The Chester blog

Life returns to another part of Chester this weekend as new specialist bar Vin Santo opens on Watergate street, in the premises formerly occupied by the much loved Corks Out. The iconic building with its 13th century ceiling has been empty since the former occupant left in November of last year.

Vin Santo marks a return home for founder Simon Parkinson , ex staff member at Corks Out and also the owner of Vinological in the market.  With a long standing passion for wine the opportunity to open in the historic premises was too good to miss.  Working alongside Simon will be another familiar face , Tom Scargill, also a former Corks Out member of staff, and more recently Whitmore and White.

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Visitors to the historic Watergate street cellar will be able to enjoy a wine list expertly curated by the team. Wines have been sourced from all over the world including an impressive Fine Wine selection.  Vin Santo has 4 Enomatic machines within their bar, where a selection of 32 wines will be on offer. These wines will be regularly updated so each visit there will be a new choice for wine lovers.  The  bar will be managed by the experienced Leigh Davies, and will also be serving a selection of premium spirits and beer.  Modern British/ European craft beer will be supplied by  ’That Beer Place’ in Chester Market and Manchester based Alphabet Brewing. Alongside the wine selection the new venue will offer a dedicated Champagne list featuring six beautiful Champagnes served by the glass.

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Building on his prior success and the historic pedigree of the building and its previous occupant, Simon and the team are promising evolution rather than revolution. “The most important thing for us is that we want to do justice to the building and its heritage as a wine shop.  We are not making huge dramatic changes, in certain areas we have moved things to expose some of the historic elements, some of the shelving has been removed to give a better view of the ceiling” says Simon.

In the current world of Covid, keeping staff and customers safe is an obvious  priority for Simon, but he says balancing this with providing an enjoyable atmosphere has been central to the team’s thinking. Offering a reservation only service, Vin Santo are aiming to provide a specialised and personal service for all.

Vin Santo opens on Saturday. To register and reserve a table visit

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