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Drink Up

Old Wine Works in a new bottle


Published March 20, 2007 at 7:22 p.m.

Maybe the name "Wine Works" was too, well, oenophilic. By the time Seven Days hits the streets this week, the St. Paul Street bar with the comfy leather couches and mod interior will have changed its name to "Drink." The business isn't changing ownership and will still have a great wine list.

The few changes to the menu have already been implemented, according to owners Bill and Melissa Shahady, who've been partners in the wine bar since its inception in 1999. They say the name change is intended to reflect the variety of potent potables they serve. "We're getting creative with all kinds of drinks," Bill explains.

Non-vinous beverages at the bar include nine different kinds of mojitos and nine Cosmopolitans, along with a slew of cocktails made with Drink's house-infused liquors. "A lot of people have done infusions," Bill says, "but we're the only place that has this many." Varieties include vodka flavored with tea, berries or Jolly Rancher candies. The candy version is "by far the most popular," says Melissa.

Another fun concept: Specialty shots with wacky names such as "Let the Wookie Win," a blend of Kahlua, Irish Cream and Grand Marnier. "Trav's Broken Dreams" features vodka, Chambord and sour mix. Those who choose not to booze will soon have their own new option: Vermont's Pop Soda.

The Shahadys have pumped up offerings on the food side of the equation, too. In addition to their spinach and artichoke dip, which they "can't take off the menu," given the level of customer demand, they serve up grilled pizettes, an antipasto plate and "The World's Best" mac and cheese. What makes it so good? A combo of cheddar, scallions, bacon, tomatoes and sour cream.

Oenophiles may miss the one-ounce servings of wine, which will no longer be available. Bill concedes that offering was a promotion for the retail store. The couple sold the wine-store portion of the business to a former staff member last January. One aspect of the old Wine Works that will be sticking around: classes and tastings. But they won't be just about grapes anymore. "We'll have a class on vodka," Melissa says, "and on beer."