As Hampden’s Rotunda was redeveloped, the mixed-use property was bursting with amenities. The only thing missing, some said, was a liquor store.
That changed on Wednesday, when the appropriately named Tiny Wine Shop opened in a standalone kiosk near the Xfinity store at the Rotunda. At 165 square feet, it’s a minuscule operation.
“It’s probably the tiniest wine shop in the world,” co-owner Bill Irvin said with a laugh.
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, Tiny Wine Shop sells a variety of wines ($9-$14 per bottle) imported from Europe, Irvin said, and will add a selection of beer (local producers such as Monument City Brewing Co. and Union Craft Brewing Co., along with Miller Lite) and spirits next week.
The small alcohol shop isn’t the only Rotunda spot from Irvin and his team, which includes staff from another of his ventures, Avenue Kitchen & Bar.
A month ago, they opened Garden Party, a seasonal pop-up shop and bar in the middle of the Rotunda, feet away from Tiny Wine Shop. The kiosk serves salads, hummus, edamame guacamole, charcuterie boards and tiny sandwiches inspired by Spanish montaditos. One made with turkey and capicola is called the Lou Catelli, named after “the neighborhood’s unofficial mayor,” Irvin said.
While Tiny Wine Shop will be open all year, Garden Party is a seasonal operation that opens when the weather permits. (When it’s not raining, Garden Party is open noon to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.) Irvin said he expected it to remain open until November, though an official closing date will be determined later.
On Thursdays-Saturdays at 6:30-9:30 p.m., live jazz music is performed near Garden Party in an area with tables and chairs for patrons to sit and relax. On Friday, local gypsy jazz band Hot Club of Baltimore will perform.
Both businesses reflect Irvin’s penchant for a European way of life, he said. There, he’s experienced tiny street shops where customers can quickly grab a small sandwich and a drink, and enjoy them outside. He’s trying to bring a touch of that sensibility to Baltimore — something he first did with the French bistro-inspired La Folie Steak Frites & Wine Bar, which has since closed in Canton.
“I keep doing this throughout my life. I should probably move there,” he said of Europe with another laugh.