With Guyanese, as much as representatives of the international community living and working here, clamouring for more variety in the range of entertainment offered in Georgetown and its environs, what, up until today is the Island Style Café and Juice Bar will, after a rebranding ceremony tomorrow, become the Island Style Café and Wine Bar.
“It really is a question of stepping up to meet customer preferences,” the facility’s owner, Valrie Grant told Stabroek Business. Our customers have been asking for changes and we are responding to those requests,” Grant says. `
Launched in August 2015 at Lot 50 Brickdam, the Island Style Café and Juice Bar has, up until now, served as a discreet and quiet hangout for ‘grabbing a beer” (either Banks or Red Stripe) and ‘chowing down’ on servings of curried goat, jerk pork and peas and rice served up from the kitchen by the Island Style’s amiable Jamaican Chef, Omar. If you were lucky you might even get to take away a pastry or bun in a brown paper bag.
There were weekend nights when the Island Style’s forecourt accommodated small but animated groups of revelers ‘soaking up’ tasteful music offered at a decibel level that still allowed for good conversation.
What Island Style did for its clientele was to create an awareness of the options to night time entertainment that offered a rewarding alternative to the ‘boom box’ culture that has become fashionable.
Taste, however, was evolving and while good beer is unlikely ever to be entirely replaced, revelers have been gravitating to good wine in considerable numbers; not only that but the cosmopolitan crowds that were beginning to assemble in cramped spaces were beginning to want more as were the tasteful youngsters whose idea of ‘night life’ was entirely different to the adherents of Dance Hall.
Grant says, too, that the feedback from customers suggested that the market was calling for “cool spaces,” facilities that allowed you to sip a glass of wine or a cup of tea whilst fiddling with your laptop, tying up some important arrangement or simply ‘shooting breeze’ with a friend in an environment where you could hear each other.
So that while the Island Style will be hanging on to a lot of its old habits like its Caribbean cuisine and good juices and beer, it will, from tomorrow, be changing gears, broadening the base of what it has to offer to accommodate a wider clientele.
For wines, Grant says she is looking to Chile and Italy and later on, to Spain. She is hoping, as well, to push one of her personal favourites, Canadian Ice Wines. Good wines, she says, will be attended by a range of finger foods.
Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin who, as it happens, also holds the Tourism portfolio, will be present at the Island Style tomorrow evening for the 18:00 start of the re-branding event. Grant wants Guyanese who may have long been craving for this type of hangout to look in on the new Wine Bar. She is hoping too that she can entice the outgoing members of the diplomatic community in Georgetown to venture in. “Our focus will be on creating a convivial environment.”
The transformation of the Island Style has been some time in the making and Grant says that she has to thank a local colleague, Junette Steuart and St. Lucian Lyndell Danzie-Black, head of the local training and consulting company, Cerulean Inc, who among others provided management consulting, as the impetus to take the exercise forward. “It’s always a comforting thing when you are working with capable people who have your interest at heart,” Grant says.