Opening a new business during a pandemic comes with challenges, but the owners of a new Wiscasset wine bar appreciate the slower pace.
In a Silent Way, at 65 Main St. in downtown Wiscasset, opened in July, but has been in the works since 2019. Owners Chandler Sowden and Zack Goodwin leased the storefront in November with a goal of opening in March. They pushed the date back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The couple worked in San Francisco restaurants before moving to Maine last year. They were attracted to the state in part because of the high-quality vegetables and seafood harvested here.
In a Silent Way is Sowden and Goodwin’s first business venture. “It’s been fun, but there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Sowden said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from the local community.”
“It’s a really great space and a really great time to learn,” Goodwin said. The pandemic has limited them to 10 patrons at a time, which gives them time to iron out the details of a new business and cultivate a menu.
“In a Silent Way” is a 1969 album by Miles Davis, the jazz trumpeter and composer.
“We chose the name first because it’s a favorite album of ours, but the meaning seemed (to) encompass a lot of the things we love about wine and Maine,” Sowden said in a January interview.
The ambiance of the bar is important to Sowden and Goodwin. After leasing the building, they spent time exposing more brick inside, and each table is lit with a candle. “We want to give people the chance to get off the busy street and come into this little oasis,” Sowden said. They would like to offer outdoor seating, but the town has not allowed it.
The bar offers a rotating list of wines, but Goodwin said there will always be a Champagne, a white wine, a red wine, a sparkling wine, and a sherry on the menu. “We want to keep the selections low and the quality high,” he said.
In addition to wine, In a Silent Way has a small selection of snacks and may expand its food menu in the future.
The bar is open from 3-8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday and will be open year-round.