A place to go with friends.
That was the place Kelsey Daniels set out to create. Now, that dream has come to life in Flights Wine Bar. Located in the former Birdie's Cafe location on the west side of Bend, the cozy spot opened in November to a warm reception.
"We did it and it's awesome," Daniels states. "It's rewarding to have created that place I wanted to go to with friends. A place with a neighborhood feel." Along with that comfortable, inviting atmosphere, Daniels (a Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET level 3) wanted to present wine tasting in a unique format, making it easy to try new things. She also wanted to offer her clientele more than just a basic cheese board to accompany the wine. Enter chef Nick Ragazzo.
- Unique Bite Photography
Ragazzo worked closely with Daniels to create what he dubs the "farmhouse chic" menu, offering a bit of everything from snacks and bites to boards and full dinner plates and desserts from scratch—the intent being upscale comfort foods refined to showcase wines from all over the world. Ninety-five percent of Flights' menu items are made in-house, including pastas, sausages and pickles, according to Ragazzo. Seasonal flavors come into play on the concise but varied menu and vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are regular choices. Ragazzo's Italian heritage and worldly culinary adventures are also on display in delectable dishes such as the Italian Shrimp and Grits, Smoky Brisket Philly and the Tandoori Cauliflower Steak.
Flights features all styles of wines from all corners of the planet, rotating flight offerings regularly. For example, The Light Side flight recently consisted of an extra dry prosecco, a Pinot Bianco from Italy and the Granbazán 'Etiqueta Verde' Albariño. The Localish flight served up a couple of Oregon Pinots and a red blend from Washington state, and the Wanderlust flight was a European experience with a white wine from Toscana, Italy, a classic Chianti and a lovely red wine from Piemonte, Italy. You can also order anything by the half glass. Danielshttps://www.exploretock.com/flightswinebar stands behind her wines, assuring customers that she "tastes every bottle when it's first opened and tastes again before serving again." She's also proud of the fact that she's a purveyor of mostly small production wines not typically available in big chain stores.
Flights offers retail sales to-go, to let people take a bottle home. Patrons can also order takeout food. Be on the lookout for weekly specials as well, such as the current Fried Chicken Thursdays. The dine-in chicken dinner special is available Thursdays from 4pm to close, or you can take out an eight-piece bucket of chicken, homemade biscuits, pickles, sauce and a bottle of wine. That Bucket and a Bottle can be upgraded to a Balla Bucket with a Somm-select champagne for an unbelievably low price.
Daniels has plans for even more specials and more winemaker events, such as wine dinners and even workshops where she'll help folks find out what they really like when it comes to wine.
Producing such extracurricular wine activities is a perfect fit for Daniels, a former film and television producer and production manager. She enjoyed a career in that fast-paced industry for nearly two decades before deciding it was time to make her daydream come true.
"In between jobs, when I could travel, I would always try and find the nearest wine region, my 'happy place.' I loved tasting and couldn't get enough of wine education through the tasting rooms, workshops and wine regions." So, she quit the film business and started working in a small family owned wine shop/tasting room. She also enrolled in a Wine and Spirit Education Trust course and eventually became a certified sommelier and started planning the future of Flights along with her husband, Kent. Kent is co-owner of the wine bar and also a helicopter pilot who works with firefighting teams throughout the west. So, as Daniels explains, the name Flights has a double meaning.
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, perhaps wining and dining is sounding very romantic. Flights has its A Lady & the Tramp Valentine's Day Dinner (which still had a few reservations available at the time of this writing) as well as the Valentine's Day Afternoon Tasting from noon to 2:30pm. And for the non-wine drinker, Flights offers beers, non-alcoholic beverages and a full bar with classic cocktails.
Flights Wine Bar
1444 NW College Way Suite 1, Bend
Open Wed-Mon Noon-9pm