Dining Out

A First Look at Bar La Fête in Birmingham

Birmingham’s dining scene gets a sophisticated addition with chefs Victor King and Kristen Hall’s newest concept, Bar La Fête, a Parisian-inspired wine bar, scheduled to open September 2. 

The evening haunt, complete with eleven on-menu shareable plates and a 130-bottle wine list, joins the pair’s other spots, The Essential all-day cafe and Bandit Pâtisserie. Their shared love for snacking spurred their latest venture. “It’s fun to sit down to a big dinner, but it’s also fun to have a couple bites, a glass of wine, and keep moving,” Hall says, a style of dining they fell in love with while visiting New York, exploring multiple places a night.

Broiled oysters and white wine at Bar La Fete

Hall and King saw a void for that middle ground between casual bars and sit-down restaurants in Birmingham. A trip to Paris made them realize that a French-style wine bar—or, as Hall calls it, “a love letter to wine and snacks”—was how they could fill it.

With its adventurous pours and elevated appetizers and mains, Hall and King crafted a spot that welcomes anyone, from the person who wants a single drink to the family ready for a sit-down dinner to the pair of friends undecided on what the evening will entail. “A wine bar atmosphere means that the menu doesn’t have to check the boxes of a traditional restaurant. There’s a little more fluidity to the style,” Hall says.

In order design a French wine bar true to style, Hall and King returned to France to research the aesthetic, drinks, and foods they wanted to create back in Birmingham. They explored wine regions like Champagne, Languedoc, Jura, and Cote du Rhône, forming relationships with winemakers along the way. These personal connections set up Bar La Fête to be the exclusive carrier of certain French wines never released before in the States. 

Potato Pave, a popular item at Bar La Fete
Potato pavé

The menu follows suit, featuring a rotating selection of French dishes that change with the season. “We really wanted to take the perspective of small plates and turn it around with generous share plates,” King explains. Highlights include chef King’s potato pavé with an option for caviar service, grilled cucumber salad, and beef au poivre. The expertise Hall’s known for at Bandit Patisserie drives the dessert menu with items like gâteau Breton with figs and maple anglaise and the tarte tropézienne with passionfruit pastry cream (available on weekends).

Hall and King hope Bar La Fête sparks people’s sense of adventure. The sharing style of dishes encourages guests to try different items, and the Burn the Boats tasting menu option lets a table put their dinner in the hands of the kitchen, with multiple courses of on- and off-menu items. 

Bar La Fête provides a space for both comfortable and adventurous experiences, all depending on what visitors want that evening. “I hope its a place where a young twenty-something-year-old could drop by to learn about wine and also the place a connoisseur can come,” Hall says. 

Bar La Fête Dinner Menu

Menu for Bar La Fête in Birmingham

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  • Susan Mason
    September 2, 2022 at 4:42 pm

    Congrats! Hope to see you soon!

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