Wine bar brings flavor and flair to Beacon

Pedro Sousa and Tanner Townsend felt they knew exactly what Beacon was missing when they opened Reserva, their bustling wine bar at 173 Main St.

Tanner Townsend and Pedro Sousa at ReservaPhoto by K. Merry
Tanner Townsend and Pedro Sousa at Reserva (Photo by K. Merry)

Sousa, from Brazil, and Townsend, from Texas, both attended the Culinary Institute of America and planned to pursue a career in the field before they met. Recently married, they have combined their skills and passion to bring to life their vision of a neighborhood wine bar.

“We wanted to create an atmosphere that felt like you were stepping into a wine bar in the middle of Manhattan,” says Sousa. The 1920s aesthetic — including the building’s original brick walls and a vintage piano atop a custom-built stage — enhances that feel, while the tapas menu is a nod to Sousa’s Brazilian culture.

“We liked the idea of doing a tapas-style menu because it allows people to share and interact with each other,” says Sousa, who tests dishes with chef Michael Houston and styles each plate before it’s served. The menu ranges from classic tomato soup and grilled cheese to a Brazilian dish called pao de queijo, a tapas treat of bread and cheese with homemade guava confit for dipping. Most dishes are gluten-free.

Reserva’s wine list complements the South American tastes by reflecting some of the places the pair has visited, including Curacao, where they honeymooned.

Townsend, who also owns a string of coffee shops in Poughkeepsie, was familiar with Chill, a wine bar that previously occupied the space but closed during the pandemic. “It was a great spot as-is, but it needed a little love,” he says.

So the couple rolled up their sleeves and did the work themselves, such as building the raised stage. “We wanted it to showcase the artists while keeping the intimate feel of the space,” Townsend says. But nothing was more difficult than hand-laying tile in the restrooms. “We chose massive tiles that looked just like marble,” says Townsend, who had years of renovation experience but had never worked with tiles that large and fragile.

“It was definitely a labor of love,” he says. “But we had a vision and we didn’t stop until it was captured.”

Along with Reserva, which opened in December 2021, the couple operates a “food styling” business. They are sought after by Hudson Valley restaurants and cafes who commission them to take drool-worthy photos of their cuisine for marketing and social media. Sousa is the stylist and Townsend the photographer. (His prints are hung on the walls throughout Reserva and available for purchase.)

Reserva has an open kitchen, so diners can see the chef preparing dishes, and features live music on weekends. Last year, Sousa and Townsend hosted a drag show — it was a great success, they say — and they’re planning similar events. Initially only open in the evening, the bar recently extended its hours on Saturday and added Sunday brunch.

Reserva is open from 5 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday, 2 to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Reservations are accepted only for parties of eight or more. Call 845-202-7107 or see Live music begins every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Clara Cavalcante Ferreira will perform tonight (Feb. 24) and Alex and Bobby Yaps on Saturday (Feb. 25). The first Friday of each month is flamenco night.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Kat Merry is a freelance writer based in Beacon.