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Reds Wine Bar attracts groups, good business
It’s a rainy Monday night at Kent Station, one of the last places you’d expect to find anyone considering the conditions.
But Reds Wine Bar has still managed to bring in almost 30 people – mostly women – to buy a variety of red and white wines.
The secret? Event programming thanks to manager Rick McMaster, who has arranged for a variety of different evening attractions ranging from live music to game nights. One particular Monday brought 20 women in for a “Corks and Canvas” night, where Corks and Canvas (a Seattle business) art docents provide art lessons along with a glass of wine.
Some of the events, such as Corks and Canvas painting classes, draw visitors from as far away as Tacoma and Seattle. Jen Shell, a teacher from Federal Way, came to Corks and Canvas with her friends from Auburn, Burien and West Seattle using a Groupon deal.
“They fill up really quick,” she said. “You never see a place this busy on a Monday night.”
Reds manager Rick McMaster conceived the event nights shortly after taking over management of the bar. His ideas go beyond painting and wine, though. He’s organized several different nights ranging from bluegrass bands to board game nights.
The key, he says, is making the wine bar a community space in a large city. “The reason I don’t have a TV is because I want people to come in here and talk to each other,” McMaster said.
McMaster said that keeping the bar’s identity local has also helped bring in patrons, such as Lake Tapps resident Dennis Bishop. Bishop regularly stops at Reds when he has business in Kent, and says that the bar is a good place to relax outside of the chain restaurants at Kent Station.
“It’s a small town mentality in a large town environment,” Bishop said.
One of Bishops favorite aspects of the bar is the pay it forward board, where frequent patrons can pay for a beer for another customer and put it on the board.
While the idea works for Kent Station, not everyone is sure that Reds’s strategy will benefit all of Kent. Because the city is so divided between the West and East hills, as well as the North and South regions, some customers said that it would help if more bars and restaurants in each of these areas made it a point to become destinations by hosting events.
“Kent is so spread out,” said Alicia Sawers, who lives in West Seattle, “It would be interesting if the East Hill tried to capitalize on that.”
Reds offers Corks and Canvas nights on the second Monday of every month, as well as the third Saturday.
For a full listing of events, check out www.redswinebar-kent.com.