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Checkered Past Winery: Drink (and Eat) What You Like

Tucked away in the historic South Side building, Checkered Past Winery is a relaxed urban wine pub with a refreshingly unpretentious approach to all things wine. A bright and airy space playing ska music when you walk in, Checkered Past is a laid back wine pub named and designed with 'mods and rockers' in mind.

Checkered Past is also a haven for the modern wine lover. After looking for years for the right space to become a part of the community, I think they've settled in to this space perfectly, and after just over a year, have already been named one of the best wine bars in Dallas by D Magazine. 

Checkered Past Winery Syrah
Don't like wine? Let co-founder, owner, and winemaker Sandro DiSanto suggest something that might change your mind. Sandro is a a human library of information for the oenophile, while also being approachable and explains each type of wine offered very well. We stayed and chatted for hours about his passion and the heartbeat of Checkered Past Winery, the wine of course. 

behind the bar
You might say Sandro DiSanto was born with wine coursing through his veins. You see, both of Sandro's grandfathers made wine in Sicily, and as a first generation American, he brought his Italian roots stateside and eventually that natural born passion evolved into his own personal winemaking, and an appreciation especially for Texas wines and the drink local movement. 

Sandro DiSanto
Sandro and his brother-in-law Scott Relyea connected over the love for wine and co-founded Checkered Past Winery. Scott also designed the interior. Everything from light fixtures to tile to the bar in the space was done by these guys. (They don't mind getting their hands dirty from construction OR wineskins!) Rounding out the trio is Carolynne Chancellor, a vineyard owner who now serves as owner and manager of their venture. 
House rules
Checkered Past opened in December of 2015 (Prohibition day, actually), and is the very first "urban wine pub" I've ever stumbled upon, anywhere. The vibe is very modern with clean designs and plenty of space to relax with a glass of your favorite variation of grape juice. Heavy on Texas wines, but also featuring some California favorites and some choice worldwide bottles, the menu promises a wine for every palate. The philosophy Sandro quotes is simple yet profound: Drink what you like. No pressure to like a wine that just isn't for you, just find a taste that makes you happy and run with it. I like it. Applies to all things in life, don't you think?
Checkered Past Winery Viognier
Speaking of running with things you enjoy, let's talk food. The team at CP will be happy to pair your wine (or beer) with some food for your culinary enjoyment. The food menu is not to be skipped, and you can easily enjoy a full meal and go home satisfied. Even those who just wish for a small bite can be pleased with their selection of Cheese, Charcuterie, and Antipasto Italiano Boards, which are great for sharing with friends. If you wish for a little something more, the selection of Small Plates, Flatbreads, Breads with Spreads, Sides, and Desserts has plenty of tasty bites to help soak up your wine. 

Antipasto Italiano
When we visited, we sampled the Antipasto Italiano, Smoked Salmon & Herb Cream Cheese Bruschetta, Flatbread with balsamic glaze,  Warm Double Chocolate Cake, and Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake. All items came paired with either one of Sandro's own wines or another pairing recommendation. Scroll through photos of our spread below:

Smoked Salmon and Herbed Cream Cheese Bruschetta
McPherson Cellars from Lubbock, Texas
Tara Vineyard, where DiSanto worked as winemaker previously

Warm Double Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free!)
Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake
Dessert wines
Ok, so what's in it for me (besides obviously the food) if I don't like wine, you ask? CP also serves locally brewed beer, cider, and recently added mead to the menu. Find something you have always loved, or something new you've been dying to try, there are numerous options to drink there or to buy and take home (I of course had to buy some to sip at my casa, Sandro knows his winemaking). You can also join the wine club at CP, and for 36.99 you can pick up two bottles of wine every other month. (Check the website or call for details!) It's free to join and you can cancel at anytime. The wine club is a perfect chance to expand your horizons. 

If you're looking for an unpretentious side of Dallas, one where they'll welcome you and call you by name, search no further: Checkered Past needs to be in your future.  
interior view
*Pro Tip: Follow Checkered Past on Facebook to stay informed of their many events. They have live music every Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday night! You'll also see other cool events like storytelling or comedy nights.

Checkered Past Winery 
(located on the bottom floor of South Side on Lamar, shown above)
1409 S. Lamar St. 008
Dallas, TX 75215
(214) 242-0411

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