Blink, and you’ll miss Happy Wine while driving on Southwest 8th Street (Calle Ocho). The cozy wine shop/wine bar on 57th Avenue sits inside an unassuming building, and it’s easy to pass by if you’re not looking closely. Those who do spot Happy Wine will be rewarded with over 1,000 wine selections, tasty food and amazing hospitality.
The Mom and Pop shop has two locations: this one and another one in Coconut Grove. Both offer distinct wine selections and food, with the larger Grove location serving up an expanded menu due to a full kitchen. Regardless of which outpost you visit, you’re in for a good time. At the Calle Ocho location — the only one we’ve been to (yet) — you can expect a range of delectable tapas, paninis and other small bites to go with your adult beverage.
On the Wednesday night we stopped in, it was quite the party. Live music had guests dancing, and there was a traditional paella being cooked in the back for all to enjoy. If you can’t drop by on Wednesdays, don’t worry. Performers appear regularly, and there’s a wealth of other weekly events to fill up your schedule. Some of these events include free wine tastings and “Champagne By the Glass Afternoons,” where you can enjoy bubbly around the clock at discounted prices.
What really makes the Happy Wine experience, though, are JC and Joanna Restrepo. The Happy Wine owners go above and beyond in service, making sure all guests are taken care of. Once we sat down, there wasn’t an instance where our glasses or plates were empty. Their magnetic personalities will turn you into regulars if the awesome food and wine hasn’t already.
Having driven by Happy Wine countless times, we’re ashamed that we didn’t stop in sooner. We left Happy Wine happy, and so will you. It’s impossible not to when you’re surrounded by good wine, good food and good people.