Ollie's Pub and Fields Family Wines share more than a wall inside a brick building on North School Street. Operators of the establishments have pooled their resources and are working to realize their vision of creating an environment that appeals to a wide demographic of beer and wine drinkers.
They collaborated and transformed the facade of the building in recent weeks, and the pub also offers Fields' wine to its customers. When Russ Fields, owner of the Woodbridge Winery that shares his family's name, was looking at locations for a Downtown tasting room, he found the perfect place in longtime friend and Ollie's Pub owner Sean Guthrie's building. The two attended college together at University of California Santa Barbara.
"The idea was not for the two business to be together in one, but rather to work together and complement each other," Fields said.
Before Fields was ready to move Downtown, Guthrie purchased Ollie's Pub — then known as Ollie's Tavern — in November. Guthrie and co-owner Justin O'Byrne quickly put their mark on it. Guthrie and his Irish-born business partner kept the name "Ollie's" and enhanced the Irish image. Guinness is now on draft and a digital clock that counts down to the next St. Patrick's Day hangs over the bar.
Next door at the newly opened tasting room, a sleek modern look is highlighted by granite countertops and exposed ductwork in the ceiling. But Fields isn't done tweaking the interior designs. He plans to add sound boards in the ceiling to reduce some of the echo and will regularly rotate the artwork that adorns the walls. Currently, the work of photographer Christopher Staggs is featured and for sale in the tasting room.
Customers can choose between a flight of five wines for $5, glasses or bottles. Among the wines featured at the tasting room is Fields' 2009 Syrah that won "Best in Show" at the 2010 San Diego International Wine Competition.
To Fields partner and winemaker Ryan Sherman, updating the look of the building was an integral part of opening the tasting room.
"Lodi spent a lot of money remodeling Downtown, and we want visitors to be able to see the brickwork and gold sidewalks," Sherman said.
Gone are the gaudy hues of the pink and lime-green facade Guthrie inherited with the building. They have been replaced by a sleek lines, a corrugated steel canopy and windows that were left open for part of Thursday's farmers' market, enabling aromas of grilled chicken to add to the ambiance.
While aesthetically pleasing, Fields said installing the windows in the winebar posed significant challenges.
"It all had to be done in one day," Fields said. "The windows needed to arrive in the morning, and we needed to rip out the old stuff and install the new. So we picked a day we figured it would be slow so the noise wouldn't bother people in the bar and made it happen."
Fields Family's grand opening for its Downtown tasting room from 2 to 10 p.m. July 30. A grand opening celebration for Ollie's Pub is in planning but no date is yet scheduled.
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at firstname.lastname@example.org.