Article by Paul Redman
Chez Phinney is a brand-new wine bar opening up right in the heart of Phinney Ridge. A labor of love from longtime neighborhood residents Julie and Andrew Goldstein, Chez Phinney promises to be unlike anything else in the area.
The first thing to know is that Chez Phinney will be a self-serve wine bar, where customers can select their own wines in one, three or five ounce pours, which will be dispensed out of a special self-pour system. The wine list will focus mainly on small producers from the Pacific Northwest and Europe, with special attention given to women and minority winemakers.
How did the Goldsteins arrive at opening a wine bar in this neighborhood, at this time?
The short answer is that they love wine and the casual wine bars they frequent in Europe, especially London, where Julie traveled regularly during her career with Nordstrom. And while Andrew’s experience isn’t explicitly hospitality-based either—Andrew worked in digital effects for Sony—they felt like this was the right time to forge ahead with something they have always wanted to do.
Chez Phinney will be an intimate space with indoor and outdoor bistro style seating, an open galley kitchen that will start out serving simple items like olives, nuts, breadsticks, and, down the line, expanded offerings like local cheeses.
Customers will also have the opportunity to bring their own food or have it delivered from the plethora of nearby restaurants, including a pizza from Cornuto, gumbo from 74th Street Ale House, or even fried-chicken from the new concept that the owners of Opus and Co. are getting ready to open in their space.
In the future, expect there to be collaborations with other businesses. There could be winemaker tastings, or weekend collaborations with food operations from the area.
By this point, some craft beer drinkers might be getting nervous with all this talk of wine, but they shouldn’t be. Chez Phinney will also have four beers on tap, focusing on smaller producers, including potentially beers made right in the neighborhood.
In terms of prices, expect most glasses of wine to be in the $10-15 dollar range for a three or five ounce pour. There will be more affordable offerings, in the $8 range, and also higher-end pours that might go for $20.
The beauty of their European-designed self-pour system, with a 24-bottle capacity, is that the opened bottles are kept fresh with an inert gas (argon), which prevents them from spoiling for up to thirty days, not that they expect a bottle to sit around for that long.
And that gets to the heart of what the Goldsteins want to share with their neighbors: a love of unusual or hard-to-get wines. Don’t expect there to be the kind of wines you find at the grocery store here. The Goldsteins hope that customers might start with a one-ounce pour of something they’ve never tried, which might lead them to order a larger serving. Or to try several wines in one sitting, without getting too tipsy.
Another goal they have is to demystify the wine experience, foregoing the pretentiousness that can sometimes accompany it. Expect a casual atmosphere with a friendly staff. They want to extend their love of the neighborhood—and wine—with this unique new business model that couldn’t come at a better time, for them or for us.