ready, he has set up a GoFundMe just to make the transition a bit more smooth after so long without income. you can keep up with the latest about the bar on Facebook and Instagram.