Glass House—Wine and dine on the Riverwalk at Water Street’s SixtyFour

August 2017 View more

It’s worth remembering now, in this golden age of craft beer, that the original obsessive fascination with alcoholic beverages—from lineage to mouthfeel to food pairings—started with wine. Indeed, long before the bearded masses were plunking down $100 to spend an afternoon sniffing, sampling and debating the relative merits of six-ounce samples of various lagers, stouts and ales, oenophiles were traversing the country in search of an ideal cabernet or moscato offered in an even more ideal setting.

So despite its technologically cutting-edge automated dispensing format (think froyo machines for grown-ups) and first-of-its-kind novelty on the downtown Naperville scene, the newly opened SixtyFour wine bar is, in at least one way, something of a throwback. Because even though there are just as many craft beers from which to choose, the focus at this Water Street destination is most certainly on the wine, with sixty-four varieties available every day in a range of tasting sizes.                   

Island Hoppers
Whether wine can still hold sway amid the craft beer crush is yet to be seen. That debate seems to be covered, in either regard, with the aforementioned slate of canned and bottled regional brews. But right off the bat SixtyFour has distinguished itself as one of the most attractive spots in town wherein to sit back with a glass and watch the world go by. The handsome, bottle-lined interior features seating for about 100 wine lovers, but both capacity and atmosphere benefit greatly from the outdoor patio, which not only accommodates another fifty guests, but also features the unparalleled backdrop of the Riverwalk.

In truth, most patrons won’t spend a lot of time at their tables anyway, given the allure of the four central “wine islands,” each beckoning with sixteen varieties of bold reds, summer whites or special selections from high-tech self-service berths. The SmartCards used for payment can either be pre-loaded with a set amount or tied to a credit card to run a tab, as would-be sommeliers opt for a one-ounce tasting, a two-and-a-half-ounce half glass or a five-ounce full glass of any given selection from the easy-to-use dispensers (with most wines coming in at around $9 to $20 per full glass), governed only by their budgets and better angels.

Vino and Vittles
Staff members are on hand not only to help explain the dispensing procedure, but also to provide advice, particularly when it comes to pairing selections with some of the delicious bites Executive Chef Patrick McLaughlin (formerly of Parker’s in Downers Grove) has put together. The cork-embossed food menu includes a variety of cheese and charcuterie board selections, a handful of salads, flatbreads, burgers and paninis and several entrees.

We kicked things off with a board of Italian prosciutto and Wisconsin summer sausage—served with pickles, spicy mustard and bacon jam—and a trio of pimento cheeses that would make the folks at Augusta proud. From that satisfying start, we moved on to a plate of penne pasta with zucchini and ricotta in a spicy arrabiata, and a sandwich featuring pickled shrimp and Creole sauce on grilled Tuscan bread. With a quartet of pinot noirs just steps away, a wine refill was always at the ready. We capped the evening off with a shared jar of layered mocha and caramel mousse, a sweet finish that had us thinking that a self-service dispenser churning out this rich and creamy calorie bomb would make for a fine addition.

But that would probably take some of the spotlight off of the clear star of this revival, in what is sure to become a popular new destination in downtown Naperville. Your move, craft beer.

SixtyFour–A Wine Bar
123 Water Street, Suite 105, Naperville
630.780.6464 |