Here in Bermuda, we've been fortunate as we've enjoyed some incredible summer weather well into October, but we all know that at some point, our luck will run out. That means that instead of congregating on a sunny patio to enjoy a weekly happy hour, we'll be looking for indoor spots to enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail (and of course a bite to eat) over the course of the cooler months. As it turns out, one of the most eclectic and engaging spaces on Front Street (if not the whole island) is a step ahead of our impending winter "what to do?" dilemma, with a new event to look forward to on a regular basis: Wednesday Wine Tastings at Urban Cottage.
First of all, if you haven't been into Urban Cottage, make it a point to visit soon as it is something you really need to experience. From vintage to contemporary, it's essentially a mixture of all things cool; from the set-up of the store, full of antique signs and furniture with a rustic backdrop of reclaimed wood, metal and glass, to the incredible selection of unpredictable items that Owner, Nicole Golden has sourced from near and far. UC has become a first stop when searching for a unique and special gift (or, let's be honest, shopping for ourselves). Displays in the store change regularly and new items are constantly added, so each time you visit, there's something different to see. Favourites are the selection of candles, jewellery (including gorgeous pieces by Bermudian designer Rebecca Little) and unconventional items for the home.
It has such a worldly feel, at the same time, there is such a strong infusion of Bermuda into the store with homey touches throughout including pillows showing vintage Bermuda street scenes, amazing photography and local artists' creations adorning the walls and tables. Sometimes we just go to wander through, see what's new, buy some wine (UC carries a selection of wine that has never disappointed!), and catch up with Nicole to see what's next for Urban Cottage. It was on one of these trips that the discovery was made about her plans to use the space for a regular Wednesday Wine Tasting...and you know we hopped right on that train!
Clearly, we weren't the only ones who were excited by the idea of the combination of wine and Urban Cottage because without any more advertising than a few posts on Instagram, the event was sold out before the doors opened last Wednesday evening. Your entry ticket allowed you to taste four different wines (two whites and two reds), an incredible spread of cheese (ranging from a mild brie to a bold blue), crackers, breadsticks, dips, fruits and a quiche that stole the show. The doors opened at 5:30 and before 6:00, Jason from Burrows & Lightbourn and Michelle were busy pouring and giving tips on each of the wines being sampled, while guests mingled, nibbled and enjoyed the ambiance of a truly unique happy hour.
As each guest arrived, they were given a name tag to write their name and where they were from. It was great to see the huge variety in places - Bermuda, Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand, France, USA, Jamaica, Uganda...and the name tags served as conversation starters throughout the evening. The entire store was buzzing and there was a general feeling of enthusiasm for returning to future Wednesday events. With plans for the upcoming tastings to feature different wines and food, each one will be a new experience and based on the reaction we saw, we suspect that this will be a sell-out every time.
Wine tasting inside of a place like Urban Cottage is some folks' version of an ideal evening...wine + shopping = two great ways to spend an evening. There were a few people doing a bit of Christmas shopping (you know...those really organised people) and others doing a bit of 'self gifting'. It's hard to resist the shelves and tables covered in beautiful displays so shopping is encouraged. Yet another plus for this event.
Urban Cottage is a work of art in and of itself, so the event really had the art gallery-ish feel, which isn't easy to find in Bermuda. Every piece in the store has been hand-selected by Nicole, in line with her vision, and we're so pleased that her vision for UC includes wine and food (visit the second level to find the wine and food-related items) and now an amazing event where the unique offerings of Urban Cottage can be enjoyed.
A huge congratulations to Nicole and Urban Cottage for the outcome of this inaugural tasting. We can't wait for the next one. But word to the wise...visit the store soon to get yourself on the list!
Next Wednesday Wine Tasting @ Urban Cottage: Wednesday, 28 October at 5:30 p.m.
Urban Cottage is located in the Somers Building at 11 Front Street, Hamilton
Open Monday - Friday 9:30 to 5:00 and Saturdays 10:00 to 5:00.