Example of weekly wine tasting - a few of the finest wines in the Pacific North West.
Cellar Cat co-owner Jim with Bonnie-dog (Bohemian Shepherd/Malinois mix - street rescue from Juarez Mexico.)
Cellar Cat: the name
In the beginning there were rats. That was the idea, anyway.
In wineries, the people up before dawn, dragging hoses, pumping over tanks, getting stung by hornets - i.e.: the folks actually making the wine - call themselves Cellar Rats. Lifelong pals, Cellar Cat co-owners, Holly, Jim and Greg, preparing to open a wine-centric restaurant in Sonoma County, wanted their restaurant name to pay homage to these hard working friends of theirs.
Something about rats and restaurants don't pair well.
Every winery worth its French oak barrels has at least one, if not four or five, cellar cats, theoretically in charge of keeping the rodent population at bay, but in reality just lounging around, gifting occasional mice to visiting wine tasters, shedding on the t-shirts. Chilled out, as an art form. Cellar Cats. Cellar Cat. The name fit.
Cellar Cat Timeline
2001 - 2004
In 2001 Cellar Cat "Cafe" opened- in the tiny wine town of Glen Ellen in Sonoma Valley, California, the idea to help other real people buy real wine from real cork dorks. Turn on the jazz, the art, the good times, side it with fabulous fresh food TO TAKE HOME.
It was a hit.
But whoops. Cellar Cat, with its artful warm and cozy, Sonoma creek-side casual, its rotating fine artists, its zero-big-box wines, its beckoning welcome, BECAME home away from home. No guest wanted to leave. So take out got tossed out and replaced with linen table cloths, candle-lit jazz, and a top-drawer chef.
Be Here Meow was born.
2015 - 2018
In 2015 Holly, Jim and Greg left California and signed a lease in historic downtown Albany, Oregon in a beautiful 1890's brick river-front building. Three years later, Cellar Cat moved two miles north to the wide open and ever-green Spring Hill Golf Club. Here, "The Cat," enjoyed a spacious outside patio, cozy inside fireplace dining room and kudos from far and near, not only for the incredible wine list but for its welcoming and attentive hospitality and live, professional concert-style jazz.
Holly, Jim and Greg, after investing a full year location-scouting all around the Puget Sound, found their paradise in fun, funky and fabulous Kingston, home of Westside Pizza's straight-up jazz Saturday nights featuring saxophonist Mark Lewis. Although the east side - the Seattle side - of the Sound is home to many marvelous jazz venues, the west side - from the partner's new home town of Gig Harbor, to Holly's birth town of Bremerton, all the way up to Port Angelus - have few regular live jazz venues, and even fewer stand-alone, privately owned wine shops that hand-select their wines and refuse to sell big box wines.
In February of 2023 the Kingston lease was signed, and in early May, with jazz musicians booked through year's end, all permits in place, couches fluffed up, tables set, wine at the ready, Cellar Cat almost, almost opened its doors only to have Kitsap County put on the brakes four days before the grand opening. The problem? The 69 year old two story building, (now freshly painted, overhauled, saged, and ready to go), had only seen ONE business/use permit in its long life.
Here, now, for the moment, Cellar Cat is a "mercantile" with rapidly changing unusual (many one-of-a-kind) gift items, small production wines for sale and for tasting (the selection rotating weekly).
Come hither. Join us. Catch up on the news, get updates on our upcoming transformation to a wine and jazz bar. Start your holiday shopping, pet a dog or three, say Hi. We can't wait to meet you.
Holly, Jim and Greg