Hot Spot: Cellar 59 offers a wide variety of wines, tasty food and chill atmosphere
Wine bars offer a different environment than regular bars or craft brewpubs. Sure, some people still get just as drunk as they would crying bitter tears about whatever is happening on TV at a sports bar, but no one’s doing Red Bull shots or having to shout to have a conversation over too-loud music.
Cellar 59, located thematically on Kent Road aka Route 59 in Stow, has that soothing adult atmosphere. Built in a 19th-century farmhouse, Cellar 59 is quite roomy. There’s the tasting room and main bar area to the right of the entrance, with a small wood bar, a few tables and a lot of racks filled with a wide variety of wines from all over the world, including Italy, France, South America, California and the Pacific Northwest. (Sorry, wine homers, there are no Ohio wines available.)
On the other side is a much larger room with tables for larger groups. The lighting inside is low and soothing.
Cellar 59 touts an inventory of more than 450 wines but the wine menu offers about 10 reds and 10 whites that you can try in sips ($4-$9), by the glass ($7-$12) or by the bottle ($20-$30). Flights of three are available for $12. For us non-wine lovers, there’s a solid selection of craft beers in the $3.50-$7.50 range and a few rotating drafts, along with a small menu of crafted cocktails for under $10.
With spring in the air, the deluxe porch/patio is the place to be. It wraps around much of the house, which gives patrons the option of sitting in the sun and enjoying the soothing sounds of cars whizzing by on 59, or on the more intimate side that doesn’t face the street.
Jennifer Pierce of Munroe Falls and Kathy Bowling of Stow perfectly placed themselves to soak up the picturesque, warming rays of the setting sun as they enjoyed a cheese and fruit board (three cheeses, seasonal fruit, fig spread, rosemary raisin pecan crackers and a French baguette). The friends, who both live close by, have been customers for about five years and periodically meet at the wine bar for a relaxing catch-up.
“I like the deck. Outside is always better than inside when it’s sunny in Ohio,” Pierce said, shielding her eyes from the sun.
“And sometimes we’ve been here when they’re having music and it’s kind of loud inside, so sometimes it’s nice to be out here, and even though there’s traffic it’s still quieter than being inside. It’s like white noise,” she said.
Despite the bevy of varieties available, neither Pierce nor Bowling consider themselves wine connoisseurs.
“We’re definitely wine enjoyers. I know what I like and I don’t try and stray out of that too much. I’ve gone in and looked (at the many different wines) before but then it’s just, yeah," Pierce said sipping on a familiar glass of Merlot.
Bowling also tends to keep it simple but has learned a few things. “I’ve perfected my wine list,” she said, but after years of coming to Cellar 59, she will occasionally dip into unknown territory. “Probably more so now than five years ago. So I’m trying to expand my horizons little by little.”
Despite not being much for diving into all the options, “I like this place just because I like the atmosphere, it’s comfortable, it’s very chill,” Pierce said.
“Yeah, we’re not dressed very nice, it’s after work and we just wanted to get together to talk,” said Bowling, casually adorned in a sweatshirt.
In addition to the wine, Cellar 59 offers a menu that includes the aforementioned cheese and fruit board ($12-$14) as well as the charcuterie and cheese board we tried, which adds a nice trio of cured meats — speck, capicola and soppressata. Small plates include the stuffed Bavarian pretzel, a pleasantly delicate pretzel packed with pepperoni, cheese and homemade red sauce ($10), which was delicious. There are also a couple of paninis and several pizzas ($13-$15), one of which featured a combination of roasted mushrooms, goat cheese, rosemary and arugula so fresh you’d think there must be a garden in the kitchen.
Cellar 59 is available for private parties and has live music a couple times per month. You can catch local bluesman Little Steve-O on Saturday.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.