Company Description

Around the corner from McCarren Park in Greenpoint Brooklyn, California 88 wine bar will provide a refined yet unpretentious neighborhood space to meet friends, have a drink and learn about wine. The arrival of California 88 wine bar announces a heretofore unseen concept to New Yorkers: an exclusively California wine program with every bottle available by the taste or the glass. Patrons will also enjoy organic, locally sourced small plates, charcuterie and cheeses and a curated retail selection of California-made goods.

587 Manhattan Avenue, the future home of California 88

The California 88 team are self-taught connoisseurs with extensive industry experience. They understand that the ability to taste wine, not just read about it or look at a label, is the best way to discover its joys. They also understand that taste is highly personal and subjective, hence the bar’s selection of 88 different wines. The goal is for customers to become their own wine expert and decide what they look for in a wine.

A celebration of the California wine regions, the space will encapsulate California living. White walls will be accented with natural woods and indoor plants throughout. Patrons can feel free to sit at the 10-person tasting bar, perch at the two-seater tables or gather with a large party. Those in the space will feel as though they’ve just walked into a friend’s well-appointed living room in sunny California. The award-winning Kimberly Ackert Architecture will design and build out the inviting new space.

Examples of wines that will be available for purchase, by the bottle or by the glass at California 88

In addition, special events will aim to facilitate a two-way relationship between New York wine lovers and California wineries. This includes wine tasting classes, private winemaker dinners and exclusive California wine country retreats.

California 88 is set to open in the Spring of 2018.

Business Model

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.

Location Analysis

California 88 wine bar will be located at 587 Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. This situates the restaurant in the heart of one of Brooklyn’s most desirable neighborhoods.

Greenpoint Brooklyn (Source: Hudson Real Estate) Greenpoint (zip code 11222) has been the center of Brooklyn’s growth for the past decade. The residential area has been especially popular for young professionals. Median household income is $73,391 with an average age of 34.5. The neighboring Williamsburg is a hip, well-established neighborhood known for its trendy restaurants and bars. Residents from both neighborhoods have disposable income and a desire to dine out and socialize at local bars.

Brooklyn is booming (Source: Hudson Real Estate)

As a neighborhood establishment, California 88 allows a place for local residents to meet up on a regular basis over food and drink. At the same time, the wine bar is well positioned to become a destination for residents of other boroughs including Manhattan.

The wine bar will provide a modern, unpretentious, welcoming space for young professionals to meet up with friends and colleagues. After all, as reported by the 11th Annual Wine Market Council Research Conference, 36% of wine drinkers in 2015 were millennials, a large demographic of California 88’s surrounding residents.

Easily accessible by both car and train, California 88 will sit just steps away from the Nassau Station on the G train and a 10-minute-walk from Bedford Station on the L train.

Meet the Team