January 26, 2007
Look, Another Wine Bar

In driving down L Street last night, we noticed people in and about - mostly about - The Grand, Reda Bellarbi's new wine bar at 16th Street. Don't know if it was a private party or if the tiny Grand actually has opened, but if it was the former the place at least should be open to the public in the near future (Bellarbi was unavailable for comment).

Wine bars are opening in Sacramento at the rate of one a month. In December, Vino Volo debuted at Sacramento International Airport. This month looks like it it's The Grand's turn. Next month, L, the Wine Lounge and Urban Kitchen, is to premiere at 18th and L.

And in March, I've just learned, Vickie Allen is to expand her Discover California shop to include a wine bar featuring 20 to 30 wines by the glass each day and small plates of food. Fittingly, Discover California's Wine Bar & Tasting Room not only will be the first to go underground in cellar and cave fashion, it will reflect the current shift from beer to wine in the drinking preferences of Americans. The bar will occupy subterranean quarters memorably occupied for many years by Hogshead Brew Pub, directly under Discover California at 114 J St. in Old Sacramento.

Allen, who opened Discover California in 1992, stocking only California specialty foods and wines, has been remodeling the old Hogshead site for the past couple of months. Her sales of wines have increased sharply over the past couple of years, prompting her not only to plan the wine bar but to hire a wine specialist, John "The Wine Guy" Hicklin.

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