Birmingham AL | Completed
Tucked into a neighborhood retail street in Mountain Brook, Alabama, Golden Age Wine is an unexpected find. The 2,000-sf wine shop and bar is the first in the state to offer natural wine by the glass and bottle. The proprietors wanted the flexibility to showcase an unrivaled selection of natural wines in a space that captures the honesty, sustainability, and beauty of this growing movement.
An adaptive reuse of an original 1962 building, the space had great bones that had been obscured through the years, including a dropped acoustic-tile ceiling, bumpy drywall, and a concrete floor clouded by dark-brown polish.
To create a space characterized by a balance of comfortable warmth and uncluttered minimalism, the new design opened the ceiling to full height, smoothed the walls, ground the floor surface down to its original aggregate, and reorganized the interior space.
The rear half of the space was divided into two levels, including an office on an existing second floor. This upper space divides the ground-floor shop, allowing for a soaring tasting room up front and a shift in height for an intimate back room for gathering or overflow seating. Added arches soften the transition between the front shop and bar and the event room behind.
With the building pared back to its bones, strategic details in simple materials create an inviting, un-cluttered elegance on a modest budget. Two broad strokes of shelving—totaling 400 linear feet—define and frame the interior. An off-the-shelf modular wall-mounted shelving system paired with custom wood-veneer shelves offers flexibility and character at a modest cost. The shelves were made by local artisan Cliff Spencer and include a clever routed reveal on the front of each for the “shelf-talkers”—a signage system that allows every bottle to be labeled clearly without fuss, tape, or fasteners.
The materiality celebrates Birmingham’s terroir: brick tile handmade nearby with Alabama clay, tabletops cut from local stone-yard remnants, vintage chairs found across three states, and a ceiling of reclaimed oak shipping crates from a Birmingham manufacturer.
Several key collaborations tap into Birmingham’s rich wealth of local artists and artisans to root the space firmly in its place. Ceramicist Civil StoneWare was commissioned to create custom dishware, combining three different clay bodies and glazes for a unique bespoke set. Botanical artist Holly Carlise assembled a sculpture of dried local hydrangeas, and neighboring woodworkers Alabama Sawyer and Cliff Spencer designed and built the shelving and tables. Proprietor Brandon Loper’s grandfather made all the cutting boards—beautifully displayed behind the bar—by hand.
2828 Culver Road