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Downtown: Whiskey & Wine serves up its namesakes and more at Remi’s Block

  • Shelves made from co-owner David Spagnuolo’s grandfather’s wine barrels are seen behind the bar at Whiskey & Wine in downtown Concord on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • A wall of wine bottles is seen at Whiskey & Wine in downtown Concord on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Tables are set at Whiskey & Wine in downtown Concord on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. “We really want you to mellow out and relax,” co-owner and chef David Spagnuolo said. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Tables are set at Whiskey & Wine in downtown Concord on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, “We really want you to mellow out and relax,” co-owner and chef David Spagnuolo said. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Co-owner David Spagnuolo talks about his establishment, Whiskey & Wine, in downtown Concord on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Patrons sit by the window at Whiskey & Wine in downtown Concord on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Patrons sit by the window at Whiskey & Wine in downtown Concord on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Monday, December 04, 2017

A low-key, upscale whiskey and wine bar has come to Remi’s Block.

Aptly named Whiskey & Wine is supposed to feel more like a home than a bar – the lights are low, the tables close and intimate, and the music never rises above a murmur.

“We really want you to mellow out and relax,” co-owner and chef David Spagnuolo said.

But unless you’re a serious connoisseur, your home probably doesn’t have 40 different types of bourbon, whiskey, rye or scotch in the liquor cabinet, or a variety of tapas on hand to munch on.

That’s where Whiskey & Wine comes in.

The brainchild of Spagnuolo and his wife/business partner, Stacey Murphy, both of Londonderry, Whiskey & Wine has been open for a little under a month. But the idea of a wine bar at Remi’s Block predates their grand opening: The couple had been eyeing the space where the Christian Michael Salon is now located, but it didn’t feel quite right, Spagnuolo said.

Then, building owner Remi Hinxhia reached out, he said.

“He emailed us and said, ‘I’m building a wine bar, why don’t you come take a look?’ ” Spagnuolo recalled.

But although Whiskey & Wine is something new for Concord, the space itself has retained elements of the building’s past. It starts when you walk in the door and are confronted with glass panels – panels from the former Vegas Block building’s skylight. The wainscoting is from a previous tenant, and the stamped tin ceiling is original. So is the distinctive brick wall, which Spagnuolo said was hidden under four layers of drywall.

But Spagnuolo incorporated an eye-catching element from his own history as well. His grandfather used to make wine in the 1960s, and now those barrels have been halved and mounted on the bar’s back wall, putting the bar’s bourbons and ryes within easy reach.

Fans of the Gale Motor Co. Eatery in Manchester might recognize some similar food dishes, like Spagnuolo’s pulled pork tacos and spicy tuna, but that’s about where the similarities end. With 47 seats, Whiskey has less than half of Gale’s seating, and is a little more refined: Tapas, or smaller plates that are meant to be shared, go for $8-$15, and you can get their most expensive whiskey, WhistlePig Rye, for $15 a glass.

If you’re more of a wine drinker, there are plenty of options for you, too; high rollers can treat themselves to a $92 bottle of The Prisoner’s red blend or sample one of Murphy’s cocktail creations, which boast names like Hot n’ Dirty, or the Arch Angel.

“The whole idea is that we wanted to create a restaurant we would want to eat at,” Spagnuolo said. “I don’t like big meals – I like to have a bite of this, a bite of that.”

Whiskey & Wine is open for lunch Tuesday-Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for dinner Tuesday-Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Once things get more settled, Spagnuolo said he’s thinking about adding a brunch option.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)