When Tommy and Tammy Brown opened 44Bootlegger as a hip, niche retail spot in 2014, after 2 years in the couple recognized the lack of shops in one of the city’s trendiest and fastest growing areas. In a moment of equal parts poetry and serendipity, the two decided to turn their retail space into a wine bar – something they wanted all along. After all, the business was named as an homage to Tommy’s grandmother, who was a bootlegger in the ’60s and ‘70s.
“After two years of cultivating a retail business, I looked at Tammy one afternoon and said, ‘You do realize half the people who open our front door think we are a bar?’ ” Tommy said. “Without hesitation her reply was, ‘I know.’ It was at that moment we knew that our direction would change: the name, the space, the street –– it all made sense in that one moment.”
The Industrial-chic, stylish wine bar, set amid the hip Near Southside’s critically acclaimed restaurant row on Magnolia Avenue, offers boutique wines and craft beer at reasonable prices and have recently added a French/Spanish style menu. Guests can sit in the newly renovated dining room and bar area and/or take a case of wine or beer home. All of the 44 wines and 44 beers on the ever-evolving menu were carefully curated by Tommy and Tammy, who strive to offer their visitors something unique, comforting, and delicious.
The elegantly appointed dining area is furnished with artisanal, hand-crafted furniture; the walls are lined with colorful, cool antique doors (some of which are more than 150 years-old); and vintage works of art draw the eye. The atmosphere is homey and relaxed enough for an after-work bottle of vino or beer, with a quaint sophistication that is perfect for a date night or a special occasion. It’s a space where neither beer nor wine lovers have to compromise on quality or ambiance.
The room, which can comfortably seat up to 55, is available for parties and special events. The business is family owned and operated, and Tommy and Tammy are usually on site to provide a personal touch and to ensure that their guests are being treated with the utmost care and attention to detail.
“We plan on hosting events open to the public and adding more surprises as we evolve,” Tommy said.
Hours of Operation:
Tues-Thur: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Fri-Sat 5 p.m. to 12 p.m (or until the party stops)
Sun & Mon: Closed, but available for special events.