For Bobby Stuckey, co-founder of Frasca Food and Wine, Pizzeria Locale and Tavernetta, Sundays are a day off from the restaurant world, often spent listening to music and sharing wine with his wife, Danette. With his latest venture, Sunday Vinyl, his goal is to capture those relaxing Sundays — but in a way that will be familiar to guests of the restaurateur's other posh eateries.
Sunday Vinyl opens, appropriately, this Sunday, December 22, and is the first non-Italian location for the restaurant group. Built into the space previously occupied by Local(ish) Market at 1803 16th Street, the wine bar boasts an audiophile's dream collection of turntables, speakers and other high-tech gear intended to deliver a listening experience as profound as the fermented juice in the bottles. Those into rare and collectible equipment will appreciate the McIntosh turntables (one atop the bar and two vertical players mounted on the wall) and amps, the Sonus Faber speakers standing like sculptures at the far end of the dining room, and the directional sound system that delivers the same sound quality to every seat in the house.
Stuckey, along with director of operations Justin Williams (whom many will recognize as the GM at Tavernetta) and other members of team, are slowly building the wine bar's vinyl collection; right now it's a small but eclectic mix of vintage rock first pressings, jazz, blues, hip-hop, reggae and punk (leaning more toward the Clash than hardcore). Wine director Carlyn Carr and lead sommelier Clara Klein have built an accompanying wine list of French, German and New World wines ranging from Rhone classics to brash California upstarts. But if you want Italian wine, you'll have to head next door to Tavernetta.
Stuckey explains that the entire drinks roster is intended be tight and tied into the food menu. You won't find multi-ingredient cocktails, but just a short list of spirits best served neat. Two beers, two Normany ciders and a sprinkling of sherry, vermouth, calvados and cognacs round out the offerings. "We don't need to be the Cheesecake Factory of beverages," he notes.
A menu of snacks, small plates and entrees from chef Charlie Brooks, an alumnus of New York's Gramercy Tavern who has been with the Tavernetta team for a little over a year, continues the tradition of excellence started at Frasca way back in 2004. Brooks says his inspiration comes from France and other Western European culinary regions, and dishes have been designed so that customers can either enjoy nibbles with wine or indulge in a full dinner. Prices top out at $35 for a plate of substantially sized lamb chops with romesco sauce and broccoli rabe.
Designed by Semple Brown, the interior feels similar to that of Frasca in Boulder, with a muted color palette and widely spaced tables to give guests ample room. Booths in the dining room are set into arched alcoves facing out onto Union Station's train platform. Stuckey says the entire experience is designed to evoke the cosmopolitan centers of Europe, where he researched wine bars before opening his own.
Sunday Vinyl will spin records and pour wine from 4 to midnight nightly, with reservations accepted through Tock.