Have a hoot at the Owl’s Head

September 23, 2013 Denise Romano
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The Owl’s Head is most likely known as Bay Ridge’s first wine bar without all the fuss, tucked quietly off of Fifth Avenue on 74th Street.

Run by Gravesend-native-turned-Ridgeite John Avelluto, the Owl’s Head offers hand-selected wine, craft beers, and delicious cheeses and charcuterie.

“I’m from the neighborhood. There weren’t a good amount of places like this and it eases my commute,” Avelluto jested. “We were tired of traveling to north Brooklyn – going on the R is not fun at 2 a.m. We figured we would keep things closer to home.”

Avelluto, who is also a resident member of the Fifth Avenue BID, said that he focuses on a hand-selected wine list that changes frequently, plus an “esoteric” list of beers.

“We’re affordable and approachable; unique, well-sourced and local,” he said. “We try to step it up in terms of unique wines.”

The Owls’ Head is also a friend to the arts.

Avelluto’s partner at the wine bar is Steven Weintraub, who is also founder of Arts in Bushwick and is director at the Matthew Marks Gallery. Avelluto also co-founded Fifth Avenue’s Storefront Art Walk with fellow merchant Heather Hamilton of Long’s Wine and Liquors. The Owl’s Head also hosts poetry open mic nights on the last Sunday of each month. There’s also talk of expanding the Storefront Art Walk at the end of the year.

“We are trying to make this about being a place. We have some good things going on,” Avelluto said.

One of those upcoming events is “A Night in Norway.” Partnering with local chef Erin Evenson, the Owl’s Head will offer a special five-course Norwegian meal, with wine pairing and some “extras,” on Wednesday, October 2 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Reservations are required.

“She is really great and we are happy to work with her,” Avelluto said of the collaboration.

Avelluto lives in Bay Ridge with his wife and two daughters, who attend Our Saviour’s Lutheran School and P.S. 131.

He said that although he does like arts and culture, he really aims to have a down-to-earth space.

“We try not to be too highfalutin. This is the Cheers of wine bars,” Avelluto explained. “We show and explain to people. It can be off-putting walking into the world of wine.”

The Owls’ Head is located at 479 74th Street. They can be reached at 718-680-2436, by e-mailing [email protected] or at www.facebook.com/theowlshead.

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