Cork Wine Bar To Replace Sparky's

Turning my decaffeinated tears into wine, Cork is set to replace the recently shuttered Sparky's on 14th Street around the end of the year.

The wine bar is the longtime dream of neighborhood residents Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts. The couple — who got hitched three months ago — searched for some time for available space in the 14th Street corridor. "We're really excited to be in our neighborhood building this," Gross told Metrocurean.

"Sparky's had really been a cornerstone of the neighborhood," says Pitts, adding that they intend to maintain the neighborhood feel.

Cork will offer about 100 wines by the bottle, focusing on Old World selections, including many organic and sustainably produced wines. As for the wine-by-the-glass list, Gross says, "I'm having trouble keeping it to 20." Glasses will range in price from $6 to $14, with most lingering at the lower end, she says. The bar will also offer wine flights.

With all the high-tech wine serving gadgets popping up around town, Pitts says they'll be pouring wines "the old fashioned way" — straight from the bottle.

The owners emphasize they want the wine program to be approachable. "We wanted to create a place where an oenophile can find something interesting, but a guy on a first date won't feel overwhelmed," says Pitts.

A preview of the menu includes chicken liver with shallot marmalade, oven-baked tomato with local chevre, wild mushroom bruschetta, mussels with parsley pesto, fries with lemon zest and parsley, and Gross' favorite, a brioche sandwich with prosciutto and fontina, with or without a fried egg on top. There will also be cheese, charcuterie and a large selection of vegetables. And wine-friendly desserts will be served late for theater-goers and late-night sweet seekers.

Construction was expected to start this weekend on the 2,000 square foot space. The renovation is in very capable hands: Cork is working with Eric Gronning, the same architect that turned the run-down Trio Pizza and Subs into a bright and airy Hank's Oyster Bar.

Plans for the space include a 15-seat bar, surrounded by banquettes and tables, and a raised level in the back offering 10 or so seats. The owners are also hoping to add a private dining room that may be used for wine tastings and wine dinners. They'll also make use of the small patio out front.

Cork will be open Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Thursday through Sunday, 5 p.m. until 1 a.m.