In the heat of summer, we’re all looking for a fun and refreshing way to cool off. And if the crowded bars and noisy hustle and bustle of Bardstown Road aren’t cutting it for you, then have no fear, because the perfect alternative has just opened up in Louisville. Think: a cool, crisp glass of champagne in a chic, art-forward setting.
Enter The Champagnery — a sophisticated, yet down-to-earth champagne-focused bar ready to meet your cocktail hour needs. Located on Frankfort Avenue, this new upscale watering hole opened its doors earlier this summer and has been popping the bubbly ever since. After just one visit to the copper-clad hotspot in this thriving historic neighborhood, you may start calling yourself a champagne connoisseur.
Owners Charlotte and Brad Stengel, along with their nephew Eric Wentworth, wanted to offer something that Louisville hasn’t seen before. They believe in celebrating life and couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by raising a glass of bubbly with loved ones while surrounded by art!
Charlotte and Brad knew that they had the perfect location for Louisville’s first champagne bar: Charlotte’s beautiful art gallery right in the front of the late-1880s building that they co-own with Chip and Connie Hill. Both educated in architecture, Charlotte and Brad used their expertise to create and implement the architectural renovation of the Victorian-style building with its copper-capped turret, as well as the more recent addition of the bar. ARCHITYPE Gallery features the original line of ARCHITYPE handbags that Charlotte designs and co-owns with Dena Wilson. The gallery also showcases work from other local and international artists, so guests can enjoy an array of fine art as they sip champagne.
In order to add the experience needed to develop and manage a bar, they invited their nephew Eric Wentworth, cocktail entrepreneur and co-owner of The Hub, to partner on this endeavor with them. When asked, Eric eagerly hopped on board. Eric points out that his Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Brad have always been huge role models in his life, so the opportunity to partner with them made the venture a dream project for him.
The Champagnery’s drink menu focuses heavily on champagnes originating from the Champagne region of France, including well-known brands such as Dom Pérignon and Veuve Clicquot. They offer over 120 different champagnes and sparkling wines from all over the world, plus non-sparkling wines, and a full bar with bourbon, cocktails and even a few beers to please the non-champagne drinkers.
All of the cocktails contain sparkling wine in some form, whether it’s mixed in the cocktail outright, like in the French 75, or creatively integrated, like the sparkling wine reduction in their take on an Old Fashioned, which was dubbed the “Mother Teresa” by family member Bob Goodin, who claimed, “After drinking a ‘Mother Teresa,’ you love everyone!”
Their food menu features a variety of small plates, oysters and other treats designed to be paired with champagne. The small plates make it easy to share a few dishes with a group of friends while you sip your bubbles. Stay tuned — there are plans to expand the menu soon.
With its breathtaking, waterfall-edged Patagonia quartzite bar, pleated modern couches and copper tables and accents, the ambiance is chic and elegant, but the vibe is laid-back and unfussy. While they may be peddling high-end French champagne, the staff is welcoming, helpful and down-to-earth. Charlotte and Brad wanted to make it a warm place to bring friends and loved ones to celebrate, and they also point out that the space has a certain “nerd factor.” Charlotte explains, “We always strive to learn more and more about the product that we are serving — its history, context, relevance, presence and potential. And we are learning that we are not the only ‘nerds’ who are thirsty for more knowledge about champagne and sparklings from around the globe!”
And to the delight of champagne and art nerds across Louisville, they will also be planning special events in the future, including different wine classes with their sommelier, pairings of different forms of art with champagne, charity events and other exciting initiatives in the community. The space is also available for private parties and events, so it could be a great place to host your next company outing, philanthropic event, family celebration or even a bridal shower.
It feels almost as if the owners plucked a gallery out of New York City and set it down right here in Louisville, keeping the big-city appeal and adding in some good ol’ Louisville charm along with a glass of bubbly. We’ll drink to that!
Thank you to Shannon Wells with Leigh Photography for the gorgeous images of The Champagnery.
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