Nate Welch, a ten-year veteran of Marina wine bar and retail shop California Wine Merchant, is now pouring glasses from his own wine list at his new bar Howell’s. It’s at 2373 Chestnut Street (between Divisadero and Scott in the former Mezes space), and customers can swing by during its “soft opening” phase — Yelpers, caveat those reviews accordingly — ahead of a grand opening on March 29.
While the Marina is in no danger of a wine bar shortage, Howell’s investor Beth Weesner says Howell’s has its own unique character. “We share a wall with Cultivar, but it’s a completely different vibe,” said Weesner. “It’s a unique blend of aesthetics with really good food, and great wine for great prices.” Chef Sarah Galloway (Stones Throw, Spruce) is currently honing Hallowell’s food menu.
Weesner, a wine enthusiast who professes to be “very familiar” with the area’s offerings, joined with a group of eight other investors who wanted to get something new off the ground. They’d become fans of Welch’s at California Wine Merchant, and helped launch his solo venture.
For the last six months, the team has been working on the bi-level space. It’s table service upstairs, the best spot for a full,-sit-down meal — or drinkers can mingle and order food at the bar. As for decor, it was a group effort, with Welch’s father-in-law constructing the handsome, rustic wood bar.
The work’s not quite done yet: They’re also polishing up an outdoor space behind Howell’s, with an eye toward serving brunch back there.