In downtown Turlock, visitors can find plenty of country music, cold beer, dancing and cocktails, but where can they go to find a nice glass of Merlot? Noticing this missing piece in the city’s nightlife, The Udder Place owners Jerry Powell and Shayne Heine recently purchased Vintage Lounge and Piano Bar, hoping to bring a bit of wine country to Main Street with their new bar, Grand Cru.
“This is a niche that’s not being catered to in town,” said Powell. “We think we have some good ideas for the bar to bring even more people downtown.”
Vintage Lounge has called its current location at 130 W. Main St. home for three years, and prior to moving into the spacious location in 2014, the bar operated at 110 W. Main St. (which now houses The Udder Place) since 2009. Powell and Heine had considered opening a wine bar in the past, and when the opportunity to buy the Vintage Lounge space arose, they jumped on it.
Now, a remodel and renaming are in the works, bringing Turlock’s first wine bar to the streets of downtown.
“Our goal is to make it warmer, nicer and newer, but keep the brick,” said Powell.
Though the location’s classic brick wall will remain, the rest of the bar will undergo quite a few changes. A wine cellar vault, wine displays on the walls, artwork and booth seating will all contribute to the fresh feel that Powell and Heine are hoping to achieve.
The bar’s forthcoming new name, Grand Cru, is a French term meaning “a wine of the most superior grade, or the vineyard that produces it.”
“We’re going to try and tie that in to the bar,” said Powell. “We want to create an atmosphere that’s top-of-the-line in Turlock.”
Grand Cru will cater to patrons of all ages, added Powell, from the younger 21 and up crowd that frequents downtown to parents looking for a night out.
“We want good customers – it doesn’t matter what age they are,” said Powell.
Cheese and meats will eventually be served along with wine, if desired, and the venue will host wine dinners and special events as well. Live music, a constant at Vintage Lounge, will remain at Grand Cru, with acts performing jazz, contemporary and decade genres on the weekends.
The bar will remain open during the remodel, which is expected to be completed by the end of summer. For those who may miss Vintage Lounge, Powell gave some advice.
“I think they’ll enjoy what we’re planning to do,” he said. “Come on in and give us a try.”