Must Be a Zindfandel

By Beacon Staff

Upstairs, in a loft overlooking Whitefish’s Main Street, a customer accidentally spills red wine on Greg Burger’s gray T-shirt. He laughs and says, “Oh, looks like the ’04 Zindfandel.”

While wine bars conjure up visions of the hoity-toity, The Loft does not. With its recently acquired wine and beer license, the shop is now open to the public as a wine bar. Burger and co-owner Chad Wold hope the combination of a wine bar, tasting room, event catering, climate-controlled storage room, and private lockers has appeal–especially with wines by the bottle purchased at retail rates with a small cork fee, rather than restaurant rates.

With 10 rotating wines “on tap” and a line up of microbrews strikingly different from other Main Street bars, The Loft is a place to try out new flavors. “We want an unpretentious hands-on experience,” says Burger. With bottles running between $8 and $400 a piece, the diverse selection of regionals and imports covers little known wines rather than common grocery store varieties. “We’ve got every day value wines up to boutique and collectors wines,” explains Burger.

With overstuffed leather couches and the works of local artists changing monthly on the walls, The Loft creates a comfortable place for conversation. You can drop in the wine bar Mondays through Thursdays, noon – 6 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, noon until 10 p.m. Hours may expand in July. The Loft also rents its space out for weddings, parties, and reunions.

If there’s any question about pretentiousness, even neophyte wine tasters can learn from The Loft’s monthly online newsletter called “The Wine-O.” “Usually you can’t drink where you buy wine,” adds Burger. “Here you not only can taste before you buy, but drink your wine on site.”