208 Wine Bar now open

The 208 Wine Bar opens on Bay St., overlooking the Savannah River. The wine bar opened July 1 and operates from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. all but two days a week.
“Please, please, please support this couple.”

That was the greeting I got from a patron at Savannah’s newest wine bar last week. I couldn’t help but wonder, considering there were only about 10 people in the place at the time, if she wasn’t somehow related to one of the co-owners. That’s how passionate she was about the potential success of this spot.

It turns out, her motivation was pure.

“No. I just met them tonight,” she said. “I’m just all about Savannah and seeing things in Savannah doing well. So, please support them.”

With that, I got a kiss on the cheek, and she and her husband were out the door.

click to enlarge The walkway and frontdoor to the 208 Wine Bar on Bay St. is shown. - PHOTO BY JESSE BLANCO
Photo by Jesse Blanco
The walkway and frontdoor to the 208 Wine Bar on Bay St. is shown.
Truth is, it would be hard not to root for the couple behind 208 Wine Bar. James Divine and Christina Pirovitz have gone all in on what they hope could become a first of its kind downtown. A wine bar aimed at not only casual afternoon passers-by, but connoseiurs as well.

“We just thought this was something Savannah needed,” said Devine, who has been in town for roughly a decade. “Last year on our way back from a trip to Orlando, we stopped in St. Augustine and they have four or five places like this. Savannah doesn’t have one.”

Of course, he is referring to the downtown scene. We discussed, however briefly, the concept for wine tasting that exists Midtown at Savannah Wine Cellar, but this is clearly targeting a different demo. “Eventually, we’d like to have a list that could be compared to any other in town,” he said. Which clearly got my attention.

We named names I won’t share because it’s not about competition, but he’s excited to see what he will be able to do here in this space overlooking the Savannah River and accessible from Bay Street. 208 E. Bay St., if you are scoring at home.

click to enlarge The walkway and frontdoor to the 208 Wine Bar on Bay St. is shown. - PHOTO BY JESSE BLANCO
Photo by Jesse Blanco
The walkway and frontdoor to the 208 Wine Bar on Bay St. is shown.
Considering the lease was signed roughly Dec. 1 of last year, it’s impressive that they’ve been able to open by July 1. They did a majority of the work themselves. The structural issues had to be addressed by professionals, which led to delays, but here they are.

With their construction milestones marked by empty bottles of champagne directly above the front door, they are all there. They’ve been open now about a week. Yes, they opened very quietly last week with a very short wine list. No fanfare, no marching bands. The vision is for some softer live music.

“We kind of like the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s kind of feel for music,” Devine said. “We are thinking Ella Fitzgerald.”

And, of course, some light bites to eat. Execution of both of those elements remain in the discussion phase, but they’d like to have both sooner rather than later.

Definitely the food. You can expect there to be something to nibble on within two or so weeks.

They are hoping to create a spot where anyone out for dinner can stop in for a glass of wine before or even a nightcap after for dessert without feeling like they are sitting at a full-service restaurant. From inside, patrons can look out four large windows over perfect views of the Savannah River right outside.

click to enlarge Savannah wine enthusiasts attend the quiet opening night of the newest wine bar, 208 Wine Bar, located at 208 E. Bay St. The riverfront bar will intorduce wine flights and intend to expand their wine list. - PHOTO BY JESSE BLANCO
Photo by Jesse Blanco
Savannah wine enthusiasts attend the quiet opening night of the newest wine bar, 208 Wine Bar, located at 208 E. Bay St. The riverfront bar will intorduce wine flights and intend to expand their wine list.
The wine list? Like I mentioned, very tiny on opening night. But, I’m told it is going to grow quickly. In fact, by the time you read this, I’m guessing the list will look nothing like what I saw. Devine is promising something for everyone in several different price ranges and the introduction of wine flights downtown.

I look forward to getting back to 208 later this summer to see how it has come along, because I’m sure it will. Options are always good and this one is likely to become a “lower-octane” option down on the riverfront. Which is always a plus.

click to enlarge Jesse Blanco shows readers the view from a seat at the 208 Wine Bar, located at 208 E. Bay St. The wine bar features four large windows overlooking the Savannah River. - PHOTO BY JESSE BLANCO
Photo by Jesse Blanco
Jesse Blanco shows readers the view from a seat at the 208 Wine Bar, located at 208 E. Bay St. The wine bar features four large windows overlooking the Savannah River.
That young lady got a lot of mileage with that kiss didn’t she? Either way, check out 208 Wine Bar. They are closed two days a week, but otherwise open 2 p.m. until 10p.m.

About The Author

Jesse Blanco

One of the most recognizable personalities in the Savannah/Hilton Head Island television market, Jesse Blanco is sometimes called "Savannah's Anthony Bourdain." His 'Eat It and Like It' show has become a major regional brand in the foodie world.
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