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With Wine Bar Gone, What Do You Want to See Here? [Empty in Smithtown]

Small biz has a kitchen and a fair amount of parking. Got any ideas?

There aren't a ton of vacant buildings on Lake Avenue in St. James, but the few that are really do stand out, begging for a new use.

That's the case with The Wine Bar, a small café that for a very short time operated out of a white house on Lake, across from the equally and the , a small shop that donates its proceeds to fighting multiple sclerosis.

The Wine Bar site has gone through a few iterations over the years; it used to be called the St. James International Cafe. But today there's little happening there.

So, let us know, what do you think would be a good fit for this site? Leave your ideas in the comments.

localguy July 26, 2012 at 07:21 PM
It would be nice to have "real" wine cafe in town. Some place where you could have a glass of wine and maybe cheese and crackers with fruit. Just a simple place (thoroughly cleaned, painted and updated) where adults could wander in, listen to some classy music and enjoy the company of fellow St James neighbors or even bring your laptop and browse the internet. Maybe our friends up at Grape Culture would want to partner up with them some sort of way. Obscure wines (ones you never heard of and could be sold at a good profit because other stores don't generally carry it) offered at the Wine Cafe could be purchased down the block at Grape Culture. Little tents on the tables or notes on the wine menu would direct customers down the street to purchase bottles for home consumption. Rotate the options on a bi-weekly or monthly basis to keep things fresh and to keep the flow of customers at both locations strong. But hey, what do I know??
Henry Powderly (Editor) July 26, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Fun idea, thanks for sharing.
littleShamrock July 26, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I like the cafe idea localguy, but I think it should be more then wines ... maybe brandy or whiskey nights?
SusiQ July 26, 2012 at 08:57 PM
In my youth, I frequented a place in Brooklyn called "Betwen the Toes". (Has since closed. They sold mixed drinks along with the wine, cheese, and fruit. This was a place where mostly couples went.
Morty Cohen July 26, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Wine & cheese cafes are passé & there just aren't enough wine drinkers to support this type of establishment. Back in the 80's we had Tiffany's & even then a lot of the customers ordered beer. They would need to offer more than just wine to be successful.
localguy July 26, 2012 at 09:45 PM
ya, good idea too....... and maybe a couple of craft beers on tap.
localguy July 26, 2012 at 09:49 PM
May be right but back in those days people were drinking Mateus and cheap white wines. Since the number of wineries on the Island has increased the number of people drinking quality wines have increased....... after all, a good glass of wine isn't just for breakfast anymore!!!
gcleffey July 26, 2012 at 10:59 PM
While I love the idea, the rules and reg's that govern NY states liquor wholesalers and there for both bar/pub and retail store operators would make your idea of short run (2 or 4 week) offerings quite expensive. One of the best things that could be done would be a Long Island (or even New York) Wine bar... offering strictly wines from the region would be limiting but a wonderful way for people to try new items and a much needed boost to the NY wine industry. You don't have to stop at wine, there are Beers, Vodka, Whiskey even Tequilas all made in New York State.
Lady L July 27, 2012 at 01:55 AM
make it a parking lot for that dance school next door so it is not so dangerous to drive on lake Ave
localguy July 27, 2012 at 03:24 AM
That would require the owner of the dance studio to purchase expensive property that doesn't generate any income. Never happen and my guess is all the SUV moms would continue to sqeeze as many monster trucks as close to the front door so their kids don't have to walk too far........ can't blame them I guess. But something needs to be done because when dance classes let out it's a free for all between the 7-11 and 4th street with so many "family vehicles" and the kids scrambling about looking for their parents.
littleShamrock July 27, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Even if its a parking lot, there will still be congestion because that will be too far to walk for some because they have to be "at the door". It was bad enough no one could park other then right in front of the gym when it was there and that made a horrible mess in morning commute. It should just be redone, updated the look to old St James and made into a really nice place. Food or not.
Donna Malerba July 27, 2012 at 03:05 PM
A Blues Club.
Brian July 27, 2012 at 05:37 PM
My step grandfather used to take our family there for dinner in the 70's! ha!
Brian July 27, 2012 at 05:37 PM
How about an outdoor clam bar! I've been dreaming!!!!
STJ July 28, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I'm not big into wine but the one thing Lake Avenue doesn't have that I want is an ice cream shop. Those pints from King Kullen don't always satisfy!
ds24 July 28, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I love that idea!
mike r August 07, 2012 at 02:18 AM
It could've worked. the outdoor eating area would have been a great draw but the property need a lot of work and the owner had an old mind set that he would change. He had vision of a wine bar but had a dive bar mentality. Couldn't convince him of what needed to be changed....I even hand made the signs for the place....he just wouldn't change
Lady L August 07, 2012 at 03:38 AM
I don't know why St James does not stagger the parking on Lake ave....No parking on the left side for a few blocks, alternating with no parking on the right side for a few blocks
Lady L August 08, 2012 at 05:08 AM
there was one by where Voila is located...it closed years a go

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