Louie’s Wine Dive, a wine-focused restaurant and bar located in downtown Nashville has quickly become one of the city’s top picks for happy hours, date nights and events. Landing at #2 on Eater.com’s list of ‘hottest new restaurants in Nashville’, Louie’s offers a casual yet sophisticated wine-focused menu and boutique atmosphere to go along with it.
When we first sat down with the Louie’s team, it quickly became apparent they wanted the restaurant interior to share the same amount of detail and craft that is put into wine making, as well as the curation of the food menu. Our greatest challenge became how do we weave the story and heritage of the wine making process into this two-story, white box?
Our solution was to create an experience for the diners at every turn. Diners enter through a wine wall portal, giving them the first taste of what their experience inside of Louie’s will be like. The custom 12’ tall wine rack was designed with the same detail, craft and heritage of wine making. Working with a team of local Amish craftsman, the design team used reclaimed wood and hot rolled steel as the support posts and leather holsters to cradle each bottle of wine. The flooring at the entry is also indicative of the craft and detail, with hand-made hexagonal ceramic tiles expertly inlaid into the reclaimed wood floors, blending together seamlessly. The ceramic floor tiles lead you to the bar, which is positioned in the middle of the space as the social hub of the environment. Once at the bar, diners are greeted with a 30 foot tall hot rolled steel wine rack, drawing the eye vertically to the two-story volume. Not only does the wine wall serve as storage and display for the hundreds of bottles of wine on the menu, it also acts as a sculptural piece of artwork and the main focal point of the restaurant. To display the restaurant’s feature wines, the design team collaborated with the fabricator to create an authentic, hand-crafted installation that would reflect the same attention to detail that went into selecting the feature wines.
To ensure the diners have an authentic experience at every turn, the kitchen was exposed to the dining area of the restaurant so that the guests could experience the Chef’s craft that the goes into the food they were served. A hand-crafted leather-strap wall separates the expo kitchen and server line from the side dining. The leather wall, acting as a divider between the two areas is a nod the heritage that is seen in the history of wine making. The grand staircase, bound by the custom wine rack and reclaimed wood, reminiscent of wine casks, creates an immersive experience at every step and leads to the second floor mezzanine designed to house private events.
The success of the project came from the team that created it. Working with the owners, chef, local artisans, metalsmiths and fabricators - the story, heritage and craft of the wine making process was brought to life and manifests itself in the physical space. Louie’s Wine Dive is not just a unique boutique wine experience, it’s a visual and experiential lesson in the craft and detail that is so engrained in the wine making heritage.
And, like a fine wine, the experience improves with every sip.