Parlour Wines will not only celebrate its one-year anniversary of opening in Madison Park this month, but owner Brendan Casey is pleased that word is slowly spreading about his expansion.
This summer, Casey expanded his business to include a wine bar after his permit was approved. Now, in addition to bottles to purchase, Casey sells wine by the glass, which people can enjoy while sitting at the bar, a cozy seating area off the main room or on the patio.
“Being a wine shop and a wine bar, you really do feel like you’re part of people’s lives,” Casey said, adding one of the things he likes most about his business is getting to talk to customers, hear about their day and their lives.
Casey said running a wine shop and wine bar is a perfect fit for him. He not only gets the human interaction a regular bartender does, as well as the satisfaction of sharing his expertise with his customers, but he also keeps more reasonable hours and maintains a healthy home-work balance.
“So, it really is the best of both worlds,” he said.
In addition, Casey opened Parlour Wines in Madison Park with plenty of experience. Casey worked in the fine-dining industry for many years, where he developed his knowledge of wines and spirits. At his wife’s recommendation, he gave that up to open his first store — one that offers wine and spirits — in New York City. When he and his family moved to western Washington in 2020 to be closer to his wife’s family, he decided to become bi-coastal.
“I always joked that instead of getting a real job, I’d just open another wine shop,” Casey said, adding his wife has a more traditional, 9-5 job.
After scoping out locations in Seattle, he saw a niche he could fill in Madison Park. He opened Parlour Wines as a sales-only bottle shop in October 2021.
“This is the place that I felt the most connected to in terms of the space,” he said, adding his establishment used to be the garage of a house, and it is in an ivy-covered building that is 100 years old, which is unusual for Seattle. “It has character.”
In addition to the atmosphere, Casey said he didn’t want to open in a retail space at the bottom of an apartment building because that doesn’t offer the personal feel he wanted. He also likes that he is situated across from Madison Park in the heart of the village and likes it when people casually strolling by stop in to check out his shop, or now that he has expanded, enjoy a glass of wine on the patio.
“To be here in the middle of the community, it just feels like it’s more of a homie feel,” Casey said.
While he offers a small selection of Washington wines in his New York shop, Casey said he opted to specialize in European wines, mainly focusing on French and Italian, at his Madison Park store. That was a deliberate decision because he wanted to differentiate himself from other businesses, where Washington wines are common.
Plus, he said, because his familiarity with European wines is extensive, as is his knowledge of wine pairings, Casey draws from that expertise to make recommendations to customers, even if they don’t know much about European wines, by listening to their current taste and preferences.
“I already have the background,” he said.
Casey said the wines he offers at his business reflect his personal tastes, which don’t include many sweet or dessert wines, although he is happy to order them for customers.
“Wine is food, too. I don’t really like the extra sweet. I struggle to fit that in my own life, so I struggle to fit that in here,” Casey said.
Now that he is more established in the community, Casey is also expanding his services. He said he is happy to host events at Parlour Wines. In addition, every first Friday of the month he hosts a party featuring the artwork of local artists. The art and artwork changes monthly.
In the fall, Parlour Wines, 1803 42nd Ave. E, in Madison Park, is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. Visit parlourwinesmp.com for information.