BlackSheep Wine Bar steeped in Chandler history - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

BlackSheep Wine Bar steeped in Chandler history

September 30th, 2021 development
BlackSheep Wine Bar steeped in Chandler history

By Mallory Gleich, Contributor

Long before it became a city on May 24, 1954, Chandler was little more than a collection of dirt roads lined by about 20 buildings.

One of those buildings housed the Hotel Chandler, which in 1914 was the affordable option for travelers compared to the San Marcos Hotel that was just down the road.

Fast forward a hundred years, and the Hotel Chandler still stands.

It was home to numerous drugstores, including Gardner’s, Dudding’s and Rexall Drug.

Today, though, it’s home to an entirely different business: BlackSheep Wine Bar & Merchant.

Brad Ingarfield is the founder of Liquid Sunshine Projects, a group of concepts with one common goal: “to create unique social gathering spaces and imaginative experiences to bring diverse groups together and elevate communication.”

Murphy’s Law, Bourbon Jack’s and, now, BlackSheep are all part of Liquid Sunshine.

Ingarfield said the building’s history inspired the wine bar.

“We envisioned the free-spirited, adventurous and rebellious types who traveled from all over to stay in the hotel in hopes of getting a fresh start in Chandler,” Ingarfield said.

“Our team imagined what these people would be like, the friendships they would make, and how valuable those friendships would have been to adventurers and fortune-seekers that came through the doors.”

History abounds as guests walk through the doors.

There are bullet holes in the cement floor, where legend has it that in 1921 when the space was a “men only” hotel bar and a scuffle broke out when a group of women refused to leave and continued drinking.

Ingarfield said that although much has changed in the past 107 years, the need to socialize and meet new people is not a new concept.

So, he said, so the idea behind BlackSheep is that it’s a place for people to get together and bond over food, drinks and music.

The business opened in July, and while there is a complete food menu, the wine is the star of the show.

“Our focus is on finding great wines from small, independent wineries locally and across the world,” Ingarfield said. “We look for wineries that share our vision of bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to share conversation and ideas.”

The team at BlackSheep spent time traveling and sampling various wines to choose which ones would be a fit at the new establishment.

Although they don’t have the professional experience of a sommelier, the ownership group knew what it was looking for – and all had the same idea in mind.

We did not want to be a wine bar just for wine aficionados,” Ingarfield said. “We want to eliminate the subtle snobbery associated with many wine-focused restaurants and bars. We want to make great wines feel more approachable.”

At BlackSheep, 22 wines are available by the glass, with 56 red and 20 white are available on the reserve bottle list. Guests can also enjoy bottled and draft beer and an extensive cocktail list.

There’s a late-night, brunch, and all-day menu with items put together by “culinary adventurer and fellow rebel” Ivan Diaz.

“Ivan put an incredible amount of passion into developing a menu that fits our vision,” Ingarfield said. “We see our guests as unique and adventurous – and if not rebels, then rebels with a cause.

“We wanted the menu to reflect the diversity of our guests and also facilitate sharing. We love the idea of a neighborhood party/supper, so we emulated that with our menu.”

Guests can find graze boards, “snack-ables” like burrata and crab cakes, bruschetta and paninis, as well as items like avocado toast and breakfast sandwiches on the brunch menu.

“Recess,” or happy hour, is from 4-7 p.m., and on Wednesdays, bottles of wine are half-off.

There also is a selection of “graze boxes” that includes one with desserts as well as several pasta dishes, salads and paninis.

The eatery will also host events in the future, and eventually, a merchant area will open where guests can buy BlackSheep merch and other wares.

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