tampabay.com

West Palm Wines will add a bar

By MEAGHAN FORBES and AMY SCHERZER
Published June 9, 2006


Opening a wine bar at West Palm Wines will put four businesses under one roof, a 10,000-square-foot former Ybor City cigar factory.

Owner Jim Sirna expects to be pouring wines by the glass and by the flight (wines from the same region) at 2009 N 22nd St. by August or September, depending on how kitchen construction goes.

Sirna, who spent 25 years in the restaurant business in New York, plans to serve an array of charcuterie - cold meats, saucissons, cheeses, caviar, olives and foie gras.

Sirna hopes guests enjoy the facility so much they'll want to rent it for private parties.

"Your caterer or mine," he said, delighted to coordinate a menu and wine for up to 100.

Since 2000, West Palm Wines' retail operation has offered about 1,000 labels starting at $5 a bottle for a French cabernet ($4 by the case) to a recent high of $5,500 for 1947 Petrus ($45,000 for the case.)

"Old and rare, that's our speciality,'' Sirna adds.

Storage is another draw. Customers store 7,000 cases at 50 degrees, all insured by Lloyd's of London.

"Only one like it on the East Coast," he said.

Don't know the difference between a nose and a bouquet? A Merlot and a Madeira? Sirna's Tampa Wine Institute classes cost $30 and are limited to 20 people.

"Usually eight wines in eight different glasses," he quickly adds, "not one glass like the chain stores."

As a young waiter at Windows on the World in New York City, Sirna volunteered to pour at tastings in order to learn more about wine.

He eventually made it onto the payroll and now makes his own classes "fun and amusing but also seriously educational."

West Palm Wines is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Visit www.westpalmwines.com or call (813) 241-8587.

Shopping for Smarty Pants: A family-run business is finding its niche in South Tampa selling high-end clothing for infants and toddlers to girls size 16 and boys size 14.

The brainchild of Ann McGill and her two daughters, Annette Alexander and Janine Sullivan, Smarty Pants Kids' Boutique also features toys, jewelry, artwork and home accessories for kids' rooms.

"I always wanted to go into business with my mother and wasn't able to do that,'' McGill said.

"When the opportunity came up with my daughters, we thought it would be a lot of fun.''

McGill describes the boutique as a one-stop shop of sorts, with free gift wrapping and shipping available for a fee.

Featured clothing lines include the Italian Catimini for infants and toddlers, French Petit Bateau, Charlie Sheen-owned Sheen Kids and Madonna's English Roses for the label Lipstick.

Smarty Pants opened in March at 1548 S Dale Mabry Highway, between Neptune and Estrella streets in the Carriage Trade Plaza.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and by appointment.

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Send a sweet message with a custom-printed candy bar wrapper. Happy birthday, congratulations, it's a boy - anything you like can be printed in English or Spanish in two days for $2.25 or $2.50 each. Candy bar included, of course. Choose from a dozen designs. No minimum order from Party Designers, 3403 S MacDill Ave. Call 839-7041.

- AMY SCHERZER