A one-of-a-kind specialty spirits store from Los Angeles is expanding to Dallas. Called Bar & Garden, it will open at 3300 Ross Ave., in the same cool building as Little Woodrow's and Burgundy's Local - Grass Fed Meat Market.
Owners Lauren Johnson and Marissa Mandel opened the original B&G in LA's hip Culver City Arts District in 2012, as the only store in the country whose wines and spirits are all natural, organic, non-GMO, and pesticide-free.
Most of the wines are small-producer labels. They also stock unusual bourbons, rums, tequilas, and gins. They cap it with a verdant atmosphere in the store, with skylights, rustic wood cases, and plants. Informative weekly tastings and an engaged staff have all helped to dramatically transform the liquor-store experience.
Dallas was on their radar because Johnson is originally from Houston and has a sister, Lisa, in Dallas.
"I'd like to spend more time here, and Lisa wanted to be involved," Johnson says. "But we also thought Dallas was a good place to open a liquor, wine, and beer store that's as much people-driven as product-driven. We feel like Dallas is ready for a change from the old model."
One significant way they'll stand out is in the nature of the lineup.
"We only sell wines that use no herbicides or pesticides, and only small-production spirits," she says. "That means nothing that uses color, flavor, or preservatives. One thing we discovered as consumers is how much stuff there is in wine, and we wanted to spotlight small-production wines that are doing things differently. My partner, Marissa, brings in wines you won't see anywhere else."
In recent years, Dallas' liquor store scene has drastically changed, as its arcane laws were loosened to allow companies such as Total Wine & More to enter the market.
"We won't be competing with the big guys on price, but that said, 80 percent of our wines are from $15 to $30," Johnson says. "Even with our unique lineup, our focus point is still the 'everyday wine store.'"
That's because there's a secret surprise to stocking "natural" wines. "A lot of times, those wines are cheaper than what you see at grocery stores," Johnson says.
In addition to wines, B&G will sell bitters, syrups, tonics, and cocktail cherries without artificial color; cool glassware and barware from Japan; fine chocolate; and plants.
"We have 'garden' in the name to remind people that when drinks aren't made from chemicals, they're made from plants," Johnson says.