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Ollie’s Pub and Fields Family Wines see opportunity to support each other

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Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:09 am, Mon Jul 11, 2011.

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 jordang@lodinews.com.

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  • Karis Shock posted at 6:00 pm on Fri, Aug 12, 2011.

    KBS12 Posts: 1

    Its great to see Lodi's downtown becoming more of a destination for wine tasters, one of the main ways our city makes money. If you don't like the people enoying the beautiful CA summer weather, drinking wine outside, then walk a different way. You're in Lodi, a major wine country, what do you expect? And who knew fixing up a dive bar, aka. a cave that reeked of urine would be a negative thing? Im sure there are many more repulsive smelling dive bars elsewhere that you can enjoy.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:44 am on Wed, Jul 13, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Just two more alcohol related venues on the public sidewalks of downtown Lodi. When taking my 5 year-old granddaughter to the Lodi Cinema, she asked my why those wine "tasters" at the outside patio tasting room were acting so funny and screaming at one another. Just another good old boys revenue maker for those who are well-connected? How about our neighborhood bar on California and Lockeford? Will they be granted a permit for the same outside patio privilege in the near future? Oh, I forgot, they aren't well-connected at city hall and don't much care about joining the good ol' boys club just to have the pleasure of having an outside seating area.

  • Jackson Scott posted at 6:12 pm on Tue, Jul 12, 2011.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 381

    Make sure you read this same article on the Stockton Record. Ollie's owners want to go upscale and get rid of the young 20's crowd to "a more sophisticated crowd."

    There goes the last, safe, dive bar in town.



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