Saturday, May 26, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Bar review: Dunedin's Wine and Brew cozies up to House of Beer

If it didn't open at 7 p.m., you might think that Dunedin's Wine & Brew was a community coffee shop. It's small and cozy, decorated with the work of local artists, and it hosts a freestyle hip-hop night every week. Many of the bar orders are for tea and coffee, but the rest are mentioned right in the name of the business: Wine & Brew.

If you haven't hear of Wine & Brew, you can chalk it up to the bar's relatively low profile. Quietly opened in 2013, Wine & Brew has operated as a wine-centric chill-out spot — a counterpoint to its next-door neighbor and sister business, Dunedin House of Beer.

A few years ago, House of Beer was one of the three major beer destinations in Dunedin. Every beer fan who has spent time in Dunedin has walked what I call the "Beermuda Triangle" — from Dunedin Brewery to 7venth Sun to Dunedin House of Beer (order optional). So it only made sense when House of Beer started brewing its own brand of, well, house beer.

The next step in House of Beer's evolution was to open a bar next door, ditching the beer-only focus of the original and adding some wine into the mix. That's the deal at Wine & Brew.

Although Wine & Brew is separate from House of Beer, it's linked by a door connecting the two and a shared courtyard out back. Bouncing between the two businesses is a no-brainer, which is a plus if your party can't decide between House of Beer's extensive beer list or the rotating selection of wines next door at Wine & Brew.

Of course, there are beers at Wine & Brew too, but the selection is modest. Most of the HoB-brand beers are on tap in House of Beer proper, with only a tap or two devoted to the brewery's lineup at Wine & Brew. The big seller is HoB's Mango Hefeweizen, a fixture at Wine & Brew, along with local brews from Two Henrys, Coppertail, and Tampa Bay Brewing Co.

On its own, Wine & Brew is certainly a competent beer bar. But relative to House of Beer, it's easier to see the bar's strength as a wine bar. There are eight selections on draft, which means that every glass of these wines will remain as fresh as the first. Local wine? Yep — the Florida Winery's Vino Florida Sangria makes an appearance, both on draft and in the $6 wine slushies churning behind the bar.

For wine slushies, you can choose from the Haus White or Red Sangria. It's a bit cold for either right now, but I can see that changing soon enough. Just imagine wine slushies in the courtyard.

While I normally would skip the non-alcoholic side of the menu, I think it's worth mentioning here. Wine & Brew feels a bit like a late-night coffee shop, and it has some additional selections that fit the vibe. If you're not in the mood for wine or beer, why not order a French-press coffee? The tea selection covers plenty of ground — black, white, green, herbal — and includes a truly fantastic pearl jasmine.

Aside from the wines, brews, teas and coffees, Wine & Brew draws respectable crowds with its weekly events. The Dunedin Lyricist Society hosts a freestyle hip-hop open mic every Tuesday, while Wednesday is trivia night. Thursday is the night to visit if you love wine, as draft wines are BOGO, and there are free wine tastings every Friday.

Occasionally, Wine & Brew hosts special events, including live music and art shows like the upcoming Facing Deconstruction show on Saturday, which features the mixed-media art of Jay Titus, as well as realistic portraits by Carrie Smith.

It's smaller than its next-door counterpart, but the focus is wider, making Wine & Brew a good choice for groups who can't decide what to drink. And though it's physically attached to House of Beer, Wine & Brew is a fine bar in its own right, offering a tidy selection of wines and brews to choose from in a low-key, artsy space that feels right at home in the downtown Dunedin community.

[email protected]; @WordsWithJG.

Comments
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR — Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."It’s got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. That’s not bad." Indeed, there’s a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Published: 05/25/18
Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

It’s where former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams had lunch with current Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.It’s where University of South Florida fans often gathered to watch the program’s biggest road games.It’s where folks showed up in...
Published: 05/24/18
Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Lakeland’s a little out of the way, but I’m always eager to check out the bar scene there when passing through or attending an event. Every place I’ve visited just seems so pleasant.I regret missing the boat on the city’s first brewery, Lakeland Brew...
Published: 05/24/18
tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

The saga of Barley Mow Brewing Company and its eventual offshoot/successor Sea Drift Ales & Lagers is a complicated one. The most interesting part is how the latter came to be as a result of brewery-distributor tensions, in which Barley Mow pulled an...
Published: 05/24/18
Lee Roy Selmon’s original Tampa restaurant is closing, marking the end of an era

Lee Roy Selmon’s original Tampa restaurant is closing, marking the end of an era

Lee Roy Selmon’s, the restaurant that paid homage to the community icon who rose to fame as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and grew to become a popular civic leader, will shutter the doors of its original location on Tampa’s Boy Scout Boulevard in June.Employ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Chuck Prather, owner of the Birchwood in St. Petersburg, returned from his daughter’s Maine wedding this week with an exciting announcement of his own. On June 7 the St. Petersburg City Council is expected to sign off on him being on...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

OPEN NOW: BAHAMA BUCK’S Feel a shiver? Just in time for Florida’s sultry summer, Bahama Buck’s opened this week in Trinity with an avalanche of sno. The 2,346-square-foot island-inspired shop opened at 8815 Mitchell Blvd. with more...
Published: 05/23/18
Brunch-based alcohol will be available at First Watch’s new Orlando location

Brunch-based alcohol will be available at First Watch’s new Orlando location

ORLANDO — The popular breakfast and brunch chain First Watch will be opening a new restaurant in Orlando that will add cocktails, beer and wine to the menu. The new concept restaurant, set to open on Memorial Day at 1448 N Alafaya Trail, will be 1,00...
Published: 05/23/18
Transform your weeknight cooking with this kitchen tool

Transform your weeknight cooking with this kitchen tool

Once upon a time, way back in the annals of home cooking, there was an era before sheet-pan suppers.In that dark age, even well-equipped kitchens did not have so much as a single professional sheet pan, let alone the two or three deemed indispensable...
Published: 05/23/18
Up your homemade smoothie game with these tips

Up your homemade smoothie game with these tips

You could head to your neighborhood juice shop and order a $7 or $8 smoothie. Blending your own, however, is not only easier on your wallet, but you can customize to your heart’s content and make several batches at a time.Whether you’re making a nutr...
Published: 05/23/18