Recently a couple of friends of mine returned from a trip to St.Petersburg, and they told me about a very interesting place they visited down there. It’s called Tastings, and it’s a wine bar – but it’s different from any wine bar we have here in Memphis.
The atmosphere, they tell me, is much like Le Chardonnay here – comfortable, with couches and chairs, very easygoing, conducive to conversation as you sip your wine. But the difference is how you go about getting your wine.
When you go in, you put money on a debit card, much like you would to use the copier at Kinko’s. Then you get a glass and go to one of the kiosks found throughout the restaurant. The kiosks offer various wines – merlots, cabernets, chardonnays, etc. When you decide on the one you want, you insert your debit card and the kiosk pours an ounce of that wine.
The prices of the wine samples vary. A cheap wine might be only a buck or two for a sample. A more expensive wine could run you $8.
There are stations where you can wash your glass out with water between tastings, and you can get a new glass if you don’t want to keep using the same one. There’s also a full bar where you can buy full glasses or bottles of the wines, and there’s a food menu. The kiosks offer a very diverse selection – over 120 wines to choose from, according to their website.
My friends were initially disappointed when their first samples dribbled out of the kiosk. These are experienced drinkers we’re talking about, and an ounce isn’t very much. But by the time they had spent 15, 18 dollars, they began to notice the effects. “Hey, we better slow down,” they said.
What a great idea. We need something like this in Memphis. As much as I love downtown, though, my intuition tells me this would work best in Midtown. Not sure if she still reads my blog, but if you do: ATTN TONYA: quit your job, move back to Memphis, let’s find a financial backer and open a franchise location of this place. We’d make a FORTUNE.
That is, if this place would even be allowed under Tennessee’s liquor laws, and I’m not sure it would. A bartender can cut you off when you’ve had enough; a debit card can’t. For that reason I’m not even sure it could get a license to operate here.
Hmmm… maybe I should drive down to St.Pete and do some research. No, that would take too much time, and I’m too busy at work to take off right now. Maybe I’ll do the next best thing and just buy a bunch of bottles of wine and drink them.