More than a year after owners announced the new venture, the highly anticipated Bayou Wine Garden, a Mid-City neighborhood wine bar and restaurant, is slated to open adjacent to its adjoining sister Bayou Beer Garden in mid-January.
After earning the support of neighbors and getting a quick thumbs up from New Orleans City Council last December, the original opening date was set for Fall 2015. It’s taken longer than anticipated, however, to get the wine bar’s liquor license, said owning partner David Demarest.
“Our issue right now is our state liquor license comes through tomorrow and so we can order alcohol, but the city liquor license that allows us to sell alcohol, they don’t give you a time date on that,” Demarest said.
Demarest said that the city will issue its liquor license within two to six weeks. Other than that, he added, Bayou Wine Garden is ready for customers.
“That’s it, we’re completely finished,” he said. “All the staff is hired, and we have been training our staff as well.”
The restaurant and wine bar will feature 30 to 40 house-made charcuterie items, around forty cheeses, with a variety of flatbreads, sandwiches, and salads. It will also have 24 wines on tap and over 100 bottles of wine to choose from.
Demarest said the ambiance of Bayou Wine Garden will change between day and night.
“It will be setup almost like an “old-world deli” during the day, where you can come in and buy charcuterie or Coppa or Prosciutto and stuff like that,” Demarest said, adding that at night, it will transition into a traditional wine bar.
Demarest said cocktails will be created with the help of the former bar chef from Maurepas Foods, a Bywater restaurant that closed back in October.
“Paige Chauvin will be doing our cocktail program over there and Brian Bonner, who is a (former) manager at Root. will be doing all our wine over there as well, along with myself,” Demarest said.
Although Bayou Wine Garden will have an adjoining bridge to Bayou Beer Garden, and both will have patios outside, the two restaurants and bars will be different, Demarest noted. He said the wine garden has “rustic industrial” features that set it apart from the beer garden’s more sporty nature.
“The floors were pulled out of the port of New Orleans. The bar top is like a 300 year old cypress tree,” he said about the wine garden. “So it’s set up to mirror itself in that way but architecturally speaking it will capture more of a classic New Orleans older feel.”
Demarest said that he hopes Bayou Wine Garden will attract customers for lunch to try some of the European-inspired food items on the menu, such as sandwiches that are “more reminiscent of Italy or Spain,” to go with the restaurant’s airy “patio feel.”
“You can come in and pick your wine off the shelf and buy it at the bar and get glasses and order your food and go sit outside and we’ll bring it all to you,” Demarest said.
To visit Bayou Wine Garden’s website, click here.