17 Degrees Mag

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The Wine Library

The Wine Library started quite simply because it was something that Falkirk didn’t have and five years down the line it has quickly become one of Falkirk’s favourite institutions. Angela remembers when she was told that “a wine bar in Falkirk simply would not work”. She is overjoyed that she has proven the naysayers wrong – even through a pandemic! They have built up an extremely loyal band of regular customers and still are being discovered by a new clientele.

The Inspiration Behind The Wine Library

Owners Angela and her husband Gordon were enjoying a weekend break in Amsterdam just over five years ago, decided to take an alleyway instead of the busy street and wound up in a cosy wee wine bar. After an afternoon and several glasses of wine they had decided Falkirk needed just such a thing! On their return to Falkirk, they were on a night out with friends and were struggling to find somewhere to have a relaxed drink. When they were walking towards the taxi rank, they came across the ‘For Let’ sign in 1 Princes Street’s window. So, as you do, Angela called on the Monday to be told that it had already been let. After another lease fell through Angela was feeling a bit discouraged and considered not going through with the wine bar idea! Until, that is, she received a call about 1 Princes Street and was offered the lease. She decided to bite the bullet and go for it. It was now or never as far as she was concerned. Her husband Gordan has kept his full-time job as an accountant but has supported Angela all along the way.

The Team

First step in opening The Wine Library was finding a sommelier and a manager. They both pretty much fell into Angela’s lap. Her neighbour’s cousin, Sam, who had previously been the sommelier at The Balmoral and Michelin star 21212, was at the time not working. She has small children and had stopped working as she didn’t want to go back to the commute after being off on maternity. When Angela approached her with a flexible part-time position in which she could work from home if needed she was all in. Sam works Friday and Saturdays in the Wine Library and runs every monthly wine tasting. From home she takes care of all the wine orders so that she can be there for her children. Sam is incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of wine and if you happen to ask her about any bottle in the library she can tell you the taste, origin, how it was made, about the winery and sometimes even about the design of the label. Sam brings in new wines monthly and is continually updating their wine list.

When it came to management Angela knew just who to ask. A good friend of hers, Lynne, had worked in retail all her life. They were sitting around the kitchen table one night and Angela asked her what her dream job would be. Her response was “a deli with a wine bar.” It was not too long after that that Angela announced to Lynne that she would be opening a wine bar, and asked if she would like to manage it. Lynne was overjoyed but worried as she hadn’t done anything quite like it but neither had Angela and she encouraged Lynne to take the leap of faith with her. And no one has looked back!

The Past Five Years

Over the past five years, The Wine Library has become well-known and well-loved. They offer not only a lovely atmosphere in which to enjoy a night out with your other half, friends or work colleagues but are always putting on exciting events. Whether it be their monthly wine tastings showcasing new wines, gin tastings, rum tasting, supper club, live music evenings or their monthly book club! There is something for everyone at The Wine Library, even if that be just someone to chat to – their friendly team are always there to lend an ear and they have built a lovely community environment within the bar. They get to know their customers by name and treat them like family, The Wine Library family, with many stories to tell.

As well as offering a huge selection of wines and 30 gins, they also offer many spirits and are introducing a wider variety of flavoured rums, whiskies and tequila to their ever-evolving menu this year. They have also teamed up with Clark’s of Edinburgh, a supplier of speciality food for their delicious antipasti platters which are a very popular pairing with the wine! Their cheese and charcuterie boards are available every day.

The team are very active on social media and followers look forward to their Saturday Selfies each week, which are now famously framed on the wall!

The Fizz Edition

The team are constantly thinking of new ideas to keep the business growing and prospering. Since it is their 5th year in business they have decided to try and do something new and work is underway to open a fizz corner in the upstairs bar. The only complication has been getting the fizz! Champagne is currently in short supply as, due to weather conditions, they are missing a year’s supply.

All going well they will be offering a wide variety of champagnes, Prosecco by the glass and more by the bottle than they currently do. Their aim is to launch their new Champagne Bar by their 5th birthday in October 2021. 

Tastings and Events

They are back open six days a week, every day except Monday! They are also offering their monthly tastings again and have linked up with Pernod so that they can offer spirit tastings as well. They are planning rum tastings, which is quickly becoming the new big thing.

Christmas is fast approaching and they are now taking bookings. The room upstairs can be booked for private functions on Friday evenings. Get in touch to find out about their different festive packages or to purchase a gift voucher to gift this Christmastime.

To find out more, follow The Wine Library on Facebook or feel free to pop in or call up!

They are also still offering wine deliveries – a service that they started due to the pandemic.

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Ciro’s

There’s a new restaurant in Forth Valley and everyone is talking about how great it is! We were delighted to get the chance to interview Ciro and Nikki, owners of Ciro’s Italian Restaurant at Glenbervie Golf Club.

The couple have always been destined to run their own hospitality business. Ciro started working in his Uncle’s pizzeria at the age of 12 and never looked back! His dream was to always have his own restaurant and after 25 years of hard work in Italy, Switzerland and Scotland, he finally succeeded and opened their first Ciro’s in Callander in 2007 along with his wife Nikki. Nikki’s family had always been in business, so this also came naturally to her.

The restaurant power couple have quite the love story. They met in 1993 in a pizzeria in Switzerland, where Ciro was working. Nikki was working at private summer camp nearby. Ciro is originally from south of Pompei in Italy and Nikki also has Italian heritage. She says, “My mum used to tell me never marry an Italian! So, what did I do?  I married Ciro!”

When they were first getting to know each other, they spoke to one another in French as that was their only common language. They were quickly engaged and in 1996 Nikki brought Ciro home to Scotland. They were married in 1997 and started their family. Ciro was gaining experience working in Italian restaurants in Edinburgh and Nikki started childminding while they raised their two children, Fabi and Cameron. They then went into business in Kirkcaldy with a partner and ran La Gondola.

In 2007, they decided to move to Callander as there was the opportunity to have their very own restaurant there. Nikki says, “Our two kids were five and six at that point. We had been looking around the country to open an Italian restaurant and this wee restaurant in Callander was up for sale. It needed a lot of work, but we were up for the challenge.“

Nikki then made the connection that her maternal Great Nonna, had moved to Callander from Italy.  Everything about the decision felt right. She says, “Everything happens for a reason.”

They had a great first year then the 2008 recession hit. Nikki says, “Going to a restaurant was the last thing people were doing. We didn’t know what to do so I got a part-time job at a self-catering holiday place eventually becoming the full-time the manager and I loved it. I ended up working there for eight years which allowed us to keep paying our staff and keep the business going.”

In 2017, Nikki was becoming fed up and wanted to get back into the restaurant. They were getting ready for the busy season, which in Callander is from May-July when tragedy struck. The top flat above their restaurant caught fire. Nikki explains, “It was a bank holiday weekend and we were all set up to be busy. It was like watching a movie watching the building burn. It took hours and hours for them to get the fire out and it destroyed all the roof. Our restaurant was destroyed by water. It was devastating and we were in shock as we had just lost our livelihood.”

But, when there is a will there is a way. One of their regular customers came to Ciro and Nikki with an opportunity within Loch Tay Highland Lodges. They needed someone to run the restaurant there so the couple took the spirit of Ciro’s and created Ciro’s @ Loch Tay. They wanted to keep his name going as they had built up a strong reputation during the ten years they were in Callander. Nikki says, “We ended up being at Loch Tay from 2017 to 2020. While we were there we won ‘Best Family-Owned Italian Restaurant’ at the Italian Awards.”

In 2020, the couple were beginning to get itchy feet as they wanted a restaurant that was fully theirs once again and then the pandemic struck. Towards the end of 2020 the opportunity to bring Ciro’s to Glenbervie Golf Course in Larbert was brought to them. Nikki says, “We had a chat and immediately knew this was our new home!” They have been open to the public since April 2021 and are quickly becoming a firm favourite in the Forth Valley food scene.

Nikki says, “Opening Ciro’s at Glenbervie is the biggest thing we’ve ever done. We now have 24 staff, all local! Plus, our two grown up kids also work in the business. We hope this will be our last place until we retire!”

At Ciro’s, they serve delicious, authentic Italian cuisine. Everything has to be right, from the food to the service and atmosphere. They are lucky to have a tremendous view over the golf course, which diners just love! They treat their customers like family with Ciro making regular visits to front of house to check on his happy guests! He still is in the kitchen daily making sure that every dish is perfect.

They are currently preparing for their first festive season in Larbert and have a special menu available for the whole month of December. This can be viewed on their website. Group bookings are also available!

View the menus https://cirositalianrestaurant.co.uk

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All About Eve

All About Eve opened its doors on Camelon’s Main Street in September 2020. It was a dream 18 years in the making for owner Leigh Ann. She had always aspired to bring to Falkirk everything for today’s women, from boutique fashion and luxury label clothing, jewellery, skin care, home furnishings, home accessories, candles and gifts.

Leigh Anne wanted to bring together a selection of items fitting the lifestyle choices of the modern women, and works hard to source unique, quality products from the UK, Europe and beyond. All About Eve carry a selection of boutique classic items at competative prices together with luxury label items that add that touch of opulence to both your wardrobe and your home.

Their website launched last year after only having their doors open for a few short months before the second lockdown. Leigh Ann says, “It was fantastic to see so many of our customers both locally and across Scotland continuing to support our small business during such a difficult time.” The website www.allabouteve.online features all the products they have in store and they ship across the UK. There are also plans to extend this to worldwide for most items in the near future.

The business, even in this short time it’s been in existence, has grown. Leigh Ann elaborates, “Particularly the home furnishings and interiors side of the business. My partner is a builder and property developer so has experience of the build and design process so we are really fortunate to be able to bring this expertise to the business. We can offer a full design and consultation service linking customers with trusted partners including architects to assist when customers are undertaking a building project or conversion. We are also able to offer a complete consultation service and through agreements with our most trusted suppliers, customers can access a full catalogue of home furnishings from sofas, dining sets, beds, bedroom furniture and many other items that are too large for us to carry in store. This service helps customers access products that perhaps aren’t readily available so they can have bespoke furnishings and interiors within their homes that reflect their own unique style.

Leigh Ann says, “We’re blessed with just the best team here at All About Eve. My Mum keeps the displays looking in tip top shape and my childhood friend Julie is my wing woman. We have a relaxed atmosphere in the shop and pride ourselves in delivering an excellent customer service experience. We are only a year old but we think, if we can survive and grow through a global pandemic we’re doing just okay!”