The timing couldn’t be better for Haley Fortier, who plans to open Haley.Henry Wine Bar in mid-July. The Sportello alum saw how Fort Point’s rapid growth helped Barbara Lynch’s restaurant, so she was drawn to the up-and-coming neighborhood of Downtown Crossing when selecting a spot for her new bar. That she’ll set up shop at about the same time that a 60-story residential tower opens a block away is a huge advantage of which she’s well aware.
“Millennium Tower opens in July, and that’s another 1,000 residents,” Fortier says. “I’m just really happy to be part of the rebuilding. It’s fun to see a neighborhood grow and evolve.”
Occupying 686 square feet on the ground floor of the luxury condo high rise at 45 Province, the wine bar has a diving helmet suspended from rustic chains near the entry, announcing a nautical vibe. Leather seats, two concrete tables and a wooden bar help fill the space, which has a mezzanine above the seating for wine and dry storage.
“It’s a really funky system, and not one I’ve seen before,” Fortier says. “Everything has two functions. There’s a pegboard wall that’s decorative but can also be used for storage, and we’ll fill that with tinned fish.”
That suddenly trendy tinned seafood (see Good Eats) will get a starring role on the menu at Haley.Henry, where mussels, octopus and squid will be among the offerings. Fortier is sourcing most of the tinned fish from Portugal, Spain and France, using just one U.S. supplier, Washington’s Ekone Oyster Company: “The stuff I found here is just not very good, aside from Ekone. It’s a good challenge for a U.S. company to really step up its game.” The menu will also feature a cheese section, a couple of seasonal ceviches and crudos, salads, a panini of the day and a charcuterie program with pates, terrines and sliced meats.
The food is meant to accompany the star of the bar: the wine list. Fortier plans to include rare finds from all over the world on the list of 40 to 50 bottles, focusing on Old World wines and minerality. Along with wines by the glass and bottle, half bottles and carafes will also be offered.
“I have a very hard time committing to a full bottle of wine when I go out. I always want to try different things,” Fortier says. “We really just want to make this a playground for people to experience new stuff.”
Haley.Henry Wine Bar 45 Province St., Boston haleyhenry.com