(5712 Detroit Ave., 216-905-2533) opens next Friday in the Gordon Square neighborhood, it will likely become one of the most attractive and appealing spaces around in which to explore and enjoy wine. The two-room storefront is unrecognizable from its days as Latitude 41 thanks to six months of intensive renovation under the watchful eye of owner Lindsay Smith.
Since taking possession of the property in June, Smith has swapped out all the flooring, exposed the brick walls, installed tile accents, and fabricated an impressive bar and backbar, the anchor of which is a 29-bottle Cruvinet system that preserves and dispenses white and red wines at the optimal temperature.
The well-appointed interior is populated with eclectic furniture that melds old with new, like an acid green Victorian couch juxtaposed with a custom-built contemporary booth.
“I really wanted people to feel comfortable, so the intention was to make it feel like a living room,” says Smith, formerly Bon Appétit’s Director of Catering and Sales at the Cleveland Museum of Art. “There is enough seating for everybody’s preferences. There’s soft seating for those who want to get cozy, there’s bar seating for the bar people, and there’s the table and chairs for those who prefer that environment.”
All told, there is seating for about 60.
The heart and soul of the wine bar menu is the flights category. A trio of wines is presented in a small box along with printed cards that provide information on the wine’s country of origin, grape varietal, and tasting notes. Also listed is the retail price of the bottle, “so if you fall in love with something you’re drinking, we can add that to your check for you to take with you,” Smith states.
In addition to the flights, wines are available by the tasting pour, glass and bottle, which are sold at retail plus $12 corkage fee. Everything that is on the menu is available for purchase in the wine shop, which stocks about 400 labels.
“The idea for the space has always been that it’s a combination wine shop and bar, with both feeding off of each other,” says Smith. “The goal was to curate a retail shop that focuses on affordability and finding things that are a little off-the-beaten-path. I want to be the neighborhood wine shop.”
This neighborhood wine shop focuses on value and variety, with most bottles landing in the $12 to $35 category. A 13-under-13 section will always be stocked with taste-tested bargains for all palates.
Rounding out the menu are three Cleveland draft beers, enough booze for basic cocktails, and a small-bites roster built around olives, cheeses, meats and chocolates from Astoria, Ohio City Provisions and Lilly Chocolates.
“I think one of the things that makes us fit in so well here is that we aren’t doing another restaurant,” Smith suggests. “We’re trying to support and collaborate with the restaurant community that’s here.”
Starting next Friday, Flight Cleveland will be open Tuesday-Sunday.