“We wanted Valley to feel like the type of wine bar you stumble upon in New York or Paris,” says Lauren Feldman, who started Valley Bar + Bottle in Sonoma, California in July of 2020 with friends Tanner Walle, Emma Lipp, and Stephanie Reagor. The team is made up of two couples: Lauren and Tanner, and Emma and Stephanie, who all met previously at Scribe Winery in Sonoma, where Emma Lipp was culinary director. They found a rare location in the historic Sonoma plaza in the Lesse-Fitch Adobe, constructed by Jacob P. Leese, the son-in-law of General Vallejo, in the 1830s. Made of local redwood, fieldstone, and sand clay dug from a pit in the plaza, the adobe has previously been a home, school, hotel, saloon, and many restaurants throughout the years. “It’s rumored that the original Bear Flag of California is buried in the adobe walls,” says Lauren.
Working with designers Austin Carrier and Alex Mutter-Rottmayer of the Sonoma-based firm Hommeboys, the foursome stripped the building back to its bones, doing most of the physical construction and labor themselves. The resulting design is one part historic adobe, two parts modern: “We wanted earthiness and warmth with some levity to keep it interesting,” they say. With classic colors in unexpected pairings (mauve with red or pink walls, for example), hand-painted details, and layers upon layers of ceramics, Valley represents the new wave of food and culture in Sonoma.
Tableware at Valley is sourced from various ceramic artists (“we are ceramics-obsessed” says Lauren): Sandwich Shop bowls and dishes, created custom for Valley; orange plates from ANK Ceramics; pink plates from HAY; and more from Luvhaus, Sarah Kersten Studio, MAP Ceramics, Ginny Sims, Silt Clay, and Heath Ceramics, as well as vintage ceramics. They have vases by Hiroko Ishida, Morgan Peck, Mondays, Jessica Hans, ANI Ceramics, and Freundeskreis.
The floor is original concrete that was both painted and uncovered when the team took over the space. They decided to polish the whole floor down 1/16 of an inch to even it out, which revealed the terrazzo-like aggregate beneath. The bar and shelving was designed entirely by the Hommeboys, with wood paneling stained black. There’s a countertop in Topus Concrete 4023 Caesarstone on the guest side and a handmade butcher block on the service side.
For more in Sonoma and surrounding areas, see our posts:
- Kitchen of the Week: A Hacienda Kitchen in Sonoma’s Hippest Winery
- Off the Grid: A Stylish, Low-Impact Retreat in Sonoma by Charles de Lisle
- In California Wine Country, A Modern Farmhouse for a Brit and a Texan
- Rustic Yet Refined, Healdsburg Edition