Austin is finally, finally getting its first natural wine bar and shop, on the same block as music venues and bars Hotel Vegas and The Volstead Lounge. LoLo will be found at 1504 East Sixth Street in East Austin starting on Friday, February 7.
Opening a bar and shop dedicated to natural wine made sense for LoLo co-owners Christian Moses and Adam Wills, who readily admit that they’re obsessed. To the couple, natural wine, which is a generally broad term, is defined as those wines made with minimal intervention, without the traditional additives or large amounts of sulfites that are predominant in most wines produced at scale.
With LoLo, their goal is to create an inviting community where wine experts, experimenters, and those just generally curious about the beverage can partake and explore the wide breadth of natural wine, without any fears of stuffiness or intimidation. “I hope that it sparks curiosity, explained Moses.
The LoLo team also includes partners Charles Ferraro (who co-owns Hotel Vegas and Volstead with Moses) and Matt Bowman. Bowman will function as the bar’s manager and partner. He had spent time the Uchi Restaurant Group and Bufalina (which happens to have an excellent natural wine program).
”We wanted it to be dynamic,” said Wills. The bar serves multiple purposes: wine shop, wine bar for daytime drinking or nighttime partying, a place for natural wine education, and the list goes on. He even envisions the space becoming a sort of a creative incubator/salon where people can learn and get ideas from each other, because “you stimulate the mind with a sip of wine.”
When it came to creating LoLo’s wine list, there were two guiding principles. First, only natural wine. And second, they had to love the wines. This led to a list full of bottles from Texas, France, Italy, Austria, and elsewhere.
To round out the wine, LoLo will serve a small snacks menu starting sometime next week. This includes wine-friendly bites like cheese, baguettes from Sour Duck Market, and a variety of tinned fish (spicy mackerel pate, sardines).
The fun name of the bar references several things, as Moses explained: low-intervention wines, low-brow environment, and, she jokes, they’re short people. “It touches on a number of things without being this big meaningful term,” she said, minus any pretentiousness.
Moses and Wills wanted to create a space with easygoing living room vibes. This meant light colors, from the wooden banquette seating, tables, and bar to the pops of color with the light fixture above the large corner table and the menus. Mule Studio’s carpenters helped build some of the wooden interior structures.
The retail shop is found on the back of the bar, with bottles on display for drinking on-site or to bring home. The physical building, which had been home to Gypsy Lounge, was built in 1939.
Outside is the big patio, with picnic tables (painted in orange gradients) and shade. Eventually, a second bar will open back there, which will serve draft Texas beer and wine, glasses of wine, and spritzes.
Lolo’s hours are from noon to late night, daily. The wine bar is celebrating its opening with a party that same opening day, Friday, February 7. It will be DJed by Kyle Dixon, from the electronic band Survive (aka the band who scored Netflix show Stranger Things). It begins at 6 p.m.
Similarly to LoLo, Austin wine expert and the manager of the city’s best wine shop Sam Rozani of Sunrise Mini Mart is still planning on opening his own natural wine bar up in Crestview. Tentatively called The Five 7, it’s set to open sometime this year.