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Checkered Past Winery
The term wine bar conjures images of an elegant space complete with glimmering chandeliers and spacious wine cellars. But that's hardly the case at Checkered Past Winery. Instead, the South Side spot's interior and soundtrack draw on the owners' love of ska music. Meanwhile, the wine list features red, white, and sparkling wines from local and foreign wineries, which are complemented by a selection of small plates. Together, these elements form a unique urban wine bar that's earned praise from a host of media outlets.
"Co-founder and owner Sandro DiSanto is a first-generation American and 100-percent Sicilian. That is not a claim you see too often," CultureMap Dallas writes. "But before you dare to contest it, know that both of his grandfathers made wine in Sicily, and it was from them that DiSanto inherited his love for the craft of winemaking."
"The interior is brick, wood, and cement, with tables, a few couches, and wine barrels scattered around the surprisingly expansive space," writes D Magazine of the 2,500-square-foot ska-inspired space. "The walls are replete with Vespa-inspired art: paintings, posters, and even assorted parts of scooters. The far back wall lists seven house rules in bold, stenciled letters (note No. 3, swirling is allowed, and No. 4, spitting is not)."
As the Dallas Observer puts it, "Checkered Past Winery isn’t for fancy wine snobs. And it doesn’t want to be." The owners most important rule is for visitors to drink what they like. "It isn’t about the labels to them; it’s about the experience and enjoying wine for what it is. If you don’t know what to order, the staff is more than willing to lend a hand.