Tiffany and Rob Harmon pose with daughter Lydia on opening day.
Right in time for the holiday season, residents of St. Louis Hills and the surrounding neighborhoods have a new destination for wine, beer and spirits.
Today, at 11 a.m., Southside Wine + Spirits (5017 Hampton Avenue, 314-779-6294)
celebrated its grand opening. As the Riverfront Times first reported in September
, the shop is an outgrowth of an online retail and events company of the same name owned by Tiffany and Rob Harmon, who are longtime residents of the neighborhood.
Although the couple have no formal background in the wine industry, they share a serious passion for it. As active residents of the St. Louis Hills neighborhood, the Harmons noticed a lack of quality wine served at community events. They've already started to turn that tide with the events arm of Southside Wine + Spirits, and now, with the debut of the brick-and-mortar shop, they've given the area a dedicated wine shop.
"We really wanted to be open for the holiday season and we thought, 'what better time to open than Halloween?'" Tiffany says. "Halloween is such a big event in south St. Louis; streets close down and trick-or-treaters are everywhere, so we thought it would be a perfect time to open our doors and hopefully have some thirsty moms, dads and customers who are roaming around the neighborhood check out our store. Following Halloween, we'll be launching right into preparing for Thanksgiving and then the holidays."
The opening marks the culmination of months of hard work for the Harmons. The couple have completely transformed the 700-square-foot space, making considerable updates including replacing the ceiling and flooring to craft the cozy interior that will soon greet customers. Rob's sister, Angie Harmon of Vintage Modern Home, styled the shop, wrapping the intimate space in a world-traveler theme with vintage maps and globes.
"It's been so fun to watch the transformation of this little shop," Tiffany says. "I think people will find that it's a fun and inviting space. The theme is all about travel and exploration: In the bathroom [Angie] did a collage of vintage maps, behind the bar there's a collection of vintage globes and we've got a compass on the store [logo]. It should spark the feeling of travel and bringing tastes back from around the world to south city."
Southside's inventory pulls from local, national and international offerings, including Missouri-made items from Lifted Spirits in Kansas City and Southside Alchemy Sweat & Tears Bloody Mary Mix made in St. Louis. A selection of canned wine is offered alongside a variety of West Coast bottles and European vintages. The Harmons are focused on offering wines at affordable price points as well, with bottles hovering around $10 and up.
The shop has partnered with Rockwell Beer Co., offering its canned brews in a cooler. And for kids and customers seeking a non-alcoholic beverage, Southside serves sodas from Jones Soda Co. The shop won't be serving pours at its tasting bar right away, although Tiffany says that eventually that's the plan.
"I think we're at about 70 labels in the store right now," she adds. "We have a lot of New World wines. We've got a great collection of cabernets and pinot noirs that we're hoping will be popular during the colder months as we get into winter. We also have a wonderful selection of Spanish wines that have really piqued our interest, and then we've got a small selection of Italian and French wines as well. We're starting there and seeing how we branch out."
The shop will be hosting a series of events in the next few months, including public wine tastings on Friday, November 8, and December 6. The shop is also available to rent for private parties and small corporate events.
In addition to its new retail space, Southside can be hired to pour at events, from weddings to birthday parties to corporate gatherings, and you're likely to see them at neighborhood festivals and block parties. The company also runs an online wine club, The Society, which offers members the chance to purchase from a curated monthly menu. For $25, members can choose from a lengthy list of specialty wines and spirits, with selections delivered right to their doorstep. Members of the wine club also receive other perks: free pours at Southside Wine + Spirits events, invites to private tastings and pop-up events and discounts on products and merchandise at the store.
"We can't wait to show all of our family, friends, neighbors and the rest of the neighborhood what we've done," Tiffany says. "A lot of people have been walking by and looking in the windows, and we're really excited to just finally show off the fruits of our labor."
After its grand opening today, Southside Wine + Spirits will be open from 1 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
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The wine shop will open at 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 31.
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