David Baker Architects imbues a natural wine bar in Alabama with warmth and restraint

In Vino Veritas

To celebrate the emerging natural wine movement in the Deep South, entrepreneurs Brandon Loper and Trent Stewart established the Golden Age Wine bar and shop in Mountain Brook Village, a trendy suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. The duo tapped Loper’s wife, Amanda Loper, principal at David Baker Architects, to transform a 2,000-square-foot storefront space into an elevated yet unpretentious haunt.

The bar features brick tiles made of local red clay. (Rob Culpepper)

The uncluttered design makes the bar’s selection of over 800 wines the star of the show. Loper and her team removed drywall to uncover the 1962 building’s original structure. Opening up the double-height space, the architect was able to salvage a warm gray concrete floor. Long walls incorporate 1,600 linear feet of shelving that run from a front tasting room to a more intimate back dining room. Graphic archways create a soft transition between the spaces.

(Rob Culpepper)

“The materiality of the space is reflective of the terroir of Alabama,” Loper said. “The brick tiles on the front bar were handmade using local red clay.… Tabletops were created using remnants from a nearby stone yard.”  

Header image: A long wall with shelving connects the front and back spaces in the wine bar. (Rob Culpepper)