Grapeables Wine Bar: Wine drinking with a view

When you’ve finished your leisurely stroll around Fountain Park, stop for some liquid refreshment at Grapeables Wine Bar, owned by Jo and Bill McKellips and their son, Sam.

In addition to stunning patio views of the World-Famous Fountain, you’ll find more than 150 different bottles of wine from all over the world from small production wineries, often family owned. If you’re hungry, nosh on charcuterie boards designed to pair with reds or whites, or order a full meal delivery from Arrivederci, an authentic Italian restaurant conveniently located four doors down.

Wine reps help the McKellips choose which varietals to carry, which Jo says often comes down to what they think the regulars will enjoy. “We know our customers, so we try to cover the gamut,” Jo said.

As a result, their selection offers choices for every palate and pocketbook. If you’re feeling extravagant, order the Tuscan Bolgheri Sassicaia from Tenuta San Gido in Italy ($250 a bottle). If not, order a glass of your favorite varietal from the menu. And if you don’t know what you’re thirsty for, ask Jo for a recommendation. She’ll likely introduce you to something you didn't even know you wanted.

“When people walk into my bar and say, ‘I don’t recognize any of these wines,’ I say ‘thank you’! she said. “We are a small, family-owned establishment and we try to find small, family-owned wines that you won’t find anywhere else.”

That might explain her affection for the wineries the family has visited in Willamette Valley in Oregon. There, the winemakers work in community without competition, producing organic wines in a sustainable manner. “It reminds me a lot of our wine bar,” she said.

The McKellips, who are the third owners of Grapeables, purchased the wine bar in 2014. The original owners opened the space as a retail wine and cheese shop — he was a cheese monger and she was a sommelier. The next set of owners, Dave and Diane, introduced the bar aspect and started a wine club, which is still incredibly popular with the locals. Jo and Bill, along with son Sam, embraced the wine bar atmosphere and will celebrate their tenth year in business in 2024.

Locals enjoy a monthly wine club, where sommeliers introduce wines from small production wineries. In addition to the wide variety of wines available, visitors will appreciate live music on Friday and Saturday nights and every fourth Wednesday (on the patio, weather permitting), as well as amazing views of the World-Famous Fountain. Grapeables also offers a small selection of popular beers, some of them locally produced, for those who prefer drinking a cold brew.

“Our tap handle beers always feature Arizona produced beers, but we also have German- and American-style beers in cans and bottles, too,” Sam said.

Open Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Monday), Grapeables has hosted numerous community events, from bridal showers and anniversaries to end-of-life celebrations. At least one couple met at Grapeables, married, and now brings their “bar baby” in for regular visits with the wine family who introduced them.

But visitors will feel like part of the family, too, because the McKellips create an environment where all are welcome.

“We have hard-to-find wines at really good price points, so stop by for a visit when you’re in town” Jo said. “Wine, food, and community. It’s all meant to go together.”

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