Is­land Style re-launch­ing to­mor­row Chilean, Ital­ian wines to com­ple­ment Caribbean cui­sine

Stabroek News - - NEWS -

With Guyanese, as much as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity liv­ing and work­ing here, clam­our­ing for more va­ri­ety in the range of en­ter­tain­ment of­fered in Ge­orge­town and its en­vi­rons, what, up un­til today is the Is­land Style Café and Juice Bar will, after a re­brand­ing cer­e­mony to­mor­row, be­come the Is­land Style Café and Wine Bar.

“It re­ally is a ques­tion of step­ping up to meet cus­tomer pref­er­ences,” the fa­cil­ity’s owner, Val­rie Grant told Stabroek Busi­ness. Our cus­tomers have been ask­ing for changes and we are re­spond­ing to those re­quests,” Grant says. `

Launched in Au­gust 2015 at Lot 50 Brick­dam, the Is­land Style Café and Juice Bar has, up un­til now, served as a dis­creet and quiet hang­out for ‘grab­bing a beer” (ei­ther Banks or Red Stripe) and ‘chow­ing down’ on serv­ings of cur­ried goat, jerk pork and peas and rice served up from the kitchen by the Is­land Style’s ami­able Ja­maican Chef, Omar. If you were lucky you might even get to take away a pas­try or bun in a brown pa­per bag.

There were weekend nights when the Is­land Style’s fore­court ac­com­mo­dated small but animated groups of rev­el­ers ‘soaking up’ taste­ful mu­sic of­fered at a deci­bel level that still al­lowed for good con­ver­sa­tion.

What Is­land Style did for its clien­tele was to cre­ate an aware­ness of the op­tions to night time en­ter­tain­ment that of­fered a re­ward­ing alternative to the ‘boom box’ cul­ture that has be­come fash­ion­able.

Taste, how­ever, was evolv­ing and while good beer is un­likely ever to be en­tirely re­placed, rev­el­ers have been grav­i­tat­ing to good wine in con­sid­er­able num­bers; not only that but the cos­mopoli­tan crowds that were be­gin­ning to as­sem­ble in cramped spa­ces were be­gin­ning to want more as were the taste­ful young­sters whose idea of ‘night life’ was en­tirely dif­fer­ent to the ad­her­ents of Dance Hall.

Grant says, too, that the feed­back from cus­tomers sug­gested that the mar­ket was call­ing for “cool spa­ces,” fa­cil­i­ties that al­lowed you to sip a glass of wine or a cup of tea whilst fid­dling with your lap­top, ty­ing up some im­por­tant ar­range­ment or sim­ply ‘shoot­ing breeze’ with a friend in an en­vi­ron­ment where you could hear each other.

So that while the Is­land Style will be hang­ing on to a lot of its old habits like its Caribbean cui­sine and good juices and beer, it will, from to­mor­row, be chang­ing gears, broad­en­ing the base of what it has to of­fer to ac­com­mo­date a wider clien­tele.

For wines, Grant says she is look­ing to Chile and Italy and later on, to Spain. She is hop­ing, as well, to push one of her per­sonal favourites, Cana­dian Ice Wines. Good wines, she says, will be at­tended by a range of fin­ger foods.

Min­is­ter of Busi­ness Do­minic Gaskin who, as it hap­pens, also holds the Tourism port­fo­lio, will be present at the Is­land Style to­mor­row evening for the 18:00 start of the re-brand­ing event. Grant wants Guyanese who may have long been crav­ing for this type of hang­out to look in on the new Wine Bar. She is hop­ing too that she can en­tice the out­go­ing mem­bers of the diplo­matic com­mu­nity in Ge­orge­town to ven­ture in. “Our fo­cus will be on cre­at­ing a con­vivial en­vi­ron­ment.”

The trans­for­ma­tion of the Is­land Style has been some time in the mak­ing and Grant says that she has to thank a lo­cal col­league, Junette Steuart and St. Lu­cian Lyn­dell DanzieBlack, head of the lo­cal train­ing and con­sult­ing com­pany, Cerulean Inc, who among oth­ers pro­vided man­age­ment con­sult­ing, as the im­pe­tus to take the ex­er­cise for­ward. “It’s al­ways a com­fort­ing thing when you are work­ing with ca­pa­ble peo­ple who have your in­ter­est at heart,” Grant says.

Din­ing at the old style Is­land Style Cafe and juice bar

Val­rie Grant

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