What do you get when an Argentinian of Italian and Czech descent, trained in a classical Swiss hospitality school and a veteran of some of the best San Francisco restaurants, opens a wine bar downtown?
One of the most eclectic, exciting and, dare we say, weird wine lists in North Carolina.
Esteban Brunello, proprietor of the eponymous Bar Brunello, can trace his desire to own his own bar to a single childhood memory. He was 6 or 7 years old and sitting at a long table on his grandmother’s patio in his hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Family and friends came and went and the air was filled with laughter and stories as food and wine was passed around.
“I wanted a place that when someone walks in that door,” Esteban says, indicating Bar Brunello’s East Main Street storefront, “they feel the same way. People tell me they feel like they are coming to my house.”
Here’s a Tip! If you can’t make up your mind, try one of the wine flights, or check out the great beer selection! Don’t forget the cheese and charcuterie menu either!
So much of Bar Brunello is an extension of Esteban’s own personality and experience. Regulars can expect a hug when they walk through the door. First-timers can expect a crash-course in the wines of Sicily or in the production methods behind orange wine when they begin to ask questions.
And don’t be surprised when Esteban, with a mischievous grin and a twinkle in his eye, opens a bottle of something special just for you to try.
With more than 650 wines on hand (including what he claims to be the largest selection of orange wine in the world), Esteban delights in offering customers tried-and-true favorites or exciting new wines. Whatever he pours into your glass, you can be sure he already loves it, and you probably will, too.
The extensive wine list has prices and styles to fit almost every budget and taste, and the private back patio is perfect on a warm evening.
Parking on the east side of town can be hard to find, and you may want to familiarize yourself with the new Park Durham system, which runs till 7pm on weekdays. Remember to feed the meter before whiling away the afternoon hours at Bar Brunello!
$6-$36 for a glass of wine; many fall in the $8-$15 range.
Photography by Briana Brough