First Look: Vita Vite Art Gallery + Wine Bar

The Warehouse District is about to get a healthy dose of unique wine, southern craft beers, and southern arts – that is, as soon as the ABC approves Lindsay Rice’s permits for her new wine bar and art gallery named Vita Vite. (Note: If anyone from the ABC is reading this, please help this new business get going – we’re ready to enjoy the fruits of Rice’s hard work!)

Located at 313 W. Hargett Street, just across the street from The Hue apartments, Café de los Muertos, Hudson Residential, and Cirque de Vol Studios, Vita Vite is aiming to be open by Thanksgiving and welcomes guests with approachable luxury from the very front sidewalk. Outside, you’ll find a covered porch with heaters, outdoor fireplaces, and ample comfortable seating. Inside, the luxe comfort continues with a beautiful juxtaposition of both new finishes and plenty of reclaimed industrial materials. Owner and operator Lindsay Rice sees this comfortable environment as a way to “break down barriers between wine and art” – sort of a way to see what the art would like in your own living room, if you will.

In keeping with the industrial fee of the Warehouse District, Rice has left the ceiling, floor, and walls bare or exposed where possible, but also dressed up the space with striking light fixtures and reclaimed beams from the former club space that are now used as part of the bar and fireplace mantles. No details are left untouched: the foot rail, purse hooks at the bar, and bathroom door handles are works of art, created by Iron Maiden Studios in Asheville.

Rice credits the talents of Toby and Corey from New City Design Group, her contractor James Cregger with Rock Creek Builders, and the friends and family who have all contributed to the work completed in this space since her purchase of the building back in March. The furniture and other fixtures were largely purchased from both High Point and Atlanta markets, aided by Rice’s mother and another friend who lent their interior design skills to this entrepreneurial pursuit.

With a background in art history and art management (bachelor’s degree in Art History and an Arts Management Certificate, master’s degree in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown), Rice always wanted to have her own gallery. By trade, Rice is a contemporary travel photographer, wine aficionado, and art enthusiast who sees a natural pairing with wine and art… an appreciation for culture and the finer things in life, but with a comfortable approachability. That comfortable approachability is exactly what guests will find at Vita Vite. (It’s also worth noting that Rice has earned a level one Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) sommelier certification from Johnson and Wales University.)

When Rice moved to Raleigh two years ago, she found the area to be very conducive to small business entrepreneurship, with the necessary consumer support, and jumped at the opportunity to make her business home in the Warehouse District when the space at 313 W. Hargett Street became available after looking at several options in Downtown Raleigh.

The Art

Rice says the art displayed at Vita Vite will focus on southern artists, in varying mediums. Currently, the gallery features mostly paintings but Rice would like to add sculpture and photography to her personally curated collection, saying she hangs “what works best at the time”.

The Retail

In addition to art, Rice has made room for a small retail collection of both southern made products, as well as goods from small family producers in Europe. Books are also in the retail line-up, with the latest Garden & Gun cookbook arriving perfectly timed for the upcoming holiday season.

The Wine

Featuring an approximately 20 bottle wine list, Rice’s focus is on smaller production vinos that you won’t find in grocery stores, sourced globally, and featuring a few organic lines. She notes there will be a few familiar grapes, as well as varietals she calls “new and different”. Vita Vite will also serve a reserve list available by the bottle only. Wine will rotate occasionally, every other month or so.

The Beer

Vita Vite will serve six rotating Southern craft beers on draft, rotating often. (So there’s even something here for you non-wine drinkers!)

The Special Event Space

In addition to being a beautiful, 5,600 square foot space to meet up, or unwind, over a glass of wine, while appreciating Rice’s latest curation of art for sale, the rear of the building also features a blank slate event space with a capacity for 80, catering prep kitchen, and a preferred vendors list. Rice sees this space as ideal for rehearsal dinners, Christmas parties, company events, and the like. Rates begin at $450/hour with a minimum of three hours and can be booked by contacting Vita Vite directly. The space features full AV capabilities, projector, and screen. (For larger events, renting the entire venue is also an option, with a maximum capacity of 250 guests.)

The Bites and Bytes

For those looking to wrap up the work day a little early with a glass of wine while tackling some late emails, WiFi is available on-site. (Guess where we’ll be publishing next week’s updates…)

And although Vita Vite does not feature a full-service kitchen, Rice intends to add some small plates service including cheese plates, hummus, etc. She also welcomes guests having food delivered or brought in from nearby eateries.

Vita Vite will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m., and on Sunday from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Follow along for updates at VitaViteRaleigh.com, Facebook.com/VitaViteRaleigh, and on Instagram at @VitaViteRaleigh.

We wish Lindsay the best of luck in this new venture and can’t wait to raise a glass to her success in the Warehouse District!

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Lisa Jeffries

A good old-fashioned Southern girl - at home in the modern world.
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