If you’re shopping for a unique bottle of wine or a locally produced spirit, there’s a new shop on Broadway with shelves stocked with just what you're looking for. Baker Wine & Spirits opened earlier this month at 440 Broadway, bringing a hand-selected inventory of wine and spirits to the Baker neighborhood. The opening is part of a growth spurt on Broadway between 4th and 5th Streets that includes Dae Gee Korean barbecue, the Wizard’s Chest, Fat Jack’s Supersubs and Banded Oak Brewing Company.
Baker Wine & Spirits is the work of friends Tim Martin and Lawrence Slade, who co-owned Vino Vino, a similar store at 1400 East Hampden Avenue in Cherry Hills Village. They were in business there for four years before closing last December to move to the current location, formerly a Family Dollar store.
“It feels great,” Martin says. “The neighborhood has come out to support us in a big way. We want to bring something fun to the neighborhood that we love and have played in forever.”
“This is our new chapter,” Slade adds. “We certainly have high expectations for what Broadway is doing. We’re just really excited to be in Baker on Broadway. I live a couple blocks away. This place was such a dead zone for so long, and now there’s really fun things.”
Martin and Slade have assembled a collection of hard-to-find bottles of wine and interesting spirits, offering them in a friendly, comfortable neighborhood environment. Even though wine, spirits and beer can be intimidating, the two want to make it easy to choose something unique. “There’s also a lot of pretense,” Martin says, of the wine business. “We want to be the antithesis of that. We want people to come here and have a conversation and feel comfortable about telling us what they like without any kind of filter. We don’t judge people according to what they drink.”
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To maintain that unpretentious atmosphere, they kept some of the furniture from their previous store, including a vintage jukebox that plays their record collection. Guests can select a song and listen to it while they shop. “Things that are old still have value,” Slade says. “Even though you can have twice as many songs in an iPod, the jukebox sounds a little bit deeper.”
An old piano, used as a tasting table at the old store, will continue that tradition at the new one. “Someone was trying to throw it away,” Martin explains, “so we used it as a tasting area. It was a a place to congregate and get everybody around it. We’re just attached to it.”
Some of the shelves are new, some were custom-made, and some also made the move from the old shop. “It’s just kind of a collection of stuff, kind of like all the stuff we’re selling,” Slade says. “It’s just a wide disbursement of things that are worth collecting and looking at.”
While some of the products at Baker Wine & Spirits are new and exciting, some are age-old favorites deemed too traditional not to carry. “The craft movement is really great,” Martin says, “but there’s also a lot of stuff with a lot of history, and it’s really important that that doesn’t get lost. We have a good mix of new stuff, very historic stuff, and things from places that are just fun to go to.”