Dive Wine’s Tim Willard launching two new bar pop-ups, one with jazz music and Taiwanese food

Look for Dive Wine founder Tim Willard to launch Loire Bar at Larakin in Midtown July 1, running every Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by Beth McKibben)

Dive Wine founder and sommelier Tim Willard will launch two new bar pop-ups in July, one serving French wines spotlighting the Loire Valley region, the other featuring live music, cocktails, and Taiwanese food

Loire Bar will debut at Larakin on July 1 and run every Monday and Tuesday at the Midtown coffee and wine bar on 12th Street.

On July 24, Willard will preview The Prez at the King Plow Arts Center’s Studio 887 next to Terminal West. Here, Willard will offer wine, cocktails, and Taiwanese food from Chef Fu-Mao Sun of Mighty Hans, with live jazz and funk performances throughout the evening.

The success of Dive Wine and partnering with Miller Union’s Chef Steven Satterfield and Neal McCarthy to open Madeira Park in Poncey-Highland led to another big decision for Willard this spring. He left his position as a National Portfolio Manager at European Cellars to finally start his own business, a wine events and consulting company called TWill & Co. 

Related link: Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, and Dive Wine opening Poncey-Highland wine bar Madeira Park

“My job at European Cellars was great and provided me so many opportunities, but there was always this thing pulling at my heartstrings,” Willard said, who began his hospitality career waiting tables as a teenager. “I live and breathe hospitality. I love serving people. Now, I can bring all of these event ideas in my head to life and engage with guests again full time.”

Dive Wine’s first anniversary at Banshee in January 2024, with food by Chef Steven Satterfield. (Photo by Beth McKibben)
Tim Willard (middle) with his Dive Wine crew at an event hosted by My Parents Basement in Avondale Estates. (Provided by TWill & Co.)

Loire Bar at Larakin

The wild success of two Dive Wine pop-ups held at Larakin in Midtown over the last year sparked ongoing conversations with owner Jordan Chambers about hosting more events at the coffee and wine bar. Willard just needed to find the right fit.

“Restaurants really need revenue. So many are closed two to three days a week since the pandemic,” Willard said. “Pop-ups and events like mine help fill in the gaps for restaurants to make extra money and allow people like me to do creative and cool things.”

Loire Bar kicks off on July 1 at Larakin, operating from the 12th Street patio every Monday and Tuesday, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Look for Loire Valley wines by the glass and bottle, along with other French wines by the bottle. In addition to wine, Loire Bar will also serve French beers and French ciders from Normandy and Brittany.

Willard tapped baker and self-taught chef Peyton Sanders of Evergreen Butcher and Baker in Kirkwood to create the food menu for Loire Bar, which could include everything from charcuterie and cheese to French-leaning dishes like lentils and leeks.  

On inclement days, Willard said he plans to move Loire Bar inside at Larakin, offering limited seating for up to eight people at the counter.

“I’ve loved Loire Valley wines for a long time, ever since I worked on the opening menu with Angus [Brown] and Nhan [Lee] at Lusca years ago. These wines overdeliver on the price point, quality, and variety,” said Willard of the premise behind Loire Bar.  

He hopes to eventually expand Loire Bar in the future, operating as many as five locations weekly at restaurants around Atlanta.

Loire Bar will kick off at Larakin July 1 and operate every Monday and Tuesday on the patio. (Photo by Beth McKibben)

The Prez at Studio 887

Willard didn’t realize it at the time, but the first Dive Wine pop-up on the patio at Larakin last summer would ultimately inspire the idea for The Prez. 

The July pop-up packed the patio for hours with wine enthusiasts, neighborhood residents, and industry professionals who came to sip wine, swap bottles, and dine on food from former Ah-Ma’s Taiwanese Kitchen owners and brothers Alex and Andy Chen. Food sold out within two hours. Had it not been for the impromptu bottle swapping during the pop-up, the wine would have run dry too. 

Willard envisions The Prez as a cool, yet casual food and beverage pop-up where live jazz and funk performances play key roles in the experience. Veteran Atlanta bartender and King Cube premium ice founder Jeff Banks will serve cocktails during the July 24 event. Sun will man the kitchen offering Taiwanese-American dishes from his popular pop-up, Mighty Hans.  

While first come, first served, Willard is considering making the lounge overlooking the dining room and bar at The Prez event reservation-only. He’s also seeking a more permanent residency for the music-driven pop-up.

“I want TWill & Co. and its events to help build a network of talented people and be a hub for them to come and learn and work,” Willard said.

“Hospitality lives in me and gives me energy, and so do the people who work in this industry,” he added. “I’ve been fortunate in my career and have come to a point in my life where it’s time to take a look at what success actually means to me.”

Loire Bar at Larakin on 12th Street in Midtown, Mondays and Tuesdays, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., starting July 1. Follow on Instagram for more details. No reservation needed.

The Prez at Studio 887 on West Marietta Street, July 24, 5 p.m. Follow on Instagram for more details. Open to the public.

Follow Dive Wine on Instagram for pop-up updates.

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