Wine bar planned for Conrad

July 10, 2009
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Tastings A Wine ExperiencePlans are in the works for a wine bar called Tastings that would take the first-floor corner space at the Conrad Indianapolis and continue an explosion of sidewalk seating at downtown restaurants. The $1 million project would add an entrance to the luxury hotel at the northeast corner of Washington and Illinois streets and include a total of 80 outdoor seats along both streets. The wine bar, offering a rotating selection of more than 100 wines by the glass, would replace the hotel’s indoor Vitesse lounge and serve as the flagship of a small chain based in St. Petersburg, Fla. The concept features machines (shown here) that remove oxygen and add nitrogen to the wine to preserve flavor and lengthen its shelf life. Full story is here.
  • Absolutely phenomenal, on all fronts. Particularly getting the hotel to engage the street at that corner.
  • Sounds like a winner! Great idea!
  • Where will the drum player go?
  • According to the article, this is a chain.

    I find it interesting that a hotel that bills itself as an elite luxury output and Indy's flagship hotel has both a restaurant and bar that are chains. Seems dubious.

    Now not all chains are bad. Oceannaire is good, for example. But it is an odd choice for a luxury hotel.
  • They did open with two independents, Restaurant du Soleil and Vitesse. After being burned by Soleil, I can understand their desire for something a little more stable and consistent.
  • I went to a place very similar to this in Miami Beach (not sure if its the same chain) and had a great time (we went as a small group). It's a cool way to try more expensive wines that you otherwise might not be able to splurge on. A very interesting concept, indeed. I'm glad to see one coming to Indy....
  • Something is missing in this 'million dollar' deal. Currently, if I'm on Illinois St craving a nice glass of wine, I have at least 10 options, including the bar at the Capital Grille - IN the Conrad. I've done a few successful, innovative F&B concepts along the way, including Nicky Blaine's, and this just doesn't smell right.
    The 'cuvinet' concept of preventing oxygen in a bottle is valid- and at least forty years old...
    Plus, the owners had no comment to local media?

    Sounds like Olives at the Omni, without the 'chain'. How's that workin out for ya?
  • It's workin out for me just fine. This is a great step for the Conrad and the Washington/Illinois Street corner. Especially with the sidewalk seating. Sounds like somebody ate a few too many sour grapes. ;)
  • The downtown winos are going to love this! Didn't Oceannaire declare bankruptcy?
  • Oceanaire did declare bankruptcy. I believe it's closing only four restaurants (Cincy, Philly, Seattle, and Charlotte). Indy is staying open.
  • Congrats to the new owners...something different for downtown Indy indeed. I'm curious as to the guest check average though, and how much rent that space is. Anyhoo, the more places to go downtown the better.
  • The rent is very steep, I hope it doesn't damage their chances for success.
  • I think this is a great move! As for guest check average.... based on what I spent the last time I visited a place with this concept, they will do just fine, lol. You get a little card that you put money on, insert your card into the machine and then pay by the 1/4, half or full glass. The prices vary from wine to wine. I started with twenty on mine and added another twenty before the night was over. It's a very fun way to spend an hour or two hanging out with a group of friends.
  • What a great corner for some excitement. Steve Graham gave us Barcelona and is opening an Italian place by the stadium with Karl Benko. Should be a great place to have a glass or two of good wine.
  • Ymmmmm. Can I have some carbon monoxide with my cheese plate? Seriously, though, will the city be collecting revenue from the use of the public sidewalk?
  • Tapapapa -- where's the Italian place by the stadium? I'm guessing you're referring to Conseco, as I heard that the old J. Gumbo's was reopening as an Italian restaurant. I hadn't heard that Benko was on board with that, but if we're talking about the same thing, that would be great news!
  • Very exciting!
  • CorrND -

    I think he referencing the building just south of downtown near Sharpiro's.........I read something recently about the space being converted into an Italian places of some sort........apparently one of the owner's grandparents had an Italian restaurant in the 1940's downtown at one point.......
  • CorrND-

    Iozzo's is the name of the Italian Restaurant just south of Greek Islands and Shapiro's. A good friend of mine is the Restaurant Manager.

    The original Iozzo's was located where the Hyatt complex is now.
  • Wrote about Iozzo's a few posts ago ...
  • Will the sidewalk seating include a bulletproof shield to the street side? You know, in case Jamaal Tinsley decides to stop by for a visit again...
  • Any info on a wine bar going in at Ohio and Delaware? In the old Quizno's/Roasters location. I belive Crown Liquors recently bought the building and might include carry out with it. And did anyone notice the 2 caged roosters at that location 2-3 weeks ago? They were only there for one day. Verry odd.
  • Good luck to Iozzo. Before Lelands and Cafe@Ray, there was a Venezuelan restaurant in that space. It's not a great location. Too far from Lilly's for the walking crowd and hidden by the I-70 overpass.
  • I was hoping for another steak house...
  • Iozzos Garden of Italy formerly opens on August 3rd. We are located at 946 S. Meridian (just south of Greek Islands). Karl Benko is working his magic and helping us build an inexpensive Italian family restaurant with a great wine list and an awesome courtyard. We welcome you to drop in for a visit.
  • Tastings at the Conrad is locally owned. I am sure that there will be an formal press release coming soon . . . I think that this is great for Indy, regardless of how long the cuvinet concept has been around . . .
  • Best of luck to Tastings, Iozzo's and Ambrosia! I look forward to eating and having a glass or two of wine with you. Indy, let's support and get on board!
  • I want to welcome the two new restaurants to downtown. It'll be exciting to cover them on the show. We are seen by thousands of hotel guests downtown and around Indy.

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