Wine Around Town: Happy Cork Brooklyn
About two months ago, I was scrolling on Instagram and came across a post from Black Girls Drink that mentioned that there was going to be a soft opening of a new wine shop in Brooklyn. What made this one special? It was Black owned and operated, (YES) and determined to give Brooklynites quality wine at a quality price.
Two weeks after the soft opening, I pulled up to Happy Cork to learn more from the owners: husband and wife team Remo and Sunshine Foss as well as their friend Chanell Caron. Together, they run Happy Cork Brooklyn, which is located on Buffalo and Atlantic Avenues along the border of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.
What once was your typical neighborhood liquor store (Sunshine describes it having “bullet proof glass” with not a great wine selection), is now an oasis for novice and expert wine drinkers alike. Sunshine and Remo bought the property, but were having a hard time getting potential tenants. “We told ourselves by 2018 if we hadn’t gotten anyone to rent this space, we were going to turn it into a liquor store,” Sunshine said. As residents of Brooklyn, Remo and Sunshine were well aware of the gravity of opening a new business in their ever-changing neighborhood, but they were determined to make it a place for everyone. “We knew we wanted this space to be welcoming and inclusive - giving our customers a chance to try new things and expand their palettes.”
Over the course of months, they connected directly with their consumer and crowdsourced the name of the store - Happy Cork - which played a heavy role in the store’s design. “We also reached out to other businesses in the area for their feedback,” Remo said, “in order to better understand the landscape and discover what we would uniquely offer to our community.”
For me, walking into Happy Cork always feels like I was walking into a friend’s well-stocked bar and wine closet, complete with wines and spirits from all over the world. What also makes Happy Cork unique is that they pride themselves in carrying products that are made by Black wine and spirit makers, too. From the world’s best whiskey by Uncle Nearest to the newest ladies on the block Esrever Wines, this wine shop has a curated collection of the best - all at reasonable prices. One of my absolute favorites that I’m always sure to walk out of the store with is a 2013 French Cabernet Sauvignon by Bellula. It’s smooth, fruit-forward on the nose and easy drinking - pairing with almost anything from roasted chicken to spaghetti and meatballs.
Their grand opening, which took place on March 2nd, had people in and out of the store from 1 to 10 PM - and all day celebration if you will. On a daily basis, Happy Cork has free tastings for customers - Monday through Thursday focusing on wine and Fridays popping the cork on their selections of spirits. And with the summer right around the corner, I’m certain that the selection is going to be on point for any occasion.
If you’re in the area, you can visit Happy Cork at 51 Buffalo Avenue in Brooklyn, and follow them on Instagram.