Parlour Wines, a bottleshop dedicated to organic Italian wine, quietly opened in Madison Park in October 2021. At the beginning of July, it reopened with a wine bar, becoming the only wine bar in the neighborhood and the only wine bar in all of Seattle specifically focused on Italian natural wines.
The shop across from the Madison Park tennis courts is actually the second Parlour Wines; the first is a wine, vermouth, and amaro shop in Brooklyn. After decades-long careers in bars and restaurants, owners Brendan and Amber Casey (a married couple) moved to Bremerton in 2020 to be close to family and to escape the realities of living in New York during the pandemic.
While Brendan Casey has worked at several food businesses in Seattle and New York City (including at Cafe Campagne’s now-shuttered Marché restaurant), he became obsessed with Italian wines and how they interplay with food during his six years at West Village Tuscan restaurant I Sodi.
Casey says “wine is a food” in Italy, so wine pairing is just “food with another food,” though he finds it fascinating that you can find a perfect Italian wine pairing for almost any dish from around the world, even though Italy is a relatively small country. During his time at I Sodi, Casey also got fascinated with the stories behind wines, which sparked an obsession with wines made by the people who grew the grapes, known as estate wines.
Every wine at Parlour Wines is an organic state wine. Though not 100 % of the wines would be considered natural wine, most are made with low-intervention methods. Brendan says he wants to introduce the domestic-wine-loving residents of Madison Park to natural wine without assaulting them with wild flavors sometimes found in the fringes of the natural wine world, something that could turn them off forever. There are plenty of other natural wine shops in Seattle who appeal to those more versed in the world of natural wine.
“I can’t be pushing my boat out too far and expecting them to swim all the way to me,” Casey says.
He also wants to maintain of sense of place at Parlour Wines, something he thinks is missing from some local natural wine bars that buy wines from all over the world — thus, the strict focus on Italian wine regions.
Beyond wine, the shop serves local and Basque ciders as well as vermouth and wine-based Italian amaros. (Though there are some Seattle amaros like Fast Penny Spirits’ Amaricano and Baker’s Sunset Hill Amaro, they’re spirit-based and can’t be sold under Casey’s current liquor license.)
There’s also a wine club with different membership levels, one for wines that are found in the store, and one for harder-to-find bottles/
Eventually, Parlour Wines will have some light bar snacks to pair with the drinks. For now, diners can bring food from home to pair with the wines, or they can grab a pizza from The Independent Pizzeria down the street.