Emy Sanchez is a Central Oregon native who gave up the corporate life to pursue her true passion: wine. Sanchez previously worked as a wine importer and marketer. She gained expertise in those jobs, but owning her own wine bar was her dream—albeit one that felt like a pipe dream. That is, until last fall when commercial space along Galveston became available—a charming, tiny, two bedroom house that was formerly a real estate office. She could not pass up the opportunity, and Sanchez, along with her husband Brad, renovated and opened a stylish, modern wine bar in just seven weeks.
Sitting at Sip next to the open patio doors on a Wednesday evening, I glance around at tables of women with wine flights in front of them, listening to the hum of energetic conversations, and feeling the sunshine coming in through the door is a distinctly urbane and sophisticated ambiance, as if sitting at a stylish wine bar in Portland or a busy tasting room at a Willamette Valley vineyard. But even with that urbane feeling, the Galveston vibe is there.
There are fire pits, wooden tables and chairs, plenty of outdoor seating, and a casual atmosphere that is welcoming and comfortable. The staff is friendly and keen to offer suggestions and answer questions.
"We wanted a warm, neighborhood feel," explained Sanchez. "We want wine to be approachable, not overwhelming or intimidating."
Keeping it simple, but also interesting, is the mantra at Sip. That's why the menu includes about 35 different wines from around the world, organized by variations within the palate that people know they like: "Our Friend, The Blend," "Spice is Nice," "Big & Rich," "Mellow Whites," "The Classics," and "Bubbles."
There's also a "We Heart Oregon" category, giving a nod to our locavores, and "Sip Favorites," offering a selection of staff favorites. Patrons can order by the glass, the bottle, or a flight that includes a sampling of all three wines in each category. We tried a flight that arrived in a small wooden rack holding three glasses of wine (just the way a beer flight looks at Crux).
Sip also has a simple but well-rounded (and evolving) food menu that features small plates, soups, salads, and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. On the server's suggestion, we tried the cambozola stuffed dates, which are presented atop a bed of thinly sliced Granny Smith apples and drizzled with house made parsley olive oil and balsamic. We also sampled the flavorful tomato pesto crostini: crostini bread topped with Tillamook white cheddar and a generous scoop of house made tomato pesto.
In addition to Wednesday Ladies' Night, where women get a dollar off their glass of wine, there are house specials each day of the week, offering red, white, and bubbles options at $5 per glass. A selection of local beers and cider are on tap for anyone craving something other than wine.
1366 NW Galveston Ave.
4-9 pm Sunday; 4-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday