SideBern's to reopen as Haven wine bar by winter

Changes at Tampa's SideBern's go beyond its major renovations that began in June.

click to enlarge Bern's Steak House sibling SideBern's is set to relaunch as a wine bar named Haven. - Google Street View
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Bern's Steak House sibling SideBern's is set to relaunch as a wine bar named Haven.

Make room for more glasses of wine and charcuterie. Tampa's SideBern's, the younger sibling of Bern's Steak House, will relaunch near the end of the year with a new concept and name: a wine bar called Haven.

The restaurant will keep its digs at 2208 W. Morrison Ave.

SideBern's, which opened in 1996, closed June 24 for an extensive renovation. On Monday night, Bern's owner David Laxer informed guests at the Epicurean Hotel's James Beard Foundation dinner of the restaurant's shift.

According to executive chef Chad Johnson, SideBern's was looking for the "best way to utilize the [renovated] space." He also said Haven spawned from conversations about the staff's passions and what would be a good fit for the market.

General manager Kira Jefferson, chef de cuisine Courtney Orwig, director of spirits Dean Hurst and wine director Gregory Mayer joined the Haven team alongside Johnson.

From high-dollar wines that reflect the Bern's lineup to what Johnson called "unique finds" that aren't as well-known, Haven's wine selection will be broad. By-the-glass liquids will range from around $9 to $18.

Johnson was mum about specifics on Haven's fare. However, he said the little-bit-of-everything offerings will focus on smaller dishes guided by what's in season.

"If it tastes good, it'll be on the plates," Johnson said.

The identifying part of the redeveloped eatery, though, he added, will be the cheese and charcuterie.

A cheese cellar will be visible from the dining room, outfitted with more than 100 cheeses. Johnson said Haven will offer 50 varieties — depending on what's ripe — every night, and that the restaurant plans to pursue "off-the-wall" cheeses.

Haven will carry a different vibe than SideBern's, too, more laid-back. Johnson described it as a neighborhood feel.

"At its core, it won't be as formal," he said, "But still high-end."

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