When the time came to build his own bar, Tony Stevens knew exactly what he wanted to do with the Burke Street space, which he would call Vintage Sofa Bar.
“There used to be a place in downtown Greensboro,” he said. “The Paisley Pineapple. Remember the Sofa Bar upstairs? I wanted it to be like that.”
The Sofa Bar, in what is now the second-floor barroom of Natty Greene’s downtown brewpub, was classy and casual, strewn with couches like a large living room, the kind of place grown folks could go for a drink without feeling so… grown.
Couches and conversation areas, leisurely table sports, a sunken patio, cocktails from true mixologists and a wine list curated by a sommelier. And Vintage is home to the best bar menu in the Triad.
1001 Burke St. WS
“Vintage is the kind of place I want to hang out in,” he said.
Not long after graduating Johnson & Wales there decades ago, Stevens returned to his home in High Point and established the Grappa Grille, a Furniture Market mainstay that eventually moved to Lawndale Drive in Greensboro. After closing Grappa, Stevens opened restaurants in Charlotte, Charleston and other foodie cities before coming back to the Triad, where he opened Stevens Oyster Bar in Greensboro and the Cast Iron Kitchen in High Point. Then he was tasked with opening the Katherine Brasserie in the lobby of the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, inside the old Reynolds Tower.
He quickly became enamored with Winston-Salem, and sought about creating something specifically for this market. He found the spot on Burke Street, which has housed numerous bars over the years, where he would fulfill his vision.
He tapped head bartender Logan Gebhart, who helped Stevens open the Screen Door in Charleston and established the drink menu at the Katherine. He’s created a cocktail menu built from house syrups, fresh juices and top-shelf liquor, with curated wine and beer selections that stray from the everyday. He refinished the interior with wood tones and soft lighting. He found a shuffleboard table.
Vintage serves a menu created by Stevens himself, with homemade beef jerky, house-cured olives, small-batch charcuterie and a rotating cast of small plates that relies on the ingredients at hand and the whims of the chef.
Open four nights a week, with brunch on Sundays, there’s no dress code at Vintage and no cover charge; $5 gets you a lifetime membership. It’s dog-friendly, available for catering and private events, and there’s a private parking lot out back.
It’s everything a grown-up could ask for.