The new Sherman Oaks wine bar from Dustin Lancaster and Matthew Kaner of Los Feliz’s Bar Covell is ready to pop. The partners have teamed up with musician/longtime pal Dave Gibbs of Gigolo Aunts fame to open Augustine, which debuted last Wednesday with vintage offerings in a old space that’s humming again.
“Saint Augustine is the patron saint of brewing and second chances,” says Kaner, the new venture’s wine director. “And when we found this building, which dates back to 1941, it was in a serious state of disrepair, and we figured it deserved a second chance.”
The bar’s décor pays homage to the space’s former tenant—a radio repair shop—and is decorated with a collection of vintage radios, industrial lighting, kitschy needlepoint signs, and a piano that dates back to 1912. There are 18 seats at the reclaimed white marble-top bar, while two-person booths line a sidewall.
In similar fashion to Covell, a chalkboard will highlight wines by the glass that are always “subject to change.” The real draw, however, comes from Gibbs’ collection of vintage bottles, a treasure trove he amassed over three decades of touring, and wines from private cellars sourced by Gibbs and Kaner—“wines of incredible provenance,” says Kaner—that form the basis of Augustine’s wide-ranging by-the-glass and bottle offerings.
Augustine will feature 75 wines by the glass ranging from under $10 to $100 and bottles ranging from around $100 to $1,000. On any given night, you might try a glass of rare sparkling Austrian rosé ($15) or a small-production Hungarian white ($9) or a skin-fermented white blend from California’s Central Coast ($17).
Or what about a 1995 Ritchie Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from Spring Mountain in Napa Valley? Perhaps you’d prefer an old French gem: Ask for a glass of 1997 Château La Lagune from the Haut-Médoc. Both of these aged wines are $25 a glass, and if you’ve never tasted a wine older than five or 10 years, be warned: Your taste buds will demand more and have to negotiate with your wallet.
And what if you want to go all out? Watch your fellow patrons’ eyes light up around the room when you ask for a 1968 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour–Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa—yours for the uncorking at $350 a bottle. (It’s a potentially life-altering wine.) Why stop there? Try a Madiera that’s 165 years old for $100 an ounce—the 1860 Veiga Franca Malvasia Madiera from Portugal. On and on, different options every visit–along with rare beers on tap and in bottles.
Chef Evan Algorri, who spent six years working in the kitchens of New York City restaurants including Bouley, Union Square Cafe, Lupa, and Marea, is in charge of Augustine’s food. The opening menu features cheese and charcuterie ($15 to $25), spiced nuts ($4), tater tots ($6), braised octopus ($19), and a beef cheek sandwich ($16), among other offerings.
Augustine is open daily at 5 p.m. with last call at midnight.
Augustine, 13456 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-0938