Ferd’nand the Fierce
Tucked away inside the lovely food and retail hall, Melrose Market and open since the Spring of 2010, Bar Ferd’nand is one of the most quaint, cozy, rustic, and warm little wine shops I have ever stepped foot in. Named after the 1936 beloved children’s storybook classic, The Story of Ferdinand, you could say the shop is a lot like the young bull it’s named after, both doing things much differently than its counterparts and doing it well.
Bar Ferd’nand is a wine bar and bottle shop that serves an ever, rotating selection of wines from carefully selected, family owned and operated small production bodegas from all over the wine producing world. Marc Papineau, sommelier and co-owner heads the wine program at Bar Ferd’nand and has even put together a fantastic personalized wine subscription called “The Bottle Society” which includes a monthly selection of wine complete with tasting notes and is tiered in various levels of: 1, 3, 6 or 12 months. Each month includes 6 bottles of wine (which is an amazing deal if you ask me) and makes a fantastic gift even at the one month level. A cozy booth to sit in and enjoy a glass of wine with friends.
When having a glass of wine in shop from their insanely extensive list of wines by the glass (or, for a small corkage fee why not get a bottle) don’t forget to try some of the exquisite small plates being offered from neighboring restaurant, Sitka and Spruce. Headed by the shops other co-owner, Matt Dillion, Sitka and Spruce exemplifies what Pacific Northwest cooking is all about: fresh, local and unique. The menu, which changes with the seasons, isn’t quite as extensive as the wine list but is still full of many wonderful surprises. Choose from an array of local cheeses paired with house-made charcuterie that comes served in 2 sizes, toast and mustard are served on the side and it includes things like; speck, lamb ham, salted fat back, liver pate and more. If cured meat and cheese isn’t your thing, there’s also small plates perfect for vegetarians like: spiced chickpea puree served with Aleppo (a type of pepper) and cilantro, grilled winter squash topped with whipped ricotta, almonds and kimchi butter.They have so many unique and interesting bottles that I have never heard of. Especially in the champagne department.
I should also mention, Bar Ferd’nand does have a sibling location known as Upper Bar Ferd’nand and located not far from the original location in Chophouse Row. Like the original they still put a lot of emphasis on carrying a great selection of wine but they also offer beer and sake as well. They also have a larger food menu with slightly more substantial offerings and with thoughtful, suggested pairings for each dish. Both locations however offer fantastic wine tastings. On Tuesday’s the original location in the Melrose Market host’s special winemakers and distributors from all over the world. On Wednesday, these tasting are held at Upper Bar Ferd’nand in Chophouse Row. These themed tastings are $5.00 to attend or free with the purchase of a bottle and are open for all to attend.I was so surprised to see how reasonably priced the bottles were. Many options sure to fit any budget and occasion.