Wine bar opens at Takoma D.C. Culture Shop
The Culture Shop on Cedar Avenue in Takoma D.C. offered an interesting dynamic Thursday afternoon as customers perusing handmade Zulu wire baskets and pearl earrings from Tibet mixed with patrons of the shop's newly opened wine bar and tavern across the room.
Located just on the other side of the Washington, D.C., border behind the Takoma Metro station at 341 Cedar St. NW, shop owners Valentine and Mona Davies began a discussion earlier this year with Singh Kochhari, who owns S&S Liquors across the street, to see what they could do to both improve sales in the small shopping area and provide customers with a more vibrant, diverse shopping and dining experience.
"We wanted to include more for our community than just retail," Valentine Davies said from the Culture Shop side of the Cedar Crossing Tavern & Wine Bar Thursday. "I guess you could say we've been ahead of the curve when it comes to creating a mixture; it's not just all retail, it's not just wine and a bar."
Relying on their good past relationship with the communities of shoppers on either side of the Maryland/Washington, D.C. border, including business associations in Takoma Park, Maryland and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners elected to represent the neighborhoods in the district, the venture successfully gained an alcohol license and generated a substantial turnout on opening day.
Takoma D.C. resident Loretta Neumann stopped by Thursday to enjoy the samosas and meatballs with her husband, Daniel Smith. Both agreed that the addition of the wine bar will bring together members from both communities in a unique public meeting area.
"I can count probably a dozen or more faces in here that I know on a first-name basis," Neumann said, looking around the room while Smith eyed the appetizers on the plate between them, another bonus of the new business partnership.
"The food tastes great," he said, turning to his wife with a smile and gesturing toward the meatballs. "They're almost as good as yours."
In light of two recent closures of independent businesses in the area the Savory Café up Carroll Avenue and the Drifting Nomad only a block away from the Culture Shop the need for the wine bar to succeed is increased significantly, according to area leaders like ANC commissioner Sara Green, who also attended the opening.
"It's a very exciting thing to see people investing in the community here," she said.
Green pointed out Kochhari's newly repainted liquor store across the street and a forthcoming art project that will decorate the currently drab, blank concrete walls of the metro underpass around the corner as improvements that could bring visibility and a sense of community ownership to the area.
"This is a very difficult business area, and we're working really hard to get people to support these local businesses," Green said.
Davies was confident the support will continue, both for the retail Culture Shop and the exciting new bar.
"All of this is part of the intent to create a place where the community can get together and relax," he said with a smile, surveying the subdued but animated discussion over at the bar. "A place where everybody knows your name."