Sip Happens: Tutoni's self-serve wine bar

This might sound like something of a fantasy for wine lovers.

You get yourself a nice big wine glass and you take it over to the faucet. Let’s say it’s a faucet in a very charming bar with nice comfy chairs and pennies all over the floor. Pennies1

Then you turn on the spigot and out comes that ruby red Sito Moresco Langhe wine from the Gaga family vineyards in Italy you’ve been dying to try. Maybe some deep red Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Napa Valley. Perhaps a crisp Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Chardonnay with hints of pear might tickle your palate.

Go ahead, have a taste. Have a small glass. Have a big glass. It’s up to you. And this is no dream sequence in the “Sideways” movie. It’s the new TT Bar at Tutoni’s Restaurant in downtown York. It’s real. Really real.

WineBarIn what has been the most anticipated addition to the two-year-old Tutoni’s Restaurant, the TT Bar offers one of the area’s first wine tasting bars, with a selection of 16 rotating wine selections. The wine bar system actually has room for 46 different bottles of wine. On most days, the selection offers eight whites and eight reds, with a few roses for good measure.

It’s something owners husband-and-wife Tony and Toni Calderone have been dreaming of ever since they opened their Tutoni’s Restaurant in 2014. The name Tutoni actually means “Two Tonys” as in Tony and Toni. Their farm-to-table restaurant has been the talk of the town since they began serving house-made ravioli, lasagna, gnocchi, cavatelli, salads and charcuterie boards with a daily selection of cured meats and cheese from York and Lancaster counties.

But you know, one cannot live by fresh local produce, grain-fed meats and lovingly prepared pastas and breads alone. You get thirsty. TastingBar

So it was time to bring in the craft beers, the scratch cocktails and the wine at the TT Bar. They were also waiting for that coveted liquor license. Enough of that BYOB already. It was time to let the wine flow. And flow it does.

Cocktail magician and bar manager Bryan Busch explained how the wine bar works. First you need a TT Bar card. It’s like a refillable gift card. Using cash or credit, you put a certain amount on your card. You swipe it. Then start pouring. You can pour yourself a one-ounce taste, a three-ounce glass or a six-ounce glass. With TT’s self-serve wine system, you can try all of the different varietals and vintages that you’ve always wanted to try without having to buy that entire coveted $200 bottle.

When you use up the money on your card, just get it refilled at the bar. And while you can try as much as you want, there is still responsibility with wine drinking. Fine wine is meant to be swirled, spun and savored. Not chugged. Besides, Tony and Toni don’t want a bunch of drunk winos. Nor do the police. You’ll get cut off after four glasses of wine, unless, of course, you are sharing. At any rate, be prepared to ‘splain yourself if you get a bit carried away.

BryanBuschWith all that bold, light, rich, fruity, dry, buttery, oaky, non-oaked, smooth, languid, bright, aromatic and subtle wine, you better have something to eat. You are in luck. The TT Bar kind of stands for Tony and Toni, but what it really means is Tapas on Top. Tapas, of course, are those wonderful small plates invented by the Spanish to balance the wine with some sustenance.

The TT Bar’s tapas change daily, and might include burrata cheese with pesto and pine nuts, steamed mussels with pickled peppers, duck pate bruschetta, polenta with mushrooms and fried egg or heavenly New England lobster rolls with Maine lobster. That happens to go perfectly with a nice Sauvignon Blanc. And you know just where to get some. Just take your glass over to the wine bar and pour yourself a perfect pairing.

TapasIt won’t take you long, relaxing in the TT Bar, to notice that the floor seems to sparkle in a coppery glow. And it’s not the wine. The entire floor is covered in copper pennies. No lie. There are hundreds or thousands of them glued under the clear coat floor. No point trying to pick them up. Bryan explained that it took a full day to make that penny floor, with a whole bunch of Tutoni’s people pitching in to get it done. It just adds to the ambience of Tutoni’s, which has an Old World feel, like you’re in some neighborhood bar in Italy perhaps, with balconies, exposed brick, glistening chandeliers and a deer head on the carpeted staircase.

Somebody has very excellent handwriting, by the way, listing the daily specials, vintage cocktails, local sourcing and tasty tapas on blackboards with white chalk. You would get an A+ in penmanship if they were still teaching that in school. Bravo!

And a big bravo to Tutoni’s for a whole new level of pour-it-yourself wine ecstasy at TT’s Bar.

TutonisTT Bar at Tutoni’s Restaurant
108 N. George Street, York
(717) 885-5169,

Hours: Monday- Thursday:
Lunch: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Dinner: 5- 9 p.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Dinner: 5- 10 p.m.

Get more Sip Happens here.

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Posted in Articles, Arts+Culture, Arts+Culture – York, Drink, Drink – York, Headlines, Out & About – York, Sip Happens, Tasting Notes, The Bar Scene, York, York Headlines

Laura Knowles is a freelance writer and photographer for Fly Magazine. She is obsessed with writing about food, art, music and theatre, in an effort to pretend to be a chef, artist, musician and actress. Her goal in life is to be on Jeopardy, as long as there is no math category.

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