When you’re seated inside Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, the cozy wine bar in Little Italy, you forget about the traffic zipping along Centre Street and people hogging the sidewalks with their shopping bags. Of course, much of that has disappeared since the current crisis hit nearly four months ago.
But one of the city’s most beloved wine bars has an even more enticing setup with its first pop-up: Supernatural Lake plans to launch a soft opening later this week and officially open on July 23rd in the Fingers Lakes. The pop-up is located in Interlaken, about 30 minutes north of Ithaca, on Cayuga Lake—in the other words, the backyard of a primeire wine region in the Northeast. It’s part wine bar, restaurant and bed-and-breakfast accommodations set on three acres. It’ll stay open through October 31, except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“The pressure isn't as high here being surrounded by so many people,” says Caleb Ganzer, Compagnie’s managing partner. “You don’t want to leave.”
Only 50 customers can be on site at any given time. There are also currently two cabins—located just steps from the lakefront—that guests can rent, starting at $450 per night or $2,400 per week.
Over the past few years, the Compagnie team had spent time looking at real estate to grow its business but that came to a halt when the city shuttered indoor spaces for restaurants and bars back in mid March.
“In the weirdest of ways, we pivoted to delivery,” says Ganzer. “But we didn’t get into this business to deliver wine to Staten Island.”
The demand for wine deliveries eventually slowed down, and there were even thoughts about whether closing the business (sales are down 80 percent) and moving out of New York made most sense, Ganzer says. Instead, a team of five employees decided to rent a house to relax and regroup. That’s when Ganzer found the space in the Finger Lakes.
“We saw the place, and it was like magic,” says Ganzer. “We're just rolling with it and trying to make it ours.”
With the Finger Lakes region already in Phase 4 of reopening, Ganzer and company have been working the past six weeks or so to open the pop-up. They’ll feature their usual array of wines: from the classic French varietals to more esoteric grapes to local wines (nearly a third of the menu) produced in the Finger Lakes. There’s also local beer, cider and kombucha on the menu.
In keeping with the bar’s more relaxed approach to wine service, they’ll continue their Aloha Friday events when there’s a pig roast, offer s’mores and organize live music acts.
“You've got Amish people and you've got hippies and everything in between here,” says Ganzer. “You can't take anything for granted, just like New York.”
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