On Monday night, Nate and I headed over to East 7th (such an up-and-coming street!) to check out the newest wine bar to grace the streets of Austin. It’s called APT 115, and it’s a teeny place that was designed to feel like you’re in someone’s cozy little apartment. There’s a bar with a few bar stools, but the kitchen has a typical fridge you’d see in someone’s home, and the furniture and decor are mostly vintage items that were selected by the owner.
It’s unlike anything I’ve seen.
I’m in love.
For starters, let’s talk about the wine (because that’s the most important thing at a wine bar, right? Vibes and decor are important, but the wine has to be good.) Joseph Pannenbacker, owner and curator of APT 115, has created a list of about 50-ish bottles of both unique and approachable wine.
But when he showed me a freshly printed menu with a huge blank space at the bottom of the page, he told me that it was because he’s still planning on adding more. Lots more.
Joe has worked at a lot of established Austin restaurants (Jeffrey’s, Green Pastures), but I think that his real credibility comes from his excitement about wine. Really…his face completely lights up when he starts talking about his selection of wine. He exudes passion for wine, and just from my few short conversations with him, I could tell that he finds delight in paying attention to the little details…
Walk into APT 115 and look around at the decorations that he hand selected, and you’ll know what I mean. Then ask him to explain the menu, and you’ll understand even better.
I love this place because:
- It’s completely different from anything else in Austin right now! We have several great wine bars (Winebelly, June’s), but nothing this quirky and small and cozy. But it’s not just quirky…it’s also really good. The wine is amazing. The service is perfect.
- The staff knows their stuff. Our server, Phillip, worked with Master Sommelier June Rodil for about 8 years. He knows his wine. I had so much fun asking him specific questions about varietals and the wine making process. He’s an encyclopedia of wine knowledge! I know this might seem like a small thing, but it’s kind of frustrating how many beautiful wine bars there are in Austin that lack a knowledable staff. I have about 20% more fun drinking wine when I can also learn something about it.
I’ve only been once, but I’ll certainly be back. Nate and I shared a cheese board (we had the most delicious cow’s milk cheese with a lavender and coffee rind) and both tried two different glasses of wine (both rosés for me, and both reds, Italian and Spanish, for Nate.) It was a really fun date night experience. I also think it would make a fun place to go out on a first date if you’re trying to impress someone with an interesting date spot!