Wine and design are a perfect match A taste of vino and good vibes at South Austin wine bar.
By Melanie Spencer
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Motoring up or down South Lamar Boulevard, it's easy to miss the unassuming 1940s bungalow tucked behind P. Terry's Burger Stand. In recent years, the house has been a natural hair salon and a therapeutic massage business. In September, it was converted into a cozy, casual wine bar by Austinite Kerry White. Fittingly, White dubbed her new business House Wine. '(I) wanted a place for the arts, for the community,' White says. The designer-turned-wine purveyor is perched on one of the two deep love seats in the front room and is clad in a gray, belted sweater dress, textured gray tights and a pair of saucy camel-brown suede boots. 'An environment to feel comfortable, to express yourself.'
The walls of the front room are bathed in milk chocolate paint and covered in artwork from local artists, which White plans to periodically switch out. The space is furnished with contemporary pieces, including compact, cream micro-suede-covered barrel chairs, low-slung patterned arm chairs, the two love seats, plus a few modern, white side tables. The design surprise is the robin's egg-blue ceiling, a color brought in from the front porch.
"That's a color they use on the porches in the Florida Keys (to) keep the evil spirits away," White says. "It opens it up, and there is something pleasing about it."
Though the overall design scheme is contemporary, almost familiar, with a sprinkle of modern here and there, White also has incorporated the sense of whimsy, found in the blue ceiling, throughout the space.
"I wanted the place to have a feeling of permanence," White says. "But, we didn't want to do too much to it, like pristine floors and everything really sleek. I wanted it to have style but a little bit of surprise."
For example, a pop of green on the wall greets guests as they belly up to the bar, with its turquoise and brown faux wood grain (White's favorite design element). In the back room a brown wall extends across the door, morphing into a painting of a tree that stretches into a pool of burnt orange. The bathroom floors don a realistic leaf patterned tile, which creates much chatter among patrons.
"I wanted each room to have its own character, but it has a cohesive flow," White says.
The back room is split into two areas, one with espresso brown micro-suede sofas and brown leather slipper chairs and the other side with brown suede benches and white leather dining-style chairs. Modern, round, glass-topped tables with metal legs complete the look and offer a spot to rest a stemless wine glass, a locally brewed beer or a cheese plate, served in a burled wood bowl.
The bar room offers a collection of high, wooden tables and chairs, with brass tops and accents. And like the other areas, it is an intimate space, perfect for a quiet conversation with a friend or a date.
Despite not wanting to do too much to change the interior, White still had to remove a few walls to open up the space, as well as repair the hardwood floors and gut the bathrooms. The overall result of the designer's light touch is a homey hideaway, which mimics a low-key visit to a friend's house, rather than a night out and about.
Or as White puts it, "People say it has a good vibe."
House Wine: Press
The Austin Chronicle
Wes Marshall's Top 10 Places for a Glass of Good Wine
3) House Wine just feels like home. Get there around 3pm on Sunday to enjoy half-price wines left over from the previous night's by-the-glass sales.
BY WES MARSHALL
Photo by John Anderson
Wine bars have been sprouting up around Austin almost as fast as wineries have been expanding through the Texas Hill Country. This is a wonderful trend for folks who live and/or work Downtown; a nice drop of wine is never too far away. And given how crowded most of these places are, more will probably be opening. It seems every place Downtown is offering some sort of happy hour discount, and the wine bars are no different, putting forth a cornucopia of discount delights for the 4-7pm drinker. We left out restaurants, even if they have great wine lists, and bars, such as TRIO at the Four Seasons or III Forks to name a couple. Though some of these wine bars offer superb and inventive cuisine, this list is for places that are primarily for the love of wine.
House Wine (408 Josephine, 322-5210, www.housewineaustin.com): A comfy old house with a brief but nicely chosen wine list, all at good prices. Happy hour is all day every day with two whites and two reds available at $5 a glass or $18 a bottle. Food is simple but geared toward accentuating the wine. Open daily, 3pm-12mid.<
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The name says it all. This wine bar, located near the downtown area in a small, intimate house, has a patio where you can hang out with a view of downtown Austin. In addition to nightly specials and half-priced glasses of wine on any bottle opened the previous night, available on Sundays, it also has wine tasting classes.
This is the place to go if you’re looking to wile the night away gabbing with close friends or looking for an intimate venue at which to catch up. You’ll feel right at home [pun intended] on one of the couches or on the patio furniture outside.
Small nibbles like cheese plates and desserts are available, including a local artisan cheese plate for a sampling of the nearby farms’ products.
408 Josephine St.
Austin, TX 78704
House Wine is Perfect
We love House Wine. Our first visit was with pals Mark and Dana. The rooms are beautiful and cozy and as unpretentious as one of your fabulously wealthy maiden aunts who has all the money in the world but never flaunts it. The place is a real Austin place and not like some of those that have cropped up around town. You know the type... pesky ersatz-local corporate fakers. Their wine comes from everywhere on the globe that wine comes and it is ever-changing.
Courtney and I love the cheese plates and the olives. Bet ya you will like it too. The owners and staff are all about customer service and are super kind and accommodating. They even adjust the lighting according to the customers likes. If you are not a wine person, try the local beers and ciders. Something for everyone.
Relaxing. Real. I think this place is our favorite place for a quiet glass of wine and romance in all of the City of the Velvet Crown. House Wine is located off the side street behind PTerry's on South Lamar.
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House Wine - the Best Bar Ambience 2009
House Wine won the Austin Chronicle's Award in Best Bar Ambiance 2009. Here is Austin's Chronicle desription of House Wine as this year's winner -
House Wine, on the other, very different hand, is like home, were your home tidy, streamlined, cozy, and posh, all at the same time. No wonder so many folks flock to it: Here, one may sip the yield of the grape whilst escaping his/her own disgusting domicile.
Thank you all for voting for us!
Sangria: Lifeblood of summer
Wine, fruit, spice and mystery
SPECIAL TO THE AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Though the men and women who spawned the historical legend of the vampire in Western culture were despicable serial killers, fictional vampires are all the rage these days, thanks to their unflappable composure and mysterious habits.
The 'Twilight' series by Stephenie Meyer depicts teenage (well, no-age, actually) vampires behaving like Disney kids, and shows like 'True Blood' portray them as misunderstood outcasts with a regrettably limited choice of beverage options. Pretty much everyone these days would love to actually meet a vampire, tour their castles and fly alongside them, or at the very least eat a nice rare steak with them by candelabra light.
If, like most of the country, you're caught up in the vampire hype and want to snag an undead friend for yourself, there's one surefire, little-known way to advertise that you're just as bloodthirsty as they are: Put on your best black clothes and dark glasses, position yourself in any one of the many bars around town after the sun goes down, and sip a sangria, that cold summer drink of wine, fruit and mystery that takes its name from and looks like blood.
House Wine: A sangria recipe
Kerry White owns the charming three-room cottage known as House Wine (408 Josephine St. 322-5210, housewineaustin.com . Open 3 p.m. to midnight daily.).
Outside, there's a covered porch and a courtyard with tables, serenaded by the classic-rock soundtrack from P. Terry's Burger Stand across the street. Inside, the air-conditioning welcomes you like a friend to the comfort of upholstered seating groups. The music here might be Journey from the stereo or live music from smart, soulful singer-songwriters (including Sims himself).
Among the summer's well-chosen and reasonable wines (including four daily choices for $5 a glass or $18 a bottle) are red and white sangrias developed by White for $6 a glass or served with a wink as a snow cone in a sundae glass for the same price. Here's White's easy-to-make blend of pinot grigio, peaches, fruit and herbs.
House Wine's Peach and Basil Sangria
6 12-oz. cans Goya Peach Nectar
6 white peaches, sliced
2 cups fresh lemon juice
5 lemons, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh basil
2 large oranges, thinly sliced
1 handful green grapes, sliced
4 bottles pinot grigio wine, 750 ml each
In a large beverage urn, add fruit, juices and herbs. Top with wine. Stir. Ladle sangria, including pieces of fruit, into wine glasses over ice. Makes about 11/2 gallons.
- Kerry White
Best Austin Wine Bar Nightlife 2009
You voted for the best Wine Bar in Austin, and we counted. Check out the results below. http://austin.citysearch.com/bestof/winners/2009/wine_bar
House Wine Voted #2!! Thanks Y'all!
What some of you said about us:
monterom … on July 27, 2009 “Good food and drink. great ambiance, amazing service, good location. it's a win all around.”
MeAustin … on July 27, 2009 “Great location..great owner and great employees. Love the place”
toddmichael311 … on July 27, 2009 “Great wine and great location”
ccmore … on July 27, 2009 “Great people, setting, service and value! ”
Situated in a charming house in South Austin, this unassuming wine bar has several seating areas in the house’s rooms to gab with a girlfriend or cozy up with a date. An added bonus is they offer half-off glasses all day Sunday from bottles opened the night before. 408 Josephine St., Austin 78704, 512.322.5210, housewineaustin.com
TALK OF THE TOWN AWARD WINNER
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Business Name: House Wine Rating: Sector: Restaurants
Category: Restaurants Location: City: Austin State/Province: TX Phone: (512)322-5210 Website: www.housewineaustin.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy a glass of well-selected wine and still feel like you’re in Austin, look no further than House Wine. It sits tucked away on Josephine Street, near P. Terry’s on South Lamar, and is perfect for a date or any good company if you’re seeking an intimate, laid back atmosphere.
The house has been around for decades, but has been renovated nicely to resemble a trendy bungalow in the midst of the city atmosphere. The decor is modern and comfortable and screams “relax.” In fact, if half of you wants to go out and half of you wants to stay at home, just go to House Wine. It’s that comfortable.
The staff is hip, but friendly, and they unpretentiously know their stuff. Their wine list is not long, but boasts a wide range of quality wines from vineyards throughout the world. One that stood out to me was the Super Tuscan, Aia Vecchia Lagone 2007. It featured earthy notes of wood with juicy, bright red fruits on the palate – perfect for those chilly fall and winter nights in Austin. If you’re not a wine lover, don’t stress. House Wine offers a nice selection of local beers and ciders as well.
They keep their food simple and satisfying, with a good selection of gourmet cheeses, artisanal cheese plates, and Mediterranean fare. Don’t skip dessert when you go. Their Port Brownie Sundae, Beer Float, and campfire S’mores made right at your table are all known to be crowd-pleasers.
One thing I absolutely love about House Wine is their desire to promote local artists and charitable causes. Whether it’s paintings hanging on the wall, music being sung on the porch, or charity events being held in the house, you’ll find pieces of Austin spread throughout the cozy wine bar. I admire how well they use the limited space they have.
You’ll definitely want to stop in on half-price Sundays, when you’re provided with a list of everything that was opened the previous night and you can grab glasses at a bargain until they run out. They also offer wine tasting classes, daily specials, live music, and “happy hour every hour” with solid wines at five dollars a glass and eighteen dollars per bottle, all day, every day.
I’m more of a hermit, usually preferring to stay in (especially when it’s chilly). But House Wine has offered me the best of both worlds. I can relax and kick back while enjoying the pleasure of being out and socializing with a good glass of wine or two. It’s a win-win.