The ever-affable Servio Garcia pulls no punches when talking about wine bars. In the Bergamot GM and co-owner’s mind, nothing in the Boston area meets his vision of what a wine bar should be. But Garcia and Bergamot chef/co-owner Keith Pooler plan to change that with BISq—short for Bergamot Inman Square—a wine bar slated to open in mid-December.
“I wonder, when I go to these places, what are you trying to achieve? Are you a bar or a wine bar or a lounge?” Garcia says. “I think a wine bar should be focused on the wines and offer a wide selection, giving people the opportunity to try different wines.”
Kai Gagnon, wine director at Bergamot, will oversee the program at BISq, and he’s filled the list with wines from Northern France as well as Austria and Germany. BISq will not only serve full and half glasses of wine, but half-bottle portions of selections usually sold by the bottle. The staff will also aim to add a little flair to the proceedings, sabering one bottle of wine each night.
The wine also makes its way into the decor, with bottles studding an accent wall and hanging overhead in a chandelier. The 49-seat space is divided into a back barroom and a front dining room with high-tops, banquettes and counter seating for eight overlooking the open kitchen. Hardwood floors and brick walls make for rustic ambience—the right fit for a wine bar, Garcia says.
“I think of the winemaker, with his overalls, spending all day in the sun and working the earth and the grapes and the vines. So that’s why we’re trying to achieve something more rustic and appropriate for the winemakers,” Garcia explains. “And the food has the flavor and character to go well with wine.”
Pooler says that food will include lots of charcuterie, with dishes like rabbit and foie gras sausage drawing raves at recent preview dinners. There will also be menu sections for bread and salad, seafood, other seasonal small plates (mostly priced at $8-$10) and a dessert program centered on trifles served in old-timey sundae glasses. Helming the kitchen will be Bergamot sous-chef Dan Bazzinotti, who, along with Gagnon, really provided the inspiration for the second restaurant.
“Bergamot is small. So the opportunities to grow are very minimal. Once you get to a certain position, there’s no way up unless you buy the restaurant. So we didn’t want to lose these people,” Garcia says. “We wanted to find a concept that could work around them, so we decided to do a wine bar with small plates and charcuterie. The reason why is because Dan loves that kind of food, and Kai’s passion is wine.”
BISq, 1071 Cambridge St., Cambridge