I've always been of the belief that wine is for the snooty: "Tut tut Chaz & I tried a 2003 Pinot at the vineyards this weekend" and "Fuck merlot" & such. Though I know it's an outdated, Paul Giamatti-driven stereotype, I just can't shake the feeling that wine's a rich, haughty man’s game. That's why when I learned that Terroir, a wine bar with locales in Tribeca, the East Village & Murray Hill was moving into the space formerly occupied by my once-favorite Park Slope bar, Great Lakes (R.I.P.), I once again found myself thinking, There goes the neighborhood.
Terroir is looking to open within the next week or so, and this past Saturday I got a chance to stop by & chat with Allison Whittinghill, a Terroir veteran who will manage the front of the house for the new Park Slope locale. By the time I left, she'd managed to quell most of my initial misgivings.
The basic deal with the Terroir mini-chain is that it's run by Paul Grieco and Marco Canora, two dudes who first achieved acclaim with Hearth, their East Village restaurant that was nominated for a James Beard award for "Best New Restaurant" back in '03. A few years later, they expanded, opening the first Terroir in an adjacent space, before opening additional Terroir locales in Tribeca & Murray Hill. This summer, they added an outpost at the High Line. When it came to expanding into Brooklyn, Allison said they felt that Park Slope was the best-suited neighborhood for their style & personality and, as it was, there's not an overabundance of wine bars in the hood.
Photo via Serious Eats/Brent Herring
As for that style & personality, Grieco is known for both his crazy-ass beard and for creating an atmosphere where folks aren't intimidated by wines; one that makes the wine bar experience both fun and educational. Terroir's slogan is "the elitist wine bar for everyone," & Grieco does quirky shit like dubbing this past summer "The Summer of Riesling," where Riesling was the only white wine they had available by the glass. He's definitely walking the line between fun & pretentious, one of those "I‘m-serious-but-I-don't-take-myself-too-seriously" types.
This year, Grieco's efforts were rewarded, as he won the 2012 James Beard award for "Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional." It's safe to say that he & Terroir come to Park Slope with somewhat of a reputation.
The look of the Park Slope space is similar to that of their other locations, with a rustic, exposed brick feel, clean tables & chairs, and a sleek, long bar with bottle-after-bottle of wine behind it.
They've kept the ceilings and one of the bathrooms from the Great Lakes days and, for Park Slope, have even included a regular-level table (as opposed to the typical high tables with stools) to accommodate the family set. At some point, they plan to open up the entire front space with a roll-up gate. It should be fun for about a week or two before the cool weather starts kicking in. All told, the space seats sixty-five.
The wine menu will obviously be extensive, with fifty wines by the glass (about half white, half red) and fifty wines by the bottle. By the glass, the prices range from $8 all the way up to $20, with a handful of glasses available for $6 per glass during the 5-6pm (possibly 5-7pm) happy hour. If you want to try out a few different wines, you can get a flight of them. You like sherry? During happy hour they offer FREE sherry because they love it so much that they want everybody to drink it. For wine-averse types like myself, they'll offer a mix of six local & international beers.
As for the food, Marco Canora's menus embrace the farm-to-table philosophy, with dishes that rely heavily on local greenmarkets. The Park Slope menu will be similar to the other locales, featuring bar snacks, charcuterie, cheese, bruschetta, panini, salads & dishes like Braised Pork Belly with Kraut. Head chef Allison Furey will oversee the kitchen.
They'll be open at 5pm during the week, and at noon on the weekends, when they'll serve lunch. The kitchen will be open til midnight Thursday-Saturday and 11pm the rest of the week, while the bar will be open til 1am on Thursday, 2am on Friday/Saturday & midnight the rest of the week.
Will Park Slope embrace their style and personality? Y'all tend to walk the line between fun & pretentious quite gracefully, so I can't see why not.
Terroir, 284 5th Ave (at 1st St)
Read way more from Shawn at eatdrinksnack.com & eatdrinktaco.com.