When The Gourmet Grape first opened 10 years ago, Jeff Durbin's partner Mike Banko wanted it to be a wine bar geared towards the younger crowd on the Halsted strip. Only Durbin didn't know much about bars, vetoed the idea, and they opened a retail store instead. Now, nearly 10 years after opening, they're finally opening a bar in the same space. On May 16, The Gourmet Grape's 10th anniversary, they will reopen as The Twisted Vine.
The Twisted Vine will focus on similar wines, low-end to high-end and everything in between, adding extensive brown liquor selections, food, and 50-55 seats. "I want to be known as a specialty bar geared towards wine and scotches and bourbons," Durbin says. "Being from Kentucky, bourbons are in my backyard. I don't want to be just a wine bar." Look for wine and bourbon flights, glasses and bottles, in the same broad varieties and price points.
The food options will be small bites, nothing will be cooked on premises. "Since we won't serve a lot of food, the items I do serve will have to be unique and exciting," Durbin says. They'll have cheeses "people have never heard of" from around the country and Europe, charcuterie, pate, and tapenades.
They'll also sell bottled craft beer and a small selection of gin and vodka. Mixed drinks will be available on request.
They're refreshing the exterior, light fixtures, signage, and adding an extra bathroom in the 1000 square-foot space. The ambiance will be soft and loungey, bar and hightop tables will account for seating.
In their 10 years in business, Durbin says the neighborhood has become more diverse than specialized, with many more couples and families broadening clientele. A party will unveil the completed rebranding around the time of the anniversary.
· The Gourmet Grape [Official Site]