I have visited Brix in the Midtown Crossing in Omaha a couple of times. This is a fairly upscale effort to meld the sale of wine and spirits with low-key food in a friendly, non-threatening atmosphere. During a daytime visit it was clear that the wine sale aspect of the store prevailed. Most visitors were there to pick out some wine. One feature that makes wine selection much, much easier is that for a flat fee you can purchase a card that can be used to get graduated amounts of wine from a dispenser. The dispenser keeps the wine fresh and the fixed price allows you to sample a wine that might otherwise set you back quite a ways. Another benefit of buying wine this way is that you can spend as much, or little on wine with a meal. Pop your card in the slot for a number of candidates before you commit and you can not only get a glass of wine that you are guaranteed to enjoy but you can also buy an unopened bottle to take home and enjoy on your own. This is a great concept. I’m not aware if this is available anywhere in Des Moines, but I know that there is one place in Ames, Iowa with much the same concept, though with much less selection.
As I said, this is more than a wine tasting bar. Cheese, wine, hard spirits, and food are all available. We bought a large cheese plate and some pizza. It was more than enough for four looking for a late-night meal with wine.
The evening crowd during our second visit was having a lot of fun. There were couples of a variety of ages out for a date night and there were several mixed couples and what appeared to be two “girls night out” groups. This variety of guests and shoppers suggest that Brix is going to do well. The interior decor is strictly upscale, with a modern and expensive finish, very much in keeping with the look of the entire Midtown Crossing area. The seating areas are mostly on the east end of the store, with large windows and a sweeping view of the new development in the area. There is a lot of space and the layout ensures that shoppers have access to both the wine dispensers and inventory without having to get too close to the diners.
Brix also features a reasonable selection of fine spirits. I didn’t see any that are especially unique, but it is not a bad place to pick up some whiskey if you happen to be in that neck of the woods.
There is a walk-in wine cellar that showcases some of the specialty vintages. I didn’t ask what sorts of prices were listed for those bottles as I am quite certain that they are far beyond my wallet’s willingness to pay and my palate’s ability to distinguish. But is is a nice room.
Brix at Midtown Crossing
31st & Farnam Street
220 S. 31st Avenue, Suite 3103
Omaha, NE 68131
(402) 991-8466 (VINO)