FOOD

A Look at The Laundry, German Village’s New Wine Bar From the Owners of Hausfrau Haven

The sophisticated-yet-convivial, 1,500-square-foot establishment used to be a coin-operated laundromat.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Julie D’Elia (left) and Faye Muncie are the owners of The Laundry, a new German Village wine bar. The Laundry is next door to Hausfrau Haven, which they also own.

On opening night at the Laundry, Hausfrau Haven’s neighboring wine bar spin-off, the conversation and bubbly were flowing liberally between its blue walls. By 6 p.m. that October evening, every single one of the bar’s 49 seats were filled. Though it’s early in this German Village bar’s tenure, the Laundry (765 S. Third St.) is already manifesting the atmosphere Hausfrau Haven’s owners, Julie D’Elia and Faye Muncie, had in mind.

“My neighborhood gathering place,” D’Elia says. Her business partner joins in: “And it’s all ages. It’s truly a mix from 25 to 85,” Muncie says.

“Everybody enjoys talking to each other, and it’s a really good gathering place. It’s like Max & Erma’s used to be,” D’Elia says, referencing the original Max & Erma’s, which operated just down the street for 45 years until it closed in 2017. It’s now Chapman’s Eat Market.

It’s hard to believe this sophisticated, 1,500-square-foot wine bar—with its modern light fixtures and coolers stocked with rosé and sparkling wine—used to be one of the last coin-operated laundromats in the area.

It’s the laundromat that first piqued Muncie and D’Elia’s interest in the property. They ended up negotiating with then-owners Fred Holdridge and Howard Burns to buy the whole building, including upstairs apartments and the quirky sundry store that would evolve into a serious wine shop. They finalized the purchase on April Fool’s Day 1996.

“We were like, ‘What can we do to pay this massive mortgage payment?’” says Muncie, who had a career in the clothing business. “So, we just slowly started buying more wine. … I just dived in headfirst, and found that I love, love, love the business. So, I read everything I could and tasted wine and visited wineries. That’s really how you learn.”

A glass of wine from Oregon’s Lange Estates Winery and Vineyards

When the pandemic arrived, Hausfrau’s owners quickly shut down the laundry, and it became a staging area where they would sanitize every wine bottle that came through the door. The shop stayed open seven days a week, and during the worst months, they set up a table outside where customers could pick up their orders. Hausfrau was also doing around 30 deliveries a day at one point.

“We have been very fortunate in that our business has increased pretty much every year since we’ve had the business, but since COVID, it has really skyrocketed,” Muncie says. “Wine is a recession-proof business.”

About a year and a half ago, D’Elia took the first step in transforming the laundry into the Laundry. “[Faye] came in one day, and all the washers were gone. That’s kinda how we think,” D’Elia says, laughing. Soon, D’Elia was jotting down ideas for the bar’s design on a napkin.

In addition to wines by the glass, the Laundry offers three beers on draft and food items like snack mix and charcuterie. The space already has a hard liquor license, so plans are in the works to serve a limited menu of cocktails. Customers can open a bottle from the neighboring wine shop for a corkage fee. 

“We will [pour] some old favorites. But we’ll also throw in some esoteric varietals that maybe you wouldn’t try, but you will if you don’t have to buy a bottle,” Muncie says. “We’re definitely about exposing people to some fun and interesting wines.”

Much like Hausfrau Haven’s in-store wine bar that hosted popular happy hours for years, the Laundry will only pour from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, in adherence with a “good neighbor” agreement with German Village. The owners may add Thursdays sometime next year, and the bar will host periodic tastings with winemakers and private events, as well.

Though its days hosting lively happy hours are over, the old in-store wine bar will remain, mainly because of the much-needed counter space it provides. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can find Muncie standing behind the bar while she meets with distributors, tasting their offerings.

“That’s her command center,” D’Elia says. 

Sorry to Burst Your Bubble, But There’s a Champagne Shortage

Champagne drinkers will want to plan ahead before the bubbly supply goes, well, flat. The sparkling stuff may be hard to come by again this holiday season thanks to high demand mixed with a host of supply-chain issues.

According to the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, Champagne’s governing trade body, sales declined 18 percent by volume in 2020 as restaurants shut down and celebrations ceased amid the pandemic. Now, people are ready to party again, and demand for Champagne has accelerated. Here’s the problem: The French trade body, which controls how much Champagne is produced each year, cut production by 25 percent in 2020. Now, growers and Champagne houses may be short on product for several years to come.

Hausfrau Haven’s Faye Muncie fully expects there to be a scarcity of well-known names like Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon this season. The good news: Since the spring, Hausfrau Haven’s team has been squirreling away cases of Champagne, especially Veuve, in their impressive basement wine cellar.

This story is from the November 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.