The Ridge Wine Bar
Owner: Jenny Schwartz
Start date: early December 2010
Address: 1017 N. State St.
Square feet: 1,700
Phone: (360) 920-3425
Jenny Schwartz has an almost genetic disposition for business ownership. From a punk rock store to a farm to her parents’ plastics company, business ownership seems to be a family trait.
“I grew up in a family of small business owners,” she said.
Schwartz always expected to own a business someday, but she didn’t expect that day to come when it did.
Schwartz opened a wine bar at 1017 N. State Street in the former location of Chuckanut Ridge Wine Company’s Tasting Room, a business she knew well. Her boyfriend, John Powers, co-owned Chuckanut Ridge Wine Company and helped build a strong customer base and music culture at the Tasting Room.
On July 18, 2010, Powers suffered a head injury while moving out of the way for a golf cart at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. He died July 30.
After the Tasting Room closed its doors, Schwartz decided to open them again — she wanted the Tasting Room’s legacy to endure. In early December, she opened a new business with a familiar name: The Ridge Wine Bar.
The music and customers’ faces may be the same, but Schwartz has made a lot of changes to the space.
“It really had a facelift, a major facelift,” she said.
With the help of friends, she painted the once multicolored walls olive green. Black benches line one wall and small, matching round tables sit in front of them. Black and white art hangs from the walls. Schwartz, an artist, traded a painting with an owner of Man Pies for construction of her new bar, which is a combination of wood and metal.
She also changed and expanded the menu. Chuckanut Ridge offered six different kinds of wines, but Schwartz’s menu includes beer and a long list of wine — from $6 per glass and up — and may include spirits by spring or early summer, Schwartz said. She also serves coffee, tea and some food, including salads and grilled sandwiches.
“So, it’s more of a bar than anything,” Schwartz said. “I want this place to be a neighborhood bar.”
While Schwartz described The Ridge as classy, she also said it’s casual and hopes to attract an eclectic crowd that includes college students.
Two Ridge bartenders add to that casual ambiance. They are local musicians who often incite spontaneous jams. Most of the time
The Ridge is fairly mellow, Schwartz said, but it can get wild on live music nights.
“It’s funny because it’s not crazy 20-year-olds; it’s crazy 40-year-olds,” she said.
The Ridge Wine Bar is open Monday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.