Designer Linda Sullivan Reveals a Refresh Underway at a Favorite Space to Gather at Santana Row

New + vintage.

  • Category
    Eat & Drink, People
  • Written by
    Jennifer Massoni Pardini
  • Photos courtesy of
    Brad Knipstein

Vintage Wine Bar and its sister shop, Vintage Wine Merchants, are Santana Row staples—the wine bar’s iconic limestone façade also makes it the shopping center’s most photographed storefront. In talking to Linda Sullivan of Sullivan Design Studio about her refresh of Vintage Wine Bar, we aim to shine a light on a much-loved community space where we look forward to gathering again just as soon as the Bay Area’s restaurants and bars reopen.


Jennifer Massoni Pardini: Had you worked with owner Harry Fong before?

Linda Sullivan: We were introduced to Harry seven years ago by a general contractor. We helped them expand on square footage they already had, utilizing the exterior as much as possible by adding a full trellis with a canvas shade for sun or colder days, and providing new furnishings. The wine bar is just under 500 square feet, but has a larger presence because of its central location within Santana Row. With the addition of the patio, it now feels much larger than it is.


What did Vintage Wine Bar want for this intimate space?

Harry always had a vision for Vintage Wine Bar to be a place where people would come for dates and small gatherings, while the retail store located around the corner, Vintage Wine Merchants, would continue to offer its many wines from around the world with its dedicated wine club following. The Wine Bar has been re-designed with a small, efficient kitchen offering small-bite cuisine to be paired with a selective wine list.


Tell me about the refreshed interiors.

The interior was gutted and revised with a new space plan that not only includes the small kitchen, but also a cozy lounge area and bar that have a more intimate feel. The customized wine racks hanging from the ceiling are a way to gain more room in this compact space. The original façade imported from France inspired the concept of playing up a French Bistro with that intimate appeal. The use of a small black-and-white-checkered floor paired with its existing stained glass, marble surfaces, and brass accents all work together within a beautiful garden courtyard.


To you, what role do places like these play in the community? They need our support now more than ever.

The social aspect is really at the heart of this place. Not only are they creatively shifting their business goals during these challenging times, but they are also helping those who are in need of a little pick-me-up package delivered to their front door. Who couldn’t use a delicious, fruitful glass of wine?


Follow @vintagewinesr on Instagram to learn more about care package options. You can even use the service to host a virtual happy hour.