Late Air (2805 Bull Street, Savannah) may not have been the first to bring natural wines to Savannah, but it’s the bar now leading the way in the genre. After popping up around town and hyping up the public on Instagram, Late Air opened at the end of 2022 and was instantly popular with neighbors, food and beverage employees, and anyone familiar with organically farmed grapes.
Owners Colin Breland and Madeline Ott were running a restaurant in Virginia Beach when they decided it was time to do their own establishment in the natural wine realm. At first, they thought about a bottle shop. “We looked around, and there were a lot of similar concepts coming up, “ says Breland, “Some of our friends were opening them, and it was all really exciting, but at the same time, it felt like there was less and less room for us to flourish with the business plan that we had in mind.” The proliferation of shops and bars in Virginia Beach made them rethink what they wanted to do.
“Something we learned throughout the years is that we really appreciate the relationship of pouring wine for someone and talking about it,” says Breland, “So we scratched the bottle shop idea and focused on the idea of being a bar.” That’s when the couple started thinking about relocating to Savannah. Ott had studied fine art photography at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and Breland followed her there, so they both knew the area well.
“From our perspective, in Savannah, there were only two types of places to drink wine, and that was a restaurant or a hotel,” says Breland, “We saw a void in the market — especially for the wines that we like to drink and a lot of wines we love to talk about.”
In addition to plenty of bottles of natural wine, Late Air also has a substantial food menu. Chef Juan Stevenson has flipped the idea of what small plates at a wine bar can be. He finds inspiration from his homeland of Indonesia and years of living in Turkey. Visitors can order a feta dip with garlic confit, a jammy egg with trout roe, or duck breast with parsnip puree.
“Late Air is a wine bar, definitely a wine bar, but it’s also a restaurant,” says Breland, “The best way I can describe it is that Late Air is a place where you can come in and have a casual glass of wine and leave. Or you can also come in, have some snacks, and stay for a while. Or you can also end up having dinner and opening all the bottles of wine and spending the entire day, afternoon, and evening with us.”
Late Air opens Tuesday through Thursday, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday through Saturday, from noon to 11 p.m.