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Jun 5, 2007 07:03 AM

Do I smell a wine bar coming to Westfield?

I was driving through town and noticed 2 things, one was that Planet Smoothie is now an empty storefront, and I think I saw a sign on the buiding that said ......vines. Now it was fairly late, and getting dark, and my eyes don't see things quite as sharp as they did. Anyone know anything about this?

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  1. Jnk, I can confirm your observations. There is a sign in the door of the former Planet Smoothie that says something about "Cool Vines" and then more about deliveries for that address.
    As much as I would like to see a wine bar in Westfield myself, I have to disappoint you. CoolVines ( is seemingly a concept wine retailer/store. The web site is a bit limited and from other sources I don't totally understand their business model (some combination of local retail and online), but my guess would be this will become another wine store. With all the BYOB restaurants in Westfield there is probably enough demand and some competition to the incumbent liquor store across the street won't certainly hurt the customer.
    I have written about this recently a bit more in my blog.

    3 Replies
    1. re: FoodFetish

      forgive my ignorance, what is a wine bar? pretty much wine w/ food or something a tad more exciting?

      1. re: nyebaby37

        nyebaby, I don't think there is an official definition and I'm not sure what jnk was imaging but my definition is this: A bar type outfit that has a large selection of wine by the glass (50+), typically a standard list plus daily specials sometimes with a particular topic, like compare same varietals from different countries/regions. The bar tender is knowledgable about the wine and can help you with the selection. They would also offer bar type appetizers, etc. that would go well with the wine. The idea is to be able to explore/sample different types of wine during an evening.
        A wine bar is often attached to an upscale restaurant but there are also some that come solo.

        1. re: FoodFetish

          Yes, and I think it would have been a good idea for Westfield, then again, I didn't think Trader Joe's would make it. Oh well.

    2. Jnk, more news on "Cool Vines". I had a chance to chat with the owner recently, and seemingly it will be a specialty wine store, with a carefully selected assortment of off-mainstream interesting wines and a focus on service and wine recommendations. They are planning to open towards the end of June. More details are in my blog.
      I will certainly report back after the grand opening.

      6 Replies
      1. re: FoodFetish

        CORRECTION: According to the owner "Cool Vines" is planning to open by the end of July (not June). Sorry, my fault.

        1. re: FoodFetish

          O.K. let me get this straight, they will offer bottles of wine (as do most wine/liquor stores) at all different price points (ditto) with info from the merchant (ditto) but from smaller more esoteric vintners? As i said earlier, I didn't think that T.J.'s would make it eitjher, so this has to be a success. Seriously, I wish any mom and pop business owner in town the best, as I feel that the downtown is losing it's charm to the "mall stores".

          1. re: jnk

            Jnk, I agree with you wholeheartedly. The recent inflation in the rent level for retail space in Westfield will drive out more and more of the smaller (less margin focused) but more interesting and individualistic stores. If we are not careful, a few years down the road, Westfield might look like any other big shopping mall only that it is outdoor.

            1. re: FoodFetish

              FoodF, as a resident of "colonial" Westfield from 1958 to 1983 with family & friends all over the north & south sides; including businesses we've heard the "someday Westfield is going to look like a mall" for decades. Sure the town has gone thru modern changes but it has always been upscale/more expensive than surrounding towns and attracted couples/families and everything in btwn. Restaurants come and go and the many side streets reinvent themselves. What does endure is the town spirit and people who call Westfd. home. If you select a restaurant in the ever-changing Cranford, Fanwood, Scotch Plains, Garwood you could say the same thing about urban sprawl....but truly nothing has changed.

              1. re: HillJ

                Good morning Hillj-
                I disagree, the town does now look like a mall. The largest stores in town are all mall stores ie. Bombay, the Gap, Baby Gap, Williams-Sonoma, Joseph Banks,Express (soon to be Coldwater Creek), Kaybee Toys, Panera, Blue Tulip and Qdoba. I may be missing some, but my point is that when I moved into town about 12 years ago, these were all "mom and pop" stores, and yes there was more of a local feel to the town. Granted, one of the first things we noticed was that the businesses were still running on the assumption that these were all one income families in town and that they needn't worry about staying open late any nights because "the women" were all home during the afternoon and could shop then. Funny, with the influx of the mall stores, that has changed and the stores are all open late. If you take a look at Summit, which is a more affluent community, their town is still filled with mom and pop shops, the difference being, they have a mall nearby and Westfield does not.. Cranford, the closest town with a decent sized downtown is an example of what Westfield once was. Is it better, or worse, that's up to each person to decide for themselves, it's obviously the way the downtown commission wants to go, but unless Ferraro's keeps expanding, the mom and pops seem doomed, and the "mall" will be ever expanding. Doesn't every "small town" need a jeans store w/$200 jeans (Lucky) where Hagen-Dazs and the Town Book store used to be. I now relinquish my soap box.

                1. re: jnk

                  jnk, thanks for sharing perhaps our definition of the term mall is different. Department stores exist as do retail chains but the flavor of the town remains. I've enjoyed many weekends in the Summit/Chatham/Madison area dining as well-these are not towns that border Westfd.

                  I miss the bookstore too-great cookbook section! But sadly, bookstores have been closing across the country due to a shift in how we all enjoy information. Where my elementary school once stood is now a first-class town library...ah, change!

                  What I giggle at is that a 200.00 pair of jeans would be perceived any differently than a 200.00 dining experience. You can find both in Westfield and 20 years ago (with the inflation of that time frame) you could find it as well. The term mom pop has also changed with the times. Give the people what they want and they will come....judging by the expanse of parking (which was always an issue for Westfd and many of the towns you mentioned) diners still enjoy that lovely town.

                  Thanks for your perspective!

      2. We just walked by the Coolvines store in Westfield (Sweet Sound Downtown) and now there is finally some construction action ongoing. At the store and on the web site ( it says that say will be opening in "August". Is that tomorrow or 2007-08-30? Looking at the construction I would think at least two more weeks before they get going.

        1 Reply
        1. re: FoodFetish

          And here is a photo taken in front of their store. I certainly like their Philosophy about wine.