The old saying “two’s company, three’s a crowd” doesn’t apply to the Outer Banks’ newest establishment. On Aug. 4, “Trio” held a soft opening at its new location in Kitty Hawk in the same strip center as Diamonds and Dunes on the U.S. 158 bypass. Trio is an extension of the Native Vine/Big City Wine Cellar in Point Harbor. With some new investors, Trio moved into the space formerly occupied by OBX Bank. The name refers to the marriage of wine, beer and cheese under one roof. While wine lovers should be thrilled there are now three wine stores on the northern beach within a 1.5 mile stretch (Chip’s, Wine Specialist and Trio), Trio has expanded the concept. First, there is the same excellent selection of wines and microbrews one finds at Native Vine across the bridge. And for true wine and beer lovers, having three shops in close proximity, each with a different emphasis on varietals and labels is unheard of in such a small town. From my vantage point, having three wine stores in one small area is about as cool as the Outer Banks sporting two public radio stations.
Trio also features a wine and beer tasting bar. It isn’t just wine tasting bar. It is aimed at becoming a night-time destination, where adults can gather to enjoy fine wine or draft microbrews in a quiet, refined atmosphere. Trio is the kind of place this area needed. We have other “adult” bars in the area, but most of them are attached to full-service restaurants where the staff begins to usher the bar patrons out the door at 10 p.m. as dinner service winds down. By my count, there were at least 20 draft beers, many of them microbrews at the beertasting bar. Besides bar seating, there are tables, and upstairs, more tables, loungetype seating and a billiards table (with what looks to be another serving bar, perhaps for parties or tasting events).
Adjacent to the bar are six wine stations, each sporting four bottles of wine, for a total of 24 wines. You can purchase a debit-type card, preloaded with a set dollar amount, and serve yourself. Each bottle has three choices; a oneounce tasting, and half and full glasses. The selections span the wine globe and pricing categories. For example, you can taste a one-ounce sample of a $100 wine for $3, a half-glass for $7, or a full glass for $12.
For less than the price of a margarita, you could enjoy half a glass of wine from a bottle you might never be able to afford. There are plenty of value wines, including North Carolina wines, to sample, where a full glass might run as little as $6. While some restaurants might have a larger by-the-glass selection, no bar offers this much variety and no establishment allows you to choose between three tasting sizes for each brand.
There is also an accessory store. Beer is stacked on shelves and in coolers. The cheese selection is excellent and more choices are on the way. For now, Trio is open from 10 a.m. until? While the owner’s say they don’t plan to stay open until 2 a.m. on any night, midnight is not out of the question if the crowd is sufficient. If you’ve been looking for a class act to top off an evening for a nightcap with your significant other or a small group of friends in an atmosphere lacking loud music — a place where you can relax, sip your drink and actually converse without having to scream over the din, Trio might be the destination you’ve been waiting for.
Article by RUSS LAY