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photo-1-16I have a favorite place in Findlay. It’s a happy place. You can tell that from just looking at the building. It’s like there is just so much joy inside that it radiates out onto the street.

I’m, of course, talking about The Wine Merchant. Every time I walk in, I’m almost instantly greeted with a smile and an offer of help. The staff has a wealth of knowledge that they are always willing to share. I’ve talked to employees about all of the wonderful breweries that are popping up in the Midwest and how The Wine Merchant carries a great selection of them. The store carries both larger and smaller brands, and the staff can help you find that perfect beer or wine to help make a night special. What I love is that they talk in real language and make this terrific world that they inhabit accessible.

But that’s just the store. The Wine Merchant also has a wine bar named Uncorked. I pretty much loved them for the store, but then I made the time to eat there.

This is definitely a great option if you want to impress someone on a date. It is decorated with bright colors and has local art on the walls. I had to take a seat at the bar, because they had a packed house full of happy people that night.

After I took in the place, my eyes landed on the wine flights. They are arranged to look more like a sculpture than a typical wine flight. You have your choice of red and white, and the staff is just as happy to explain every wine in the flight as they are in the store. Alas, it wasn’t the night for me to try a flight, so I settled on their Malbec instead. It was perfect for an after work pick-me-up.

photo-2-15I then checked out the menu. I’m kind of a sucker for mushroom pizza, and there it was staring at me. Yes, I’ll order that, please.

I could then focus on those around me. They were all obviously regulars. They joked with the staff. The staff seemed to know their likes and catered to them. I honestly felt like I was in an upscale “Cheers” and was just waiting for someone to yell the name of the next person to come in. And even though it was my first time dining there, the staff was able to make me feel like I belonged and was nice enough to keep me company when it was possible. So yes, even if you come alone, you won’t be alone.

My pizza was fantastic. Caramelized onions with a strong sherry taste matched up with the mushrooms and Swiss cheese perfectly. I felt like I was having a grown up night with my wine and my pizza. There was something about the smiles, the atmosphere and the conversation that just reminded me of what I thought adulthood would be like when I was a kid. And yet, it felt comfortable. So yes, The Wine Merchant even made this accessible.

The Wine Merchant is perfect for a girls’ night or for that perfect date. Or you can just pick up one of the bottles to compliment a special evening. Either way, you’ll be in good hands.