Fig & Thistle Begins Retail Wine Shop Operation

Fig & Thistle Begins Retail Wine Shop Operation
Photos: Ayo Suber/Hoodline
By Ayo Suber - Published on July 08, 2015.

Fig & Thistle, nestled away on Ivy Street, is known for its selection of California wines and craft beers. But did you know it’s now a wine shop as well? We caught up with Fig & Thistle co-­owner Angel Davis to learn more about the new retail operation. 

“We say 'imports by the bottle, domestics by the glass,'” Davis said, referring to the bottles of imported wine now available for sale. Customers can come and enjoy a bottle at the bar or simply take it home. “We’re not officially [a wine shop] yet ... we started the remodel two months ago. We’re open now, but it’s a work in progress.”

The renovation will help them find the storage space needed for the new wine. They haven’t been publicizing the wine shop portion yet, and they are slowly building their inventory, but Davis says she’s 100 percent focused on the bar now. “It’s been a long time coming. The remodel was the first step.” 

Davis says bringing in the imports is “a way to expand what we’re doing, but in relation to the California wines.” She hopes to give customers a backstory, connecting them with the domestic wines available by allowing customers to explore the roots of where the California wines evolved from. 

Valentine and owner Angel Davis of Fig & Thistle sample new wines.

When asked what would distinguish them from Hayes Valley wine shop Arlequin, she responded “They’re amazing, and we’re a hell of a lot smaller. We’re a part-time wine shop and a full-time wine bar. But our [wines are] curated based on our by the glass program.” Fig & Thistle works with small producers, and they try to keep the list cohesive. “There is a reason for each wine, chosen based on relationships.” 

When we stopped by, importer Andrew Yandell was showing the Fig & Thistle team natural wines that were organically farmed in Spain. All lost varietals, these were championed by a new generation of vintners promoting clean, back-to-the-roots viticulture. It's an idea very much in keeping with what Davis is looking for for Fig & Thistle: vendors and winemakers who are dedicated to their craft.

“This is a really good time to be drinking wine. We’re lucky because San Francisco is so open-minded. The winemakers in their 30s are really pushing wine. It’s like Hemingway and Gertrude Stein pushing [each other’s] art form forward; these winemakers are doing the same.”

Fig & Thistle offers bottles of wines for sale during its regular hours, which are Monday, 5pm-11pm, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, noon-11pm, and Friday and Saturday, noon-1am