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Proposed 'wineHouse' Wine Shop Promises Not to Sell Mad Dog, Night Train

By Serena Dai | May 14, 2013 11:29am | Updated on May 14, 2013 2:20pm
 Four investors want a place where neighbors can seek advice on wine pairings.
Upscale Wine Shop wineHouse Seeks to Join Broadway
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LAKEVIEW — A new wine shop wants to join East Lakeview — and the owners promise they won't sell the cheap stuff.

Four investors, including a doctor and a former marketing designer for furniture company Ikea, pitched the idea of "wineHouse" to South East Lakeview Neighbors Monday night in hopes of getting approval for a packaged goods liquor license.

The 1,400-square-foot space inside an empty storefront at 3164 N. Broadway would be a "homey" place for neighbors to pick up premium wines starting at $50 or nice wines for under $25, they said.

The shop would not sell beer, liquor or flavored fortified wines such as Mad Dog, Night Train Express or Thunderbird — drinks known for high alcohol content and low prices.

Store wine connoisseurs would offer advice on what wine to pair with dinner that night, and the shop would host wine tastings and guest speakers. They want to be a community joint, the investors said.

"We know we can’t compete with something like Binny’s, but that’s not our goal," said Gary Stephens. 

But the good intentions of a group of investors are not quite enough. The South East Lakeview Neighbors asked that wineHouse agree to a plan of operations in the license, just in case the business is sold and a new owner decides to sell beer, liquor and cheap wine that's more likely to contribute to public drunkenness.

Past liquor license applicants in the neighborhood have agreed to similar constraints.

"We don’t want to be in the situation [where] if you win the Powerball next week, and you ship it off, and they don’t do what you want to do," said Mike Demetriou, the organization's vice president.

That's no problem for wineHouse, said Steve Greenberg, the investor who previously worked for Ikea. They'll do what it takes to open up. They want to be in business by late August or early September, Stephens said.

"We’re not looking to open a liquor store," said Jeff Mono, the doctor in the group. "We’re looking to open a wine shop."