In the Spring of 2021, two long-time friends Andy Paxson and Dave Gibbs merged their expertise and knowledge to bring something fresh to LA’s buzzing Beverly Grove district.
The duo demonstrated superb collaborative ability in the past with their esteemed Sherman Oaks restaurant, Sushi Note, so it only made sense for the new project to reach new heights. Their vision was an intimate location where guests could enjoy and learn about wine from across the globe. They sought to transform the typical wine bar experience into something more approachable for both avid wine enthusiasts and novices. It wasn’t long until their concept materialized in the form of a 450 square-foot space they named “Melanie Wine Bar.”
Melanie’s old school decor creates an elevated atmosphere for guests. The bar is adorned with nostalgic memorabilia like vintage photos, books, tennis racquets, and mementos of days gone by from Paxson and Gibbs’ personal archive. Other elements of the ambience include vintage wine bottles fashioned on steel pipped shelves, dimly lit Edison blubs, and votive candles.
The title of the joint was inspired by Paxson’s wife whom, together with Gibbs’ wife, helped convince the two men to join forces in the early days of their careers. Recalling his reasoning, Paxson explained “I named the wine bar after my wife so there is a tip of the cap to the love of family and to that unique role in our restaurant world that is solely held by the spouse of a restaurateur.” Their unconditional support systems and persistency in the industry construct the backbone of establishments like Melanie Wine Bar.
At Melanie, guests are dared to channel their adventurous selves and try new varietals from both unfamiliar and well-known wine regions. Dave Gibbs, a wine industry veteran, worked with Wine Consultant Shane Lopez from Augustine Wine Bar to develop Melanie’s wine program. The opening menu consists of 28 bottles, with an emphasis on wines from France and Italy. Lopez deliberately built the tight wine list to enable a regular rotation of new wineries and varietals.
To complement the revolving “by the glass” wine list, Paxson and Gibbs have tapped the talents of Chef Consultant Dro Dergevorkian (Augustine Wine Bar) to create a small plate menu. By considering strong flavor elements like spices and acids, Dergevorkian pinpoints the absolute best pairings of food and wine. Thanks to him and Melanie’s educated bartenders, guests are in for a learning experience catered to them specifically.