For 14 years, Chill Wine Bar held it down as Beacon’s lone wine bar, even as the residents and businesses on Main Street changed continuously around it. “It’s a pretty boozy town—there’s lots of bars, distilleries, and breweries,” says Tanner Townsend, “But when Chill closed, there was no longer a wine bar.”
In Dutchess County, Townsend’s name is primarily associated with coffee, as owner of three Krafted Cup locations. But in early December, he expanded his repertoire to include fine wines with the opening of Reserva Wine Bar in Beacon with his fiancé and business partner, Pedro Sousa. Located in the old Chill spot on Main Street, Reserva picks up its predecessor’s mantle as Beacon’s sole wine bar, though with a refined twist on the ambiance.
Townsend, who was friends with the previous owners of Chill, Patrick McKenna and Jim Svetz, had always joked with them about taking over the business if they ever moved away. “About a year ago, Jim texted asking if I was still interested,” Townsend says. “It just came up at the perfect time with Pedro looking for the next step in his career. We discussed it, and one thing led to another and here we are.”
In February, the pair purchased Chill and set about renovations. “We had hoped as everyone does for our renovations to be fairly quick,” Townsend says, “but there were a lot of challenges from the pandemic—supply issues, furniture, building materials.” He had hoped at least the liquor license would be expedited with fewer new businesses opening during COVID, but the process dragged on as it always seems to.
The space at 173 Main Street finally reopened in early December, boasting a fresh makeover. The exposed brick wall behind the bar features ornate vintage mirrors and photos from the couple’s travels around the world. The space abounds with warm, caramel leather from the stools to the chairs to the custom banquette in the front window. The dark blue bar and ceiling nicely offset the gold and brass accents throughout, creating an elegant clubhouse vibe that Townsend describes as “a little vintage, a little mid-mod, eclectic, warm, and inviting.”
In addition to the large, L-shaped, white quartz bar, which seats 12, there are four-top tables, booths, and a lounge area in the back with a Chesterfield sofa and armchairs. “There are all these different little spots where you could carve out a space for yourself,” Townsend says. “Our goal was an high-end aesthetic but approachable price point.”
The duo is working with small distributors to curate a global wine list of underrepresented varietals and winemakers, including minority, women, and LGBTQ vintners . “Our goal was to find some really cool grapes and interesting different varietals that you've never heard of,” Townsend says. “Just to be able to bring and introduce people to things they’ve never had before. That said, if we come across a mindblowing Cabernet, we’re going to carry it.”
Wines by the glass run between $12 and $16, with bottles going from $80 to $200. Celebrating an anniversary or a special occasion? Dip into the reserve wine list, which has high-end bottles with prices north of $300.
To start, Reserva will offer classic, light wine bar fare—cheese and charcuterie platters, giardiniera, and spiced nuts, with the menu expanding over time. “We don’t have a full kitchen,” Townsend says, “As we get established and get rolling, we are going to listen to our guests and see what they’re asking for. If they want tapas or small plates, we do have an area in the space that we could develop into a full kitchen.” Sousa, who has a background as a private chef in the Hamptons, came to the area to attend the Culinary Institute, much like Townsend did 15 years ago. His Brazilian heritage shows up here and there from the bossa nova music bookings to the food and even the wine list. (Keep your eyes peeled for a sparkling Brazilian white).
Speaking of music, Reserva plans to have live music every weekend. The roster of regular acts includes Nellybombs and Joana Nova York, plus other soul, rock, and blues acts.
“We’re open to any type of music and performance, we just want space to be fun and approachable,” Townsend says. “We want people to know they’re going to come in and have great wine, great food, and great entertainment.”
Reserva is open Wednesday and Thursday, 4-10pm; Friday 4-11pm; and Saturday to Sunday, 2-11pm.
Reserva Wine Bar
173 Main Street, Beacon, NY