Sweet Grapes Wine Bar at 39 Essex Street is finally ready for business. Owner Bill Frazer has set next Thursday, March 3, as opening day at the bar, which has been converted from its former function as Frazer’s flower shop. Essex Flowers moved around the corner to Grand Street last year, and Frazer’s been preparing his first foray into the bar business ever since.
Although he’d originally planned to open Sweet Grapes last fall, permitting and paperwork delays have just been cleared up, and Frazer says he is looking forward to the new venture taking hold in the neighborhood.
“We want it to be a casual, fun place to hang out–nothing wild and crazy,” Frazer said, offering a tour of the space this afternoon.
The roughly 300-square-foot space features a vintage cash register, historic photos of the Lower East Side, a large flat-screen television and a small raised platform in the rear of the bar that holds two tables but can also be cleared to function as a performance stage. Frazer plans to book live music about once a week, beginning with a jazz guitarist next Friday night.
The bar will serve a variety of wines by the glass and bottle, as well as about a half-dozen beer choices. Food will be “light fare,” he said, as there isn’t space for a big kitchen. Frazer, a veteran business owner on the block who also operates Flowers Cafe on the corner of Essex and Grand, plans to be behind the bar himself one night a week.
There are seats for 18 and space for a total of about 30 patrons, Frazer said. He will open in the late afternoon and close at midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 2 a.m. the rest of the week.