Wallingford tea shop, craft cafe features a ‘speakeasy meets apothecary’ vibe

WALLINGFORD – For 13 years, cocktail seekers have found themselves ducking and weaving their way down to dimly lit wells, carefully hidden to enjoy their favorite spirits and conversation, avoiding criminal penalties. -laws related to alcohol consumption through Prohibition in the 1920s.

A century later, Prohibition is long gone, but that hasn’t stopped Sarah Glidden from opening her own 21st-century speakeasy and teahouse with her husband, Jeremy Glidden, in Wallingford.

The new bar, Bones & Botanicals, 822 E. Center St., held a ribbon cutting Thursday evening, inviting friends, residents and city officials to mingle about the beautiful space surrounded by art. stories and other things that bring to life the history of New England magic.

The owner has lifelong roots in central Connecticut. Both born and raised in Wallingford, Sarah and Jeremy Glidden became a couple in high school and have remained friends ever since.

Sarah Glidden never thought of herself as a restaurant owner; bounce from patron to patron behind the L-shaped bar and mix classics and original house-made cocktails, each infused with their own blend of herbal teas.

She describes herself and her husband as keen “DIY people”, enjoying gardening and cleaning between her work as a dentist in Bristol and Jeremy Glidden’s work with the Department of the Homeland Security.

Sarah and Jeremy Glidden once wanted to open a restaurant, but as happened to countless business couples, the onset of COVID-19 led them to reconsider their plans.

Out of necessity, the two became seasoned cocktail experts during the pandemic lockdown, as there weren’t any consistently open options for drinks, Sarah Glidden said. The two also began mixing their own brews with established brands, giving an earthy twist to spirits like Maker’s Mark.

After coming out of shelter in 2021, the couple realized the unique business value of homemade drink recipes and herbalist-based spins on the usual favourite.

“Originally we wanted to open a distillery and make some of our own spirits and things like that, just for fun,” Sarah Glidden said. “When COVID happened, we decided ‘hey something really creative, really unique, let’s go for it,’ and that’s what drove this experience.”

One of the best things the Gliddens do at Bones & Botanicals is their take on the old-fashioned, thyme-infused and house-smoked.

Stay local

The Gliddens decide to shop local when buying liquor and beer or shop for fresh ingredients to cook bar food and ready-to-order appetizers, said Justin Dumas, a repeat customer and friend of Sarah’s. and Jeremy Glidden.

“Most of the beer is local. Most of the alcohol, if they can get it, they can get it locally,” Dumas said. “Even the food, it’s all from Wallingford Produce, so it’s local too.”

Although Bones & Botanicals offers drinks and small plates, it’s a regular spot for customers to enjoy a box of chicken and waffles while chatting thanks to an unofficial partnership between the bar and Cheeks Chicken locations and Waffles.

Sarah Glidden said she allows customers at Bones & Botanicals to order food from Cheeks and bring their food into the teahouse. The decision to work closely with Cheeks, he said, came from the same desire to support Wallingford businesses that drove him to shop local.

“We want to build another local business,” Glidden said. “We try to source all our products locally. I love Cheeks Chicken and Waffles, and I love working with them and being able to tell our patrons if they want to go get something to eat and bring it in, they’re better.”

‘Speakeasy meets apothecary’

The bar’s decor pays homage to New England’s colonial history as a center for witchcraft and ritual and a haven for herbal healers, which Sarah Glidden says she was interested in when she was still young.

“It’s super New England,” Glidden said. “We have a lot of great history with a lot of religious history here. I wanted speakeasy meets apothecary [for the bar]. My whole life has been in herbalism and plants, that amazing feeling.

The small, understated charm of Bones & Botanicals lends itself to spontaneous conversation between strangers, given the company’s intimate setting and speed-oriented service. in experience.

Dumas said he and a friend who joined him at the opening of Bones & Botanicals had been busy for weeks before, when the bar first opened without the pomp and circumstance of a celebration. on Thursday. During this time, Dumas said that he often witnessed the spies making regular friendships.

“It’s very relaxed and open,” Dumas said. “We’ve seen groups of people come in separately and not know each other, leave suddenly and exchange phone numbers to make plans like new friends. We have been here many times.”

The Gliddens have no plans to expand their bar space, Sarah Glidden said. For him, the beauty of the place comes from the warm and harmonious nature of the space, together with his attitude focused on the relaxation of the client.

Bones & Botanicals, he said, is designed to be a communal and communal experience for residents to catch up with friends or neighbors and relax.

“It’s a weird, intimate place,” says Sarah Glidden. “It’s a comfortable and relaxing place. I feel like everywhere you go there is too much encouragement and ‘in, out.’ I just want to create a world for people to come and be. ”

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