A new boutique wine shop, Bottle Bacchanal, has proposed to take over the former eyewear store Specs in the City & Cheaters Too at 4126 18t St. (between Castro and Collingwood streets).
Bottle Bacchanal's owner Beth Hughes tells Hoodline the shop is set to open this fall after it goes through the city's planning and permitting process.
Hoodline readers may recall that Specs in the City closed in 2018 after more than a decade in the Castro.
Earlier this month, Hughes filed a change of use with the city's planning department to convert the storefront from retail use to alcohol sales. Hughes tells Hoodline she's also applied for a liquor license with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Beth Hughes, owner of Bottle Bacchanal. | Photo courtesy of Beth Hughes
"Bottle Bacchanal is going to be a boutique bottle shop," said Hughes who's opening a business for the first time. "We're going to focus a lot on natural wines."
"We also going to do ciders, small-batch liquors, craft beers, vintage glassware, and barware," explained Hughes. "Kind of everything you need for the drinks."
A current listing advertises the approximately 1,089-square-foot storefront for a monthly rent of $4,901. Bottle Bacchanal is being represented by permit expeditor Jeremy Paul.
Hughes, who's lived in San Francisco for nine years, tells Hoodline she's previously worked as a baker at Tartine and most recently as a pastry chef at Mission District's Blue Plate.
Inside 4126 18th St. | Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker
After getting furloughed during the pandemic, Hughes said a lot of things shifted in her life, and now seemed like the right time to open a business of her own.
"I had a lot of time to think about what I really loved," said Hughes. "Wine has always been a passion of mine. I thought why not, I had all this time to write a business plan. I think it's an exciting time to open a business."
"Even though it's daunting, San Francisco is coming back and I want to add to the rebirth," she added.
Hughes tells Hoodline she's always loved the Castro and the community feeling of the neighborhood. "It's such a vibrant part of the city and I think that it would do well because it's already a great destination," said Hughes.
Working at a community-oriented business is important to Hughes, so that's why she plans to ensure Bottle Bacchanal is focused on the community. "I thought that the Castro was the perfect place for that," said Hughes.
Bottle Bacchanal logo. | Image courtesy of Beth Huges
Bottle Bacchanal will join a handful of wine shops in the Castro including; Blush Wine Bar (464 Castro), Swirl on Castro (572 Castro), Castro Village Wine Company (4121 19th), and Fig & Thistle (691 14th St.).
"I think this natural wine shop will add to it and diversity what's already there," said Hughes about how Bottle Bacchanal will fit into the Castro.
"I think I'm adding something because I'm focusing on natural wines," added Hughes. "I think it will make it more of a wine destination so people can come and go to all the different shops."
According to Hughes, Bottle Bacchanal will also offer wine classes to help customers learn about natural wines. While Bottle Bacchanal will not be a wine bar, Hughes said customers will be able to taste wine during classes.
Hughes said she's received positive support from neighborhood business association the Castro Merchants.
"I'm really excited to be opening and contributing to the Castro," said Hughes.
Bottle Bacchanal's opening marks the sixth new business to either open or announce an opening in 2021.
Earlier this month, pastrami shop Hot Johnny's and Mission Bay's Spro Coffee both announced they would be opening in the Castro.
Additional openings this year include custom jeweler Nick Engel & Co., and Turkish and Greek dessert shop Aegean Delights. Mexican restaurant Comodo will soon open at the former Nomica.