New tapas bar coming to downtown in early 2014

The newest addition to downtown’s nightlife scene will be modeled after a 1920’s speakeasy.

When Craft & Vine opens in early 2014 at 1204 Broad St., owners Sean and Krista Wight plan to give patrons a menu of tapas and artisan beverages in a Prohibition-era setting.

“A lot of them will be modern interpretations of classic cocktails,” Wight said of the bar’s drink selection, “Prohibition-style cocktails using all sorts of fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch.”

The gastrolounge also will have more than 40 wines available by the glass as well as a wine dispensing system to encourage wine sampling. Though the main focus of Craft & Vine is on drinks, Wight said that the establishment also will serve appetizers and small meals.

“Everything is designed to be shared,” Wight said. “It’ll all be small plates. We really just want to encourage people to come in and socialize, and eat while they’re doing it.”

A stainless steel bar will take up nearly half of the 4,000-square-foot space, while high-top tables, booths and lounge seating will fill the other side. The downtown spot will be able to accommodate about 95 diners, said Jennifer Krapp, the director of operations for Wight’s restaurants.

The back kitchen is also open to customers.

“The bar and the kitchen are the stars of the show,” she said.

Craft & Vine is expected to open in late January with a staff of about 20 employees. The tapas bar is in the Carr Building and next to Farmhaus Burger, an organic-style hamburger restaurant that the Wights opened in February. The couple purchased the building from Merry’s Trash and Treasures owner William B. Merry with the goal of creating two restaurants and loft apartments above. Those seven apartments were completed earlier this year.

This is the third downtown business for the Wights, who also own Frog Hollow Tavern at 1282 Broad St.

Last week, the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce named the Wights as recipients of the Entrepreneur Rising Star award for their contributions to downtown dining.

“One of our missions is to help revitalize downtown and change downtown Augusta into a dining destination,” Wight said. “We see it progressing slowly but surely.”

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