An Update on Nublu & Wine at the Borgata

Sometimes, part twos are better. Think Godfather 2, or The Empire Strikes Back. Friday’s story of the sad demise of Nublu seems to have a happy ending, a joyful part two. Hayne Suthon, the Grande Dame of Lucky Cheng’s, and before that a host of other fabulous places all located at 24 First Avenue, has provided shelter from the storm to the good people over at Nublu. On Friday, I reported liquor license troubles due to the not-so-sudden location of the venue near a church, and the resulting reign of terror from illogical and evil forces in the SLA and Community Board. Well, until things settle, the show will go on. They’re calling it Nublu in Outer Place. Hayne enlightened me.

“Million years no see. Just saw your article about Nublu. I have given them a temporary home in the space under Cheng’s and they are very happy. Great music, great people to work with. I told them to create it as close to Nublu as possible. This way, they can keep it going while they find a new space or get their liquor license They are working with the church to create a scenario that it is not exclusively a house of worship, such as renting, or using some of the offices as rehearsal space. Even the church’s attorney is trying to help them. The owner of Nublu also owns the building so they are really going to try to get their space back. They brought their manager, security, bartenders, sound equipment and it’s going quite well. They started a week ago Wednesday.”

I left in a hurry Friday and filed a short piece apologizing to you, my readers, who deserve in-depth coverage. I was headed to Atlantic City, a place also going through constant change. I was there to catch Russell Brand’s act, which I will write about tomorrow. As I have told you guys before, I only drink two or three times a year, but this weekend I made an exception. I was at the very exceptional Borgata, and was treated to a tour of their new wine shop, called Vintage. My new favorite person in the world, Anjoleena Griffin-Holst, is the first woman since my second wife to try and get me drunk.

She succeeded, and my Hangover Part 3 will delay me from telling you about my Atlantic City excursion until tomorrow. Anjoleena and I discussed the need for a wine program in AC. The Borgata has raised the bar in this ancient resort town. The crowd coming now to the Casino/Hotel/Spa complex is a far cry better than even three years ago. They expect the best, and a solid wine program is needed. I asked Anjoleena, who’s name is driving my spell check to drink, about what she’s up to:

So, what are you up to? At Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa we promote an upscale, not uptight food and beverage program. With over 40,000 bottles on property at any given time, we offer a dynamic wine program that permeates through 6 fine-dining restaurants, 7 casual-dining restaurants, 4 bars, 2 nightclubs and 2 hotel towers. Our fine-dining restaurants have garnered Wine Spectator Awards and continue to elevate the customer’s dining experience with a diverse selection that covers most of the world’s wine growing regions.

What’s unique about Vintage? Knowing that wine consumption continues to grow across the United States, Borgata has recently added Vintage, a wine boutique, to our line up. At Vintage, we encourage our customers to sip before they shop, using the Enomatic machine. We offer 32 wines that can be enjoyed in 1, 3 and 5 ounce portions that will help the customer determine their preferences. We offer just over 200 labels and our associates guide each customer on a personal tour of the store. In the event that a customer wants to explore the store on their own we offer a custom wine kiosk that allows the user to narrow the scope of their search to find the desired wine that we have in stock at Vintage.

I have been coming to AC since Bally’s opened, and celebrated the opening of Borgata like 8 years ago. Even in the last few years, the crowd has become far more upscale, creating the need for a fine wine program. People thirst for knowledge about wine, and with web access and social media, they come to the table better informed. I think it’s great that people come in knowing what they like and are able to communicate their preference to our wine team. I groom our team to be easy to talk to, yet skilled enough to geek out with the people who want to get specific about producers, vineyards and vintages. There’s nothing better than having a customer stop me to tell me what an amazing experience they’ve had with us at Borgata.

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