Opening right now at 3pm today is a completely new kind of wine bar, ~BARRIQUE~, in Jackson Square. In fact, it’s America’s first private-label wine establishment dedicated to serving wine via its proprietary Cask Delivery System®. So instead of an array of bottles to choose from, guests will be greeted by 18 barriques—yup, you’re going to be tasting directly from the barrel (although there will be 100 international wines available by the bottle, ranging from cult classics to small, family-owned wineries). What’s interesting is you’re kind of tasting the wines blind: you’ll learn the varietal, and appellation, but not the producer. Owner Jim Howell said he wanted to take wine marketing, branding, and ratings out of the equation, and offer the consumer the opportunity to really focus on the taste of different wines and appellations instead.
There are currently nine wines available, with another nine barriques coming soon. The wines in barrique are all Californian, and high quality, primarily from Napa and Sonoma (for now). For example, there are currently two chardonnays (oaked and un-oaked), a Napa cabernet, and a Chalk Hill cab. This all translates to lower prices: the wines will run from $7-$14 by the glass, and are also available in a half-carafe or carafe. There will also be four beers on tap, rotating after a couple kegs (there are currently some selections from Oregon and Maryland, but California kegs are next). You’ll be able to snack on some artisanal salumi, cheese, and other light fare as well.
The 49-seat historical space is more than 100 years old, and was designed by Gi Paoletti. You’ll note original redwood beams, beautiful masonry work, and brick walls they uncovered. The floors are stained concrete, warmed up with the stained white oak cabinets and barn doors for the wine storage, along with special LED strip lighting. The front room features contemporary red chairs and cocktail tables, while the main room features chic, white chairs in a variety of two-tops and four-tops with loveseats. (The bathroom is really elegant as well.) There’s also a bar where guests can stand, and a glassed-in room that will be dedicated to housing long-term storage lockers for guests (there will be room for 12 bottles). And coming soon is a small back patio shielded by the surrounding buildings, with room for four or five tables.
They used very sustainable practices in the build-out, and are the first restaurant/bar in San Francisco to utilize the LifeSource® water filtration technology, which reduces the amount of cleaning agents for their glasses by 52%. There will also be a wine club with a customizable format, almost like a winery. And upcoming classes and tastings are in the works. Hours are Tue-Sat 3pm-10pm.