CLEVELAND, Ohio – Lindsay Smith won't be popping a cork when her Flight wine bar opens its doors. But she is ready to pull a tap handle or two.
That's because the 29 bottles that line the bar are on a special wine-preservations system.
A Cruvinet wine-preservation and -dispensing system via nitrogen helps wine last two weeks rather than a couple of days, she said.
"I like the look of it, and the preservation is appealing for our business," she said.
Her business is wine. More specifically, it's making wine approachable, affordable and educational. Flight opens Friday, Dec. 14, at W. 58th Street and Detroit Avenue in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. It is in the building formerly occupied by Latitude 41n.
Flight was in the planning for about 18 months.
"You know, I have those moments," Smith said about getting closer to the doors opening and wine being poured. "I used to work right there on my sawhorse table and chair and wonder what this is going to look like when it's done."
What it looks like is a hodgepodge-by-design, old-meets-modern, with exposed brick throughout the 100-plus year-old building.
A corner curved booth draws on the duality of being "one of the most luxurious and fun spots in the bar," she said.
Ancient books from her late grandfather line the top shelf of a bookcase while more current reference books on wine are stacked underneath.
It's all about "old vs. new nuances," she said.
It was a pretty big face lift, Smith said. That means new floors, new fixtures in bathrooms, new back bar and bar and custom-made shelves.
An 18-seat bar, low-top tables and couches fit comfortably in the space. And the wine areas purposely have limited signage. Expensive and lower-priced bottles are intertwined rather than segregated (though there is a cool area for $13 bottles). Even varietal signage is limited. The shelving organization is by design to foster interaction.
"We want to feel like a record shop, where you rummage around," she said.
It's a place where "you can drink really cool wines that are off of the beaten path. We really try to match the right person with the right wine."
Bottles that are offered as by-the-glass offerings circle a round table near the shelves in the U-shaped space, which covers about 23,000 square feet. Nearby a tasting room with tables offers a quiet space. A divided map of the world, each piece about 15 inches wide by about 6 feet tall, lines a wall. It's meant to spark memories, start conversations, and serve as reference points.
"I want to keep this room a little more simple," she said.
That seems appropriate. At its heart, Flight looks to become a simple, comfortable place to hang out and enjoy a glass of wine.
"It's a pretty awesome feeling," she said.
More about Flight
• Wine is the obvious focus, but there are three well-chosen beers on tap:
- Brick and Barrel Pinot Noir Saison, made with must from M Cellarsgrapes.
- Sunshine Daydream from Fat Head's Brewery.
- Hansa Brewery's Femdom-Kolsch.
Some spirits are available for 1- or 2-ounce neat or on-the-rocks pours, but no craft cocktails. There are enough places nearby for those, Smith said.
• The alcove near the bathrooms has a stark, vibrant pattern of magenta and white orchids on a black background. "This was my opportunity to go a little nuts," Smith said.
• No kitchen.
• Flight will have seven employees. General manager is Matt Blank.
• A cooler will hold wines that should be served chilled and six-packs of beer.
Previous coverage: How Flight came about
The wine bar is at 5712 Detroit Ave., in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood at W. 58th St., 216-400-6867. It’s on the north side of Detroit, across from Spice Kitchen + Bar and caddy-corner from Happy Dog. Hours: 3-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 3-11 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. There’s a small lot in the back.