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Wine Bar in Fells Point?? Any Scoop?

Does anyone know anything about the wine bar that looks to be under construction at the end of Ann Street in Fells Point? Between the sushi place and Bonaparte? I can't even remember the name of the sign the have up to try to google it...

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  1. Miss Irene's? Place has been under renovation for years now, it seems. Word on the street is that they've run out of money and likely won't be opening. Not under current ownership, at least. They've had their pretty website splash page up for a while now, missirenesbaltimore.com. Too bad it likely won't come to fruition.

    7 Replies
    1. re: rpb

      Miss Irene's is on Thames, and doesn't meet the description of "between the sushi place and Bonaparte" which would be south of Thames..

      At the risk of showing my age, something seems quite strange about "wine bar" and "Fells Point" in the same sentence. :-)

      1. re: rpb

        Glad for the update on the Miss Irene's building, but this place is different. It is down the street (Ann?) that runs alongside the water - I do think it is directly to the left of the sushi place, as you are looking at that row of businesses. Maybe I'll walk down today and check out the name again - it seemed like it was something like Vino or the like - something obviously very wine-y.

        1. re: a70wilson

          The sign outside does appear to be VINO. There is also a sign for the transfer of a liquor license from somewhere else. Though all the stuff is gone from the previous "Arabian" knick knack store, there doesn't appear to be much progress. Given that there are no other wine bars in Fells, it does appear to have its options open.

          rpb--Why isn't Miss Irene's opening anytime soon? When I walked by the other day, the bar, tables and chairs appeared finished.

          1. re: thecheeseisblue

            miss irene's was required to put in an incredibly expensive utility line, you can see finished evidence on the ann st side, and it made them run outta dough. it's been in suspended animation for months, with that almost-ready look.

            1. re: chowsearch

              Actually. I have a friend who will be working at Miss Irene's starting the beginning of next month. Which, depending on how much she's involved in pre-open could mean it's opening in Oct/Nov. AND they are holding an open-house for hiring today! Pretty sure that means they WILL be opening. It is more upscale than the last, but not completely fru-fru. I'm looking forward to it.

              1. re: jolynette

                "More upscale then the last" - had you ever been in the old Miss Irenes??

                1. re: hon

                  That's funny. Thanks, hon.

        1. V-NO is a nice place with friendly people. The selection is modest but seems well thought out and I like the way the wines are organized. It's far enough away from the bars to be quiet, but close enough to walk somewhere else after they charge you a $7 corkage fee for a bottle purchased from them and consumed on the premises.

          I will not be back as long as they have this policy.

          14 Replies
          1. re: Chowtimore

            Hold up. A bottle you purchased FROM THEM?

              1. re: Chowtimore

                I will never go there even if they change this policy. That's insane, and not the mark of a business that cares about their customers at all.

                1. re: JonParker

                  I agree. That's just silly. And terribly nickle and dimey. I'm glad to learn this, since I was going to have a hard time going there anywhere based solely on the name. And, I thought THAT was petty! ;-)

                  1. re: JonParker

                    A business that charges a corkage fee for a bottle purchased there is probably selling you the bottle at retail rather than the 4x markup that a normal restaurant charges. That is the mark of a business that cares about their customers.

              2. re: Chowtimore

                Doesn't The Wine Market do that too?

                1. re: hon

                  I'm not sure about the Wine Market, but that's how Grand Cru has always done it (but I believe corkage is $5). Rather than marking up a bottle of wine to 2 or 3 times what a store would charge for it, as most bars and restaurants do, you buy the bottle for retail price and have the choice to take it home or pay corkage for service and the use of the bar's stemware. I've always thought if it as a great deal in comparison to most bars' bottle prices.

                  1. re: notmandatory

                    That actually makes sense. Do they sell wine at retail and then charge a corkage fee? I'd be ok with that. I agree with baltoellen that the name is just horrible.

                    1. re: notmandatory

                      As long as the price is retail level, I think a $5-$7 mark up for in house service is fine. I assume this is per bottle and not per person. Can someone confirm that?

                      I've heard they have light food, cheese, bread olives etc. Can anyone comment on the food? Is it a decent place for a four top to have a drink and nosh?

                    2. re: hon

                      Yes, this is exactly what Wine Market does.

                      I think paying $6 above retail is a hell of a lot better than paying 3x retail, but apprently the posters above you don't.

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        It feels like the fee is just a way to pad their wallets and does not make me feel appreciated as a customer. While it technically might be a 'wine shop', the place was clearly designed with sit-down customers as the primary focus. Based on the layout and location, I would think that a small percentage of their business is that of a traditional take-out wine shop. So they're going to charge the vast majority of their customers a fee for the right to be a customer?

                        If folks are willing to pay these fees just because it's 'cheaper than somewhere else', I would probably charge them, too and I can see the argument for the other side. But if there wasn't a place to sit and enjoy the wine, I wouldn't have bought anything in the first place. Being charged an additional fee to be their customer just rubs me the wrong way.

                        1. re: Chowtimore

                          If you were being charged to be a customer you'd be paying much more than a few dollars per bottle.

                        2. re: invinotheresverde

                          Mosey on down off that high horse, invino. As someone who does not own a wine store or restaurant, I was not familiar with this practice before now. Now that it has been explained to me, it makes sense and sounds like a good way to make winners out of both the restaurant owner and the customer. I'm glad someone posted about it so I had an opportunity to learn about industry practices like this. Gee I love this site.

                          1. re: charmedgirl

                            No high-horse here.

                            I just love the idea of buying something great for less and being able to enjoy it at the same lovely setting.

                    3. Folks, we've split some general discussion about corkage at these types of establishments into a new thread on the Not About Food board. You can find that thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/558049

                      1. V-no is open. My wife and I've been there several times. The selection is very good and the prices extreme reasonable. Think Bin 604, just less expensive. The corkage fee for drinking in the place is fair. You can select a very nice bottle off the rack and drink it inside or on the patio sidewalk for $7 over retail cost. Most of the bottles are $10 -$16 per, so even with the corkage, you have a nice night at much less than going to a bar where you would likely be served something less than good or interesting. We've been there often and recommend giving it a try.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Dinner Club

                          Can someone reply back with a brief listing of wine bottles, as well as the cheese or small plates menu?

                          1. re: SGI

                            The Owners are really fun folks who've opened a cool and unique Fell's Point wine bar - I personally recommend you go on and try it out and report back your findings - I bet you'll enjoy the evening!

                            1. re: SGI

                              We went this past weekend. We had a bottle of Gnarly Head for $10 retail + $7 corkage. They sell wines by the glass ranging from $6 - $9.

                              As for food, the selection is very limited. They have three items: a cheese tray, a bowl of nuts and tarts. We were their early on Friday, right after work, they had only one tart left, a cheese tart. With the proximity of Bonaparte, you'd think they could increase the selection of finger food.

                              All in all, I thought the wine was reasonably priced, and the outdoor seating was great on a nice evening. A good way to waste an hour or two after work or meeting people before going to dinner.

                            2. Got the chance to visit and get a few questions in with one of the owners. Great people, great place.