California 88 will be the only wine bar in the New York City area to focus exclusively on domestic, California wines. It will also be among the few bars in the area to serve all of its wine list by the tasting, glass and bottle. In doing so, patrons can, for example, enjoy a rare $180 bottle of wine at the tasting price of $9. Most glasses, however, will fall into the $10-15 range with 1oz tastings at $2-3. California 88 is looking to maximize on these less-than-full bottle sales, which have a higher margin than bottle sales.
The California 88 menu will offer 88 California wines consisting of roughly 1/4 cabernet sauvignons and merlots, 1/4 pinot noir, 1/4 other reds and blends and 1/4 whites and rosé. A carefully designed food menu will work to complement the wines, not overpower them, and will include charcuterie and cheese boards, small plates and recommended wine pairings for each dish.
As a celebration of the California state, the space will provide a meticulously curated retail section of California-made lifestyle products, including housewares, textiles, kitchen goods and books. The addition of retail will offer a more immersive California-inspired experience for customers.
Examples of lifestyle products to be sold at California 88
The wine bar will open at 4pm Monday through Friday and 10am on weekends, and close at 11pm Sunday through Thursday and 1am Friday and Saturday. Food will be available until close with a brunch menu served on weekends. Each staff member will be trained on wine fundamentals, with an extra emphasis on the California growing regions and varietals.
As the go-to neighborhood wine bar, California 88 will focus on localized advertising and influencer marketing. Advertising both online and offline will be targeted to the 11222 and 11211 zip codes and its 136,000 residents. Working alongside PR agencies, California 88 will also amass a list of food, wine and lifestyle influencers (bloggers, magazine writers) and partner with them on a series of exclusive events, beginning with the California 88 soft opening.
In the effort to drive returning customers, California 88 will have a comprehensive customer experience strategy, including recognizing repeat customers and VIP’s, offering happy hours throughout the week as well as regular educational classes and workshops. There will be a weekly rotation of a featured discounted wine and weekly email campaigns to help cement repeat relationships.