Bin 152: French Indulgence

French Indulgence

Sick of standing at overcrowded and impersonal wine bars waiting to be served an overpriced glass of the same old wine? When the weariness descends, Bin 152 wine bar on King Street in Charleston’s French Quarter will sit you down with a carefully chosen glass and relieve you of your wine bar worries. Bin 152, which opened in 2009 to much praise, is changing the tables (literally) on the city’s drink scene, shifting the focus to quality in a quaint European setting with a local vibe.

Bin 152 is run by a husband-and-wife team: Patrick and Fanny Panella. He’s American, she’s French, and together they curate a menu based upon their personal preferences in wine and food. This leads to him choosing sometimes obscure wines — there are 130, to be precise — and her choosing often esoteric cheeses and cured meats. Don’t worry if you can’t understand, or pronounce, half of the menu; the waiters will guide you through the less-is-more options, minus the attitude. If you ask, they’ll even serve you a half glass, letting you work your way through their entire menu in half the time.

It’s a good thing then, that the food and drink prices aren’t steep. With wines starting at $7 a glass, and cheese and meat boards also starting at $7, you can save the money you would spend sipping on a glass of overpriced wine elsewhere to buy the antique sign of your French country-style dreams (because that too is for sale).

The menu doesn’t stop when the wine list finishes. Bin 152 is also a gallery and antique market, with prices listed on the back of the menu to facilitate gawking. If you’ve truly fallen in love with your antique wooden table, you can buy it — though it might set you back $13,000. The set up of three school chairs from 1910 will set you back $640. This is all part of their goal to create a wine bar that is inviting and feels like, "our house, our living room… Everything about this business is a reflection of who we are," said Fanny Panella in an interview with Charleston’s The Post and Courier. So sit down, take a load off, and enjoy the atmosphere.

And if you need a little comic relief, that'll be provided by the owner's dog, "The Boss", Armado.  A neighborhood wine bar, indeed.