La Botella Republic
2055D Center St., Berkeley (at Shattuck)
Phone: (510) 529-4447
Look out for a newly opened wine bar and local libations shop from husband-and-wife team Christopher Clarke and Lauren Brody-Clarke, who've come to Berkeley by way of Brooklyn. Clarke, a former design director at the Food Network, and Brody-Clarke, an actress with a wine background, are focusing on a distinctly Northern California vibe with the new spot, which focuses on small production local wines, craft beers and small plates composed of locally-sourced ingredients.
Wine, beer and mead flights will feature at the new spot alongside a small plates and charcuterie menu from chefs Mark Dessert and MikeC of the Raise the Root cooking collective. They'll be turning out a selection of local cheeses (think Humboldt Fog and Point Reyes Original Blue), meats from local purveyors and vegetables pickled in-house, plus a seasonal salad and panini menu, artisan truffles from Vice Chocolates and more. They'll also be offering a weekly pop-up dinner with a rotating menu designed to foster a communal dining vibe (right now, they've got a Taco Tuesday menu running, complete with cochinita pibil, ceviche and drinks like strawberry-nectarine sangria).
The new shop will showcase emerging winemakers in both its tasting and retail components, with an opening focus on producers like The Scholium Project, Orin Swift Cellars, Idlewild, Horse and Plow and Peay. Beer will be flowing from local breweries like Almanac, Bear Republic, Drake's, Marin Brewing Co. and more, and if you've been longing to sample what mead tastes like, try the sparkling mead from Point Reyes Station's Heidrun Meadery.
The interior of the intimate space boasts antique Mexican ceiling tiles and a calavera mural by artist Jessica Hess, which livens up the 20-foot blackened zinc bar and standing-height common table. Now open, the new space will host wine tasting classes and other educational events going forward. For now, they're open Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm–9pm, Friday 5pm–10pm, Saturday noon–10pm and Sunday 1pm–9pm.