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By Elena Kadvany

Cal Ave hair salon to split in half to open wine bar

Uploaded: Feb 13, 2015

Lori Romero has operated her hair salon, True Salon, at the corner of California Avenue and Birch Street in Palo Alto for a decade. Come this spring, however, the 2,460-square-foot space will no longer just house a salon, but also a wine bar.

After a year of dreaming and planning, Romero closed the salon last week for renovations, which most notably include splitting the space in half and turning the other side into an upscale, "prohibition meets modern day" wine bar.

Romero lives in Campbell, but spends much of her time in Palo Alto, where both she and her husband work. She said they often griped about not having a lot of places for people their age (she's in her forties) to get a nice glass of wine and socialize. (Though they actually came up with the idea for opening their own place while with another couple at The Wine Room on Ramona Street downtown.)

"Most places have a bar and it's a restaurant with a bar, or it's a sports bar," she said. "We were just looking for something a little more upscale and a place that we would like to go."

Romero since decided that splitting the salon in half would be easier than finding a separate space to open this dream bar, and partnered with a friend who's been a South Bay bartender for 20 years (by her own admission, her best experience in the industry is consuming wine). They're currently getting a deeper (and more official) wine education through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), Romero said.

Named Calave (pronounced as if there's an accent over the second "a") for the street it's on, the wine bar will have a range of European wines as well as from Chile, Australia, California, Washington and Oregon. There will be eight wines on tap, as well as beer (and some by the bottle).

Romero is also planning to serve small bites ? charcuterie, cheese, desserts, flatbreads, paninis and the like ? that will also be available as lunch items for hungry Cal Ave workers and visitors.

Romero said after deciding to use the 299 California Ave. space, they also discovered it had historical significance: the site was once the home of Mayfield Brewery, which opened in 1868. When Palo Alto went dry in the late 1880s, Mayfield remained wet (and reportedly rowdy). Read more on the history of the Brewery in this Stanford Historical Society piece.

The site's history informed the Calave concept ("prohibition meets modern day"), Romero said, though the focus remains on wine rather than beer.

Romero said they're aiming for an April 27 opening date.