NYC’s first combo retail wine and liquor store and bar just opened in fort Greene, and is a lovely way to combine two vital endeavors in one visit
by Evan Monroe
As a general rule, we are adherents to the Algonquin Round Table journalism code that encourages drinking not merely with story idea discussions, but just about any post 4 o’clock in the afternoon activity, whether it’s dining, shopping, or merely contemplating. Gratifyingly, the concept of combining alcoholic beverages with ostensibly unrelated activities is gaining ground, whether it’s at Molasses Books on Hart Street in Bushwick to the East Village’s Blind Barber haircut tery and associated speakeasy.
What was unknown in this burg, however, at least until very recently (and almost unaccountably), was a combination of retail alcohol sales and bar a gaping market hole has at last been addressed. Wine Legend, a family owned and operated wine retailer with locations throughout New Jersey, has now opened its first city destination on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Fleet Place in Fort Greene. The modern, glass enclosed corner space, on the street level of the new high rise residential building The Giovanni, houses almost zanily au courant, Logan’s Run like retail racks, with a likewise cleanly designed bar top. The industrial look, with its exposed ductwork, is accentuated by abstract pieces by Brooklyn artist Tony “Rubin” Sjöman.
Visitors can grab high end wines by the glass or in one or two ounce tastes, all through a Coravin system. There’s also a Seven day Happy Hour (that starts at 11 a.m.!), among other offerings. The retail spirit selection is comprised of names like Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, Macallan scotch, and Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac, along with a “Two for $30” wall, Wine Legend Picks, and a wine room dedicated to high end vintages and liquors.
Owner Mahesh Lekkala (seen at right) also made cocktail culture part of the show including modern takes on classics like The Myrtle (pale ale, lemon, and fresh candied ginger garnished over rocks) and the Bird (Hennessy VSOP Cognac, absinthe, and Peychaud’s Bitters).
The food menu, by Chef Bryan Gregg (of Montclair, New Jersey’s Escape restaurant fame), features small plates, meats, and cheeses. Items include crostinis such as Crab Salad, Fresno chilies, and basil blossoms, a Pressed “Duck and Brie” sandwich, and thinly sliced raw Black Bass, with tomato juice, chilies, and borage. There will also be a daily dessert selection.
Wine tastings, in store seminars with guest winemakers, and a delivery service are also available, and bar customers can place orders directly from an app through a pictured barcode on each table.
Store hours are seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., while the bar is open (likewise seven days) from 11 to 6 for lunch and happy hour, and 6 until 10 for dinner service. The bar typically stays open until midnight.
Wine Legend the Store & The Bar
166 Myrtle Avenue / 347.422.0015 / winelegend.com/ny