TAMPA — In the mood for bubbles? Feel like something fizzy? Then listen up: Tampa’s highly anticipated Champagne bar Bouzy is now open in Hyde Park Village.
The restaurant and lounge specializing in all things bubbly is the latest from Cru Hospitality Group, which has a busy (and boozy) month ahead: In the coming weeks, they’ll open both Small Giant, a neighborhood tavern and restaurant, and the wine shop Wine on Water at Water Street Tampa, marking the newest additions to the burgeoning development.
But first, here’s everything to know about Hyde Park’s bubbly opening.
For more than a decade, Palma Ceia’s Cru Cellars has been the go-to for approachable and unique wine finds in South Tampa. Husband and wife team Torrey and Jen Bingham — who are both owners and sommeliers — opened their flagship location on MacDill Avenue back in 2010, later expanding with offshoots at Armature Works’ Heights Public Market and in the Westshore Marina District.
Plans for Bouzy were hatched roughly three years ago but, as with so many other local businesses, the team hit a few pandemic-induced snags and delays along the way. Renovations on the building, which is located at 1640 Snow Ave., have been underway for the better part of the last year. The restaurant and bar finally opened Monday between the Hyde House Public Studio and Clean Juice.
Cru Restaurant Group has grown substantially over the last couple of years and now includes 70 employees. As the group staffs up for their Water Street openings, they expect to hire an additional 50 people. The company is also now one of the only (if not the only) local restaurant group of its size to offer its staff paid maternity leave.
Dining and drinking at Bouzy is an intimate affair. Though the aesthetic is modern, the roughly 2,500-square-foot space also evokes a 1920s vibe, with antique mirrors serving as a backdrop behind a winding marble bar, which snakes through the space past an open kitchen overlooking the elegant dining area. Banquettes and two-tops hug the walls, and there are gold accents throughout, including several large chandeliers, designed to emulate Champagne bubbles.
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Partially because of the unique layout, there’s no standing area in the bar, and guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis, either at the bar or at one of the tables along the wall, which together include seating for approximately 35 people.
If guests follow that path along the bar to the rear of the building, there’s an additional speakeasy-style Champagne cellar with room for approximately 35 more people. It can be reserved up to one month in advance for private parties and gatherings. Guests can also choose to dine outside on the restaurant’s patio, which seats an additional 25 people.
Jen Bingham is a self-proclaimed bubbles enthusiast — the bar is named for the small French village of Bouzy, a community with less than a thousand residents that is home to several Champagne houses and “in perpetual celebration of champagne,” according to the restaurant’s menu.
Bingham’s carefully curated selection will have even the most bubble-averse drinkers curious with a list featuring 80 bottles of sparkling selections, 60 of which are Champagne. The bottle menu is exclusively from France and America, a nod to Bingham’s personal preference, and includes a big emphasis on so-called grower Champagnes, artisan selections from the Champagne region of France, typically produced and bottled by the same people and families who grow the grapes.
The menu includes five to six Champagnes by the glass, six sparkling wines by the glass (including prosecco and pet-nat varieties) and 10 wines by the glass. To help customers better understand — and learn about — what they’re drinking, the menu includes QR codes linked to full descriptions for each bottle.
It’s not all bubbles and wine: Bouzy will also feature a full liquor bar and a drinks program with 14 cocktails, three or four of which will feature Champagne, said Cru Hospitality Group CEO Kyle King.
The rest of the list will feature riffs on classic cocktails, including the Riviera Daiquiri ($15) made with Wray & Nephew Overproof rum, Giffard Banana de Bresil and lime; and the Nouveau Carré ($16), which features High West Double rye, Calvados, Cocchi Rosa Americano, Benedictine and Allspice Dram.
“For us, it was a passion project,” King said. “It was, ‘What do we enjoy drinking?’”
Executive chef Eric Bach, who previously worked as the executive sous chef at Bern’s Steak House and most recently at Cru Cellars, is helming the menu at Bouzy, which features a list of French-inspired small and shared plates.
On the higher end, the menu features a caviar service and several seafood towers (plateaus de mer) featuring a selection of East and West Coast oysters, mussels, crabs and shrimp served with a kimchi cocktail sauce, homemade XO sauce and drawn butter. Guests have the option of two sizes: petite ($110) or grande ($185).
The menu includes snacks like a caviar sandwich ($18), cheese and charcuterie boards ($21 to $23), a snapper crudo served with allium ash, avocado, apple and fermented peppers ($19) and a smoked beef tartare served with black garlic mustard, house-cured jerky and lavash ($22). Larger plates include entrees like lobster bao buns ($25) and a miso-glazed steamed grouper with forbidden rice and Champagne foam ($39) as well as several large-format dishes meant to share, including a dry-aged duck served in a Parmesan brodo with artichokes and spinach Florentine ($46).
A small selection of desserts includes a lemon tartlet with pistachio and meringue ($12), a chocolate budino with macerated berries ($12) and a baba au rum ($14).
Bouzy is currently open daily starting at 4 p.m. The restaurant and bar will eventually serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Reservations for parties up to 8 people can be made through Tock here. Public parking is available at the Hyde Park Village parking garages.