Small bites: The business formerly known as District Wine Bar

NAMELESS BAR: Following a trademark dispute, Barrett and Lauri Nichols are required to change the name of their business, District Wine Bar, by March 1, 2020. Photo by Thomas Calder

“It’s a classic case of trademark bullying,” says Lauri Nichols, co-owner of the District Wine Bar — or rather, the business formerly known as District Wine Bar. Recently, the word “District” has been noticeably absent from the company logo on the venue’s website and social media accounts following a trademark dispute brought by Peter and Martha Pollay of Mandara Hospitality Group and owners of the new District 42 inside the Arras Hotel.

When Xpress reached out to Peter Pollay for comment, he directed the paper to his official statement (available at, which explains that the concept for District 42 was established in 2016, two years before District Wine Bar opened. “This is an unfortunate and challenging situation for all parties, and we want everyone to thrive,” the statement reads. “Small business is the backbone of this community.”

Barrett Nichols, fellow owner of the venue formerly known as District Wine Bar, doesn’t see why the two names couldn’t co-exist. “It’s like Red Lobster suing The Lobster Trap for having ‘lobster’ in their name,” he says.

“As small business owners, all of our money is in that business,” adds Lauri Nichols. “For someone to claim the word ‘district’ and then take us on as a legal battle — there is only so much we can do.”

Rather than pour money into attorney fees, the couple has opted to change the wine bar’s name — a process they are currently working on.  According to the Nicholses, they have until March 1, 2019, to remove the word “District” from all remaining signage and promotional materials.

“A name is just a necessity to have a business,” says Barrett Nichols. “It’s not what it is. Our business is what happens inside the walls, not what’s posted on the front.”

“But it still makes me sad,” Lauri Nichols adds. “There is blood, sweat and tears in that space.” The recent experience, she continues, has been draining. “If we had more money, maybe things would be different. But we’re a mom and pop shop.”

The business formerly known as District Wine Bar is at 37 Paynes Way. To learn more, visit

Dim sum pop-up

Cúrate executive sous chef J. Chong and local pastry chef Beth Kellerhals will join Bun Intended food truck’s second Guest List Pop-up at The Scarlet Bee on Sunday, Dec. 29. The event will feature dim sum with an a la carte menu including shrimp siu mai, scallion pancakes, steamed buns, garlic gai lan and much more. Prices range from $6-$9.

The event runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29, at The Scarlet Bee, 853 Merrimon Ave. For details and to make reservations, visit

Feasting for the new year

Below are a handful of the many venues in Western North Carolina that will host events on Tuesday, Dec. 31, to welcome 2020 with food, drinks and fun.

Capella on Cloud 9

To celebrate the New Year, Capella on Cloud 9 rooftop bar will offer guests a welcome cocktail, hors d’oeuvres (with vegan and vegetarian options), live music and a Champagne toast. Tickets are $75 per person.

The celebration runs 8 p.m.-1 a.m. at Capella on 9 at the AC Hotel, 10 Broadway. To purchase tickets, visit

Daphne at Twisted Laurel

Daphne at Twisted Laurel will ring in the new year with a dinner celebration featuring ribeye, seared jumbo scallops and porter Carolina bison short ribs along with a dessert buffet. Local craft beer or a glass of wine comes with the meal. The Free Flow Band begins at 9 p.m. A midnight toast will be followed by a breakfast bar. Tickets are $119 per person.

The celebration runs 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m. at Daphne at Twisted Laurel, 130 College St. For tickets, email or call 828-515-4151. To learn more, visit

Isa’s French Bistro

Isa’s French Bistro will welcome 2020 with a four-course prix fixe menu in its recently renovated Cellar. The evening will also feature music, dancing and a midnight Champagne toast. Reservations are required. Tickets are $105 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

The dinner runs 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Cellar at Isa’s French Bistro, 1 Battery Park Ave. For reservations, call 828-575-9636 or visit

Point Lookout Vineyards

Point Lookout Vineyards in Hendersonville will host a New Year’s Eve dinner, dance and Champagne toast. Menu highlights include stuffed chicken breast with garlic, filet mignon with bearnaise sauce and chocolate fudge lava cake with fresh raspberries. Vegetarian options are also available. Tickets are $90 per person or $170 per couple.

The revelry begins at 6:30 p.m. at Point Lookout Vineyards, 408 Appleola Road, Hendersonville. For tickets, visit

Rustic Grape Wine Bar

Rustic Grape Wine Bar will toast the new year with live music, sweets and drinks. The $50 ticket includes an artisan dessert board for two featuring chocolate truffles, house-made sweet bites and local gourmet cheeses, plus a complimentary midnight toast. Musician Lindsey Meyers will perform. Additional wines, Champagnes and mocktails will be available for purchase.

The celebration runs 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at Rustic Grape Wine Bar, 14 Aston St. For tickets, visit


Sawhorse will launch the Beaver Club event series with a New Year’s Eve celebration. According to the restaurant’s website, the club is inspired by 18th-century fur-trapping barons and the dining society they formed to celebrate their survival of the harsh winters of eastern Canada. The family-style New Year’s Eve dinner includes game meats, sausages, meat pies, root vegetables, homemade bread, sides and maple-drenched desserts. Tickets are $50 and include a cocktail and a surprise.

The Beaver Club feast starts at 7 p.m. at Sawhorse, 101 New Leicester Highway. For tickets, visit

Storm Rhum Bar

Storm Rhum Bar will offer three seatings for its New Year’s Eve dinner. The menu was not available at press time. Tickets range from $75 to $175 per person. Classic Prohibition-era cocktails will be served at the 8 p.m. seating. DJ Molly Kummerle will provide music starting at 10 p.m.

Dinner service is at 5 and 8 p.m, with bar seating and small plates available at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31. For details and tickets, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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