ARTpool expands 

The popular St. Pete gallery opens a café.

click to enlarge ART COOL: The new café at ARTpool features craft beer, wine, and plenty of veggie-friendly breakfast and lunch options. - MARINA WILLIAMS
  • MARINA WILLIAMS
  • ART COOL: The new café at ARTpool features craft beer, wine, and plenty of veggie-friendly breakfast and lunch options.

Art maven Marina Williams’ empire expanded when the ARTpool gallery on Central Avenue opened its new café on Tues., Nov. 6.

“Our café opened its doors today and we are over the moon excited,” Williams said Tuesday. “We have amazing foods, coffee, tea, beer and wine.”

The café will be open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and serve beverages only until 6 p.m. Brunch and lunch will be served Friday and Saturday, and the menu will have something for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores. Evening events are planned, too. “Since the weather is so nice we will probably be open later,” Williams said. “We will have a trivia night, live bands, movies, a lot of things going on to bring some life into the area.” Along with wine, sangria and mimosas, the new café offers a hearty selection of craft beers.

“We have something like 40 craft beers from PBR to Cigar City Jai Alai,” Williams said. “We have an amazing courtyard, the garden is open, and there is plenty of room for smokers and non-smokers.” The café’s not the only new addition to the ARTpool complex; Williams is also opening an in-house vinyl record store and a shop selling vintage furniture and home décor.

“This is a whole new animal for us,” Williams said. “You name it, we’ve got it.” Café offerings will be available in the evenings during ARTpool’s monthly fashion shows. The grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 16-17.

The Wine Cellar on Redington Beach is not closing — not anytime soon, that is. Owner Liesel Sonnenschein spoke with Creative Loafing Tuesday, confirming that the property is indeed for sale but The Wine Cellar isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“We are working with a developer that had a partial contract with Sweetbay Supermarkets,” Sonnenschein said. “But Sweetbay put a moratorium saying no more stores so that isn’t happening.” The site needs to be rezoned in order to bring in a supermarket or other retail business. Sonnenschein is still under contract with the developer, who is seeking other possibilities.

Why is Sonnenschein looking to get out from under The Wine Cellar? “I’m 75, so I’m ready to retire,” Sonnenschein said. “Everyone says please don’t close, but I’m ready.” Still, when asked if The Wine Cellar is closing anytime in the foreseeable future, Sonnenschein replied, “No, no, we are definitely open and aren’t going anywhere.”

Hurricane Sandy caused upward of $60 billion in damage, with over 100 people dead. The storm’s impact on the Northeast was widespread, with power outages, gas shortages, and water-damaged or destroyed homes. For those in the South, hurricane season is something of a routine. But as one New Yorker wrote to Creative Loafing, “Yes, you guys have hurricanes down there in Florida, unfortunately. NYC does not, sadly.”

Still, those in Tampa Bay are doing what they can to help victims of the storm. On Sun., Nov. 4, St. Petersburg’s Ale and the Witch craft beer bar donated 100 percent of its sales to the Red Cross. Over the course of the day, the bar raised $6,228.09, including $870 in checks, $1,025 dropped into donation jars and $4,333.09 in sales overall. All proceeds were donated to the Red Cross Jersey Shore chapter.

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