The Wine Room tasting place is coming to downtown Delray Beach


A popular wine bar and retail shop from Winter Park is coming to Delray Beach, adding another attraction to the city’s lively downtown scene.

The Wine Room will be taking over the Caffe Martier restaurant space at 411 E. Atlantic Ave. starting April 2, according to Bruce Simberg, The Wine Room managing owner.

The Wine Room will complement the activities already along the avenue, said Simberg, a Boca Raton resident and managing partner of the Simberg Conroy law firm based in Hollywood.

Simberg said he decided to make Delray Beach the second location of The Wine Room due to the activity taking place in the city.

New condominiums and apartments are planned or under construction downtown. Meanwhile, the luxury iPic Theater is under construction a block south of the avenue. When completed, it will feature eight screens and 528 seats.

Simberg said Atlantic Avenue is a walking street, very similar to Winter Park, where he has had The Wine Room on Park Avenue for 12 years. Sampling wine before or after a movie is something he expects Delray Beach patrons will enjoy, just as they do in Winter Park.

“People, including young people, are very interested in learning about wines,” Simberg said. “Our concept is a little bit of teaching as well as just fun.”

Simberg said Wine Room patrons can sample one of 204 wines at varying sample sizes, such as an ounce, 2.5 ounces or 5 ounces.

“They can drink eight different cabs or French wines or eight different wines from Italy,” Simberg said. “There are all kinds of ways you can try wines and learn about them.” Well-educated staff will be available to answer any questions, Simberg said.

The wines are kept in machines that force nitrogen in and keep oxygen out, ensuring the wines stay fresh for more than 30 days, Simberg said. If customers like a particular wine and want to drink a bottle on-site, they can do that too, he said.

The Wine Room also will feature a full kitchen serving meals, starting with brunch at 11 a.m. daily. Regular wine tastings will take place, including tastings as part of dinners.

Plans are to start a $2 million renovation in April with completion expected in about four months. An August or September opening is expected.

Another feature planned for The Wine Room: A rare-wine room featuring about 2,000 wines. Some of the wines are from Simberg’s collection and others will be from other sources, including other collectors.

There also will be a retail component where customers can purchase artisanal cheese, meats and, of course, wine. Some 600 t0 700 bottles will be available for sale, Simberg said.

And for those who love fromage, the cheese will be selected by one of Simberg’s partners, Max McCalman, author of numerous books on cheese, including the definitive publication, “The Cheese Plate.”

Simberg said he plans to copy Winter Park’s programming by closing the place periodically on a Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 pm. to do a Champagne tasting. “We’ll have 40 or 50 different kinds, from lower-priced all the way to Cristal. Nobody does that kind of thing,” he said.

And what of the space’s famous Prohibition speakeasy, The Arcade Room? Simberg said the bar, accessible only by walking through the historic space, will remain and turned into a full bar serving a full range of liquor, including high-end scotch and vodka.

The deal was brokered by Tom Prakas, of Prakas & Co., in Boca Raton.

A longtime broker for deals on Atlantic Avenue, Prakas said downtown Delray Beach is attracting new and interesting concepts. Prakas also brokered the deal that recently brought the Sicilian-influenced Osteria Salina from The Hamptons to 9 S.E. Seventh Ave.

And he did the deal that’s bringing live music venue Tin Roof to 8 E. Atlantic Ave., formerly occupied by Smoke BBQ restaurant.

Prakas said The Wine Room fills diners’ interest in being entertained when they go out. “I call it eatertainment,” Prakas said.

Wine tastings now are the hottest trend, the way craft breweries were a couple of years ago, Prakas said.

As for Simberg, he’s looking forward to hanging around The Wine Room in Delray Beach and visiting with friends and clients.

Simberg said he’ll continue to work 40 hours a week as managing partner of the Conroy Simberg insurance defense firm, which has 10 offices in Florida and one in Georgia.

Then Simberg said he’ll spend his “time off” working another 20 hours a week at The Wine Room. “I’m not big at staying at home,” he said.

We’re still here!

The former Crystal Tree Plaza in North Palm Beach, now called Crystal Cove Commons, is undergoing a major renovation by its new owner. Some tenants have left or plan to leave the retail and office center, at 1201 U.S.1.

But other longtimers are staying, including Crystal Tree Carpet & Flooring. “We just signed a five-year lease. We’re still here,” said co-owner Jodi Kahn.

Kahn said some customers thought Crystal Tree Carpet might be leaving, too, due to the departure of the Patio Shoppe to Palm Beach Gardens, and the pending move of True Treasures, a Consigned Furniture & Home Decor Shop, to a center down the street at 1111 U.S 1.

But Kahn said Crystal Tree Carpet, with 4,500 square feet, has been at the plaza for 25 years and plans on sticking around. Also staying are Cod and Capers, HoneyBaked Ham, Tervis and CTC Ice Cream, the property’s owner said.

Crystal Tree Carpet & Tile is a designer showroom open to the public, serving “generations” of customers, Kahn said. The family-owned business was started by her parents, Arnold and Barbara Kahn.

They’ve remained in business through thick and thin, or, in the case of this Palm Beach County business, “through hurricanes, market crashes, Bernie Madoff, years of the worst economy in the history of the Palm Beaches, plus more competition than ever in the immediate area,” Kahn said.

Now things are looking up, and the area is seeing an influx of new residents, including from the Water Club condominiums nearby.

Crystal Commons’ new owner, Black Lion, of California, expects to complete the center’s renovation in two to three months. A couple of new tenants already have joined the plaza, including Cucina Cabana restaurant and BioMetrix health, wellness and fitness center. More new tenants are expected, said Black Lion’s Robert Rivani.

Alexandra Clough writes about real estate, law and the economy.



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