217 Wine Bar combines class and quality entertainment – ​​Estes Park Trail-Gazette

Wide-framed windows give way to a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains while a Steinway and Sons concert grand piano sits below a proscenium casting an elegant charm over the room. The wine served is of the finest quality and the various furnished conversation areas provide a quaint communal atmosphere for guest enjoyment.

The space is called 217 Wine Bar – the Stanley’s latest offering for customers and members of the local community. 217 is located in the main building of the Stanley Hotel, filling what was once the Music Room.

During the late Victorian era, this music room was used as a designated ladies’ tea room. Women were hosting seances, playing cards and sipping tea – now that tea tasting has turned into lively wine tasting.

  • A view in front of the bar section of 217 Wine Bar. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

  • A full view of 217 Wine Bar from the...

    A full view of 217 Wine Bar from the back corner. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

  • A parallel conversation section in the 217 Wine Bar with...

    A conversation section parallel to 217 Wine Bar with a great view of the Rockies. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

  • The middle conversation section at 217 Wine Bar.(Matthew Poust/Estes...

    The middle conversation section at 217 Wine Bar. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

  • A view from the front of the wine bar...

    A view from the proscenium of the wine bar where the grand piano is located. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

  • The Steinway and Sons concert grand piano located in...

    The Steinway and Sons concert grand piano located at the head of the wine bar. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

  • A conversation area at 217 Wine Bar with...

    A conversation area at 217 Wine Bar with a great view of the Rockies. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

  • The front patio section of 217 Wine Bar with...

    The front patio section of 217 Wine Bar with a great view of the Rockies. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

217 Wine Bar opened to the public in late July and has been in operation ever since. The grand opening, however, is still in progress as the final touches are still being added to the space. Nevertheless, the wine bar still has a lot to offer customers.

Master D David Czapp of 217 toured the space and all it has to offer on Monday November 14th.

” John Cullen [owner of The Stanley] wanted to give customers a different type of experience than they could get anywhere else in town,” Czapp said, talking about the idea behind the wine bar. “You can buy wine all over town, but no place like this. It’s a low pressure environment and we have fun with all the customers on a regular basis.

217 Wine Bar offers a selection of over 50 wines – red, white and sparkling – with part of the menu changing according to guest preferences. One of the top sellers on this list is House 217 Cabernet Sauvignon. Those who purchase a bottle of this delicious red can personalize the logo and have it placed on a raptor on the ceiling in the bar as a symbol of remembrance.

“We bought this wine for birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, etc.,” Czapp said. “People love to party with this bottle, and it’s actually really good quality.”

217 also has a good variety of locally brewed beers and non-alcoholic options that make the place all inclusive.

For food options, diners can enjoy two-meat two-cheese or four-meat four-meat charcuterie boards, served with crackers and fresh fruit. A vegetarian hummus is also on the menu for something a little lighter to snack on.

Speaking on the food, Czapp explained that thanks to Stanley’s Michelin-starred chef – aka the best of the best – the food on offer pairs perfectly with whatever drink combination one can choose from.

“Honestly, I don’t know how he does it,” Czapp said with a laugh. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s red wine, white wine or beer. Everything the chef makes tastes good. The menu also works great with the wine tasting itself as it’s not a full meal – people can enjoy their wine and not feel bloated.

While 217’s fine wine and sleek design raise the bar for the competition, the unique entertainment offered at the wine bar sets it apart from any other location in the Estes Valley.

As mentioned earlier, the presence of a Steinway and Sons concert grand piano already demands an entertainment factor, while the proscenium beneath it offers the potential for universal acoustics.

A view of the Steinway and Sons concert grand piano and stage.  (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)
A view of the Steinway and Sons concert grand piano and stage. (Matthew Poust/Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

The Steinway has its own history. The Stanley’s original owner – FO Stanley – gave it to his wife Flora in 1909 after the hotel was built. As no microphones or speakers were available to amplify sound at the time, the proscenium was built to achieve this effect.

Simply put, sound admitted into the proscenium is reflected off the smooth curve of the domed ceiling, allowing it to propagate throughout the room at a relative volume level.

With these two instrumental masterpieces in attendance, guests have the opportunity to play Steinway. As Czapp explained, however, only those worthy enough to touch the keys are allowed.

“You can normally tell by the reactions of their friends whether the person can really play or not,” Czapp explained lightly. “If friends are impressed with the game, they’re usually up to the task, but if they’re sitting there playing chopsticks with friends cracking jokes, they’re probably not.”

Besides this classic style of entertainment brought by the piano, the so-called “wine songs” sung provide a unique experience for customers.

The story behind these tunes is that when Czapp was hired, he was asked to come up with wine-themed songs to sing to customers.

“The whole point of this entertainment is to give people something to talk about,” Czapp said. “You give them a sort of show that is about a conversation. People have good conversations and good wine, that’s what we want.

The problem with those wine songs that Czapp found, however, was that they were a bit too depressing. Thinking creatively, Czapp found a solution to this problem – taking songs that already exist and turning them into a wine-based parody.

Czapp’s plan was to take music-based schedules that move a plot and make it these parodies of wine. Once the plan was worked out and Czapp started performing in front of the public, clients started writing their own parodies and the idea caught fire.

“Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Queen, Johnny Cash, you name it, somebody made a song about it,” Czapp said. “The Righteous Brothers, Gloria Gaynor, Hellen Reddy, they’re all in there, and it’s fun.”

Czapp’s tale of this new song parody trend was made clear when he held up a book filled with scribbled lyrical notes from clients who have tried their hand at writing their own parody.

Along with these wine tunes, Czapp also shares historical stories, tells ghost tails, and gives information about The Stanley’s history.

“We integrate this entertainment to provide customers with an experience, that’s what we aim for, and that’s what we see,” Czapp said.

In the next steps, before the official opening of 217, a chocolatier should be incorporated to accompany the wine tasting, and a new bar should be installed to finalize the renovation process.

217 Wine Bar is open seven days a week, 3-10 p.m. weekdays and 2-10 p.m. weekends.