|Plum Court Wine Room owners, Tom and Dollie Moore|
The Plum Court Wine Room located, not surprisingly, at the corner of Plum and Court Streets downtown, is just such a place. In its latest incarnation, the former Pipeline bar, which was the former 241 bar, is now a hip new venue for wine tasting and friend making. Owners Tom and Dollie Moore open their doors every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. to welcome customers as diverse in ages and backgrounds as they wines they serve. “We have a very eclectic group in here every week,” says Dollie with a smile. “Guests range from the minister of the historic Pilgrim Chapel in Mt. Adams to the former owner of the 241 bar.”
Each week the Plum Court Wine Room offers four to five tastings, including a selection of whites, reds, varietals and occasional dessert wines, for prices ranging from $7 to $9 per person. As a bonus, Tom prepares a buffet of his made-from-scratch hors d’ oeuvres to accompany the tasting. In fact, they’ve become such a hit he’s writing a cookbook.
Though highly seasoned business professionals, Dollie admits she and Tom are accidental bar owners. “We kind of backed into the business of wine tasting,” she says. They ‘temporarily’ moved to Cincinnati in 1998 when Tom, a corporate consultant, accepted a local position. But it wasn’t long before the couple fell in love with the city’s character and historic architecture. They bought a home next to the Pipeline bar and began restoration. In 2005, the Pipeline closed and while neighbors discussed forming a cooperative to buy the building, it remained empty. One day, when Dollie was replacing mortar outside their home, she started to patch the crumbling mortar on the old Pipeline. “If I care enough to patch the mortar,” she thought to herself, ”I care enough to own it.”
They bought the building, service bar and liquor license intact. After giving the interior a face lift, they began contacting wine distributors. “I taste 98% of everything we sell,” says Dollie. (Occasionally a bottle is unavailable to sample.) ”Tom and I have to agree on the selections and since our tastes are different, it’s a good blend." Dollie notes they only buy wines with a good history; vintners with a reputation for quality and consistency. They also zero in on the distributors’ specials, passing the savings along to their customers.
They’ve been building business the old fashion way, inviting friends to bring friends, and it works. Growing in popularity, Tom and Dollie recently extended their services to include private parties and special events. And why not? The atmosphere is warm, the couches comfortable and the company lively. Very much like attending a neighborhood gathering. No, exactly like attending a neighborhood gathering.
The Plum Court Wine room is located at 241 W. Court St. Hours are 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., every Thursday. For more information, contact Dollie Moore at email@example.com.