Friday, May 27, 2011

Lucky 13?

A new wine bar called 1313 Main opened today in downtown Napa, after years of construction and anticipation--at least from me.

1313 Main in September, 2010.
I've been walking past the storefront for ages, watching and wondering as its sleek modern shape emerged from the rubble of the former Main Street Martial Arts building (see pic of that old Napa fixture here).  I snapped the picture to the right last September when it looked like the wine bar was nearly ready to open, but nothing more seemed to happen until this spring. I spied people moving around inside, sitting at the bar, and lighting up the place, and now at last, with little fanfare, the wine bar is officially open for business.

It's strange to me that the place hasn't publicized its opening more.  Napa Patch posted an informative piece about it this morning, describing the key players in the game, and an overview of the wine bar and retail operations.  But other than that, I haven't heard a peep about it... which is completely insane. Any place that pours Kistler, Conundrum, and Caymus by the glass should be on every Napa wine lover's hitlist.  Especially since they also have what sounds like a kickass selection of unique lots purchased by owner Al Jabarin at Premiere Napa Valley: Coup de Foudre, Cain, Larkmead, among others.

Al also owns CalWine the retail store, which he started as in 1993 with an initial investment of $5000, and expanded to brick and mortar operations (at the corner of First Street and Silverado Trail) in 2006.  1313 Main is his latest creation, presenting a very different, very sexy new opportunity to enjoy wine.  The space looks amazing, with a multitude of seating options to suit all moods.  Cozy fireplace lounge, check. Counter seats at polished granite bar, check.  Communal bar table, check.  Private rooms for secretive high rollers and special events, check (x2).  "Speakeasy" area with leather and wood bench seating, check. Back patio seating, ch-- well actually, that's not opening until later this summer. But open it will.

According to the website, 13 white wines and 13 reds are available by the taste, glass, and bottle, with 13 craft beers standing by for non-vinous refreshment.  Local chef Sarah Scott, who recently collaborated with forager Connie Green on the excellent Wild Table cookbook, and who was the executive chef at Robert Mondavi Winery for 13 years (props for the team's ability to stick with this theme!), has created the food side of the wine bar menu.  Plates of charcuterie and cheeses from wine country favorites Fatted Calf and Cowgirl Creamery will feature prominently here, but I'm confident Sarah will pull out a few original creations as well. Perhaps some porcini mushroom butter?

1313 Main plans to be open seven days a week, from 11am-10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11am-midnight on Friday-Saturday.  Check it out and let me know what you think.