Boutique Wine Shop Plans to Open in Crystal
The Wine Thief & Ale Jail Plans Crystal Location
Owners of The Wine Thief and Ale Jail in St. Paul hope to open a second location at the intersection of 36th Avenue and Douglas Drive in Crystal.
The shop would open in a former Pizza Hut Express location. The owners are talking with an architect to revamp the space and possibly the parking lot too. At a public hearing for the shop’s liquor license, council members remarked on the state of the building and their hopes for improvement on the corner.
Ron and Mejken Thompson say The Wine Thief and Jail Ale will be a small, hand-curated boutique wine shop. They hope to be open at the beginning of 2023. The store plans to host cocktail workshops and wine tastings, like they do at the St. Paul business that they’ve operated for five years in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood.
“What we feel like our strength is, is we offer something that is sort-of an enhancement. It’s hand-selected,” said Mejken Thompson, who answered questions in front of the Crystal City Council Tuesday night. “We really want to make it a place where you can come and get something that enhances your meal, or enhances your evening with friends without any pressure or snobbery.”
Thompson went on to say ‘it’s a good spot.’
One neighbor did express concerns over increased traffic in the location and that it would bring another liquor store to Crystal.
Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering did confirm that the intersection is considered dangerous and she’d spoken with the owners about possible lot reconfiguration.
Council members pointed out that the corner is zoned for commercial development and the new business would not have a drive-through, like the previous building had.
The council did approve the liquor license.
“It’s exciting to see something different,” said Crystal Mayor Jim Adams.
In case you are wondering about the creative name, ‘a wine thief’ is actually a tool that’s used by a winemaker to taste and test wine from a barrel.