Juniper. Five years ago, that was what I would have called the wine bar / restaurant I believed I would have opened by now. Unfortunately the name is now taken by another establishment, but the idea is still with me. My pipe-dream, maybe. Where does that phrase come from?
I wanted to serve small plates of food accompanied by, if desired, really great wines - sourced from small collectives, unusual grapes, organic if possible, affordable always. I had the idea before I read your idea of the Tomato Bar, April! :-)
I also wanted to combine it with the idea of a wine library, during daytime... or early evening. There would be racks of books, some new for purchasing, some secondhand just for browsing. Sofas and comfortable armchairs in discreet nooks and crannies for those single diners. Stripped pine tables for large groups. Mis-matched chairs. Flagstone / wooden flooring. (I was designing a gastropub before they happened). Depending on how many rooms I had, the walls would be stripped back to the brick and lathe (obviously I am doing this in a C17 building with no planning restrictions or preservation orders!), or white-washed, or painted with silver and gilt. Works by local artists and photographers, for sale. Pottery and sculpture in nooks and crannies. An open fire. Candle-light or strategic spots. A courtyard garden for summer, with wisteria flooding down from the walls; lavender and rosemary in pots; herbs for picking at.
The drinks list would have recommended reading beside some of the entries - tongue in cheek, mostly. "The Great Gatsby" - champagne, of course. And possibly a mint julep. Anything by Jane Austen - a dry sherry with a frivolous kick, with an optional swift knock on the head afterwards, because it would be less painful than reading "Persuasion". Iain Banks - an Islay malt; possibly Caol Isla (are you au fait with Caol Isla, Miss M?). Dickens - a vintage port, or an elderly claret. Chick-Lit - a chilled Viognier, or Riesling, so much classier than Bridget Jones's Chardonnay. And so on.
Food. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts - toasted, in bowls, with salt for adding if required. Hard-boiled quails eggs and fresh radishes, again with salt and herbs for dipping. Massive rocket (arugala) salads with aged balsamic and shaved pecorino on the side. Bowls of wild mushrooms cooked in white wine with herbs. Baked butternut squash (champagne risotto optional, and on the side). Huge platters of simply grilled courgettes (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), peppers, radicchio, sweet onions, garlic (parma ham, bresaeola, salami on the side). Fish simply grilled over sliced potatoes and drizzled with olive oil. Freshly steamed broccoli and french beans (almonds on the side) with lemon and olive oil to drizzle at the table, and sea salt and fresh ground pepper to scatter over. Purple sprouting broccoli - nude! Grilled asparagus with fresh black figs, black grapes and goat's cheese. Rye bread bruschetta. Tomatoes roasted with basil and garlic for hours and hours and served with black olives and hummus. New potatoes baked in the oven with a tiny bit of olive oil and rosemary. Well sourced and simply cooked meat. Fair trade coffee, with dark, dark chocolates on the side. Everything traceable to source.
Add your favourite dish and it will be there! Dishes would come in "nibbling", "grazing", "feasting" portions. Carbs of choice - good bread, good pasta with EVOO, rice - would come separately. Bowls of organic mixed leaves as standard with balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice, for dressing. I guess I'd offer flax and EVOO too. :-)
I could so do this if I had any kind of financial backing at all. But I don't. I've researched loans and I'd need to put in at least 50% of my own money to get anywhere starting, and I have no money at all. I am also mired in ennui.
Still, it's still a dream even if I don't achieve it by my 35th, which is what I said I would do.
And doesn't it sound damn fine?