Courtyard Wine Bar to Have “Grand Debut Weekend’

The long-awaited Courtyard Wine Bar will have its “Grand Debut Weekend” Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 2nd – 4th at the Live Oak Art Center in Columbus. The Courtyard offers an extensive variety of wines from all over the world, a wide collection of craft beers as well as menu of Petite Fare – a delightful selection of gourmet Small Plates. The Courtyard Wine Bar is one of a small handful of not-for-profit bars in Texas, an emerging trend whereby profits go to support a charitable cause.

The Courtyard Wine Bar is a venture of the Live Oak Art Center (LOAC), located at 1014 Milam Street in Columbus, an independent not-for-profit organization seeking to increase the community’s understanding and appreciation of art and its evolving role in contemporary culture. LOAC promotes the arts by presenting exhibitions, developing educational programs and providing an environment for creative expression. All Courtyard Wine Bar profits will support the many programs of the Art Center.

Dubbed “a gallery of wine within a gallery of art” by Courtyard Wine Bar General Manager, Sandy Epps, this new addition seeks to reintroduce the community to the Live Oak Art Center and bring in an audience who have never been there before. “After all, wine and art have historically gone hand in hand. What could be a better fit?” said Mrs. Epps. “Here we’ve created a warm and friendly space where you can meet friends and enjoy a selection of world class wine, craft beer and Petite Fare that you can’t find elsewhere.”

The Courtyard Wine Bar is open at 4:00 pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Thursdays, plans include featuring flights of wine, visiting wine experts, cheese and food pairings, cooking demonstrations, etc. Fridays your host will be LOAC Executive Director, Shawn “The Biermeister” Roberts offering various beer flights each week and on selected dates the new live music series “The Courtyard Wine Bar LIVE” featuring performances from artists from around the globe. On selected Saturdays, The Courtyard Wine Bar presents the “Pop Up Chef Series – Fine Dining in a Small Plate Atmosphere” with unique small plate menus prepared exclusively for The Courtyard Wine Bar by a series of different guest chefs from around the Region.

Events announced for the “Grand Debut Weekend” are:

Thursday evening, March 2nd, Katy-based wine expert, Trevor Perry from Republic National Distributing Company, offering tastings and special discounts on wines distributed by Republic National.

Friday night, March 3rd will feature live music from 8:00 to 10:00 pm with acclaimed Austin singer/songwriter, Shelley King. Shelley’s blend of original blues, rock, folk, country, soul and gospel led her to become the first woman named Official State Artist – Musician by the Texas legislature. She has won Austin Music Awards for Song of the Year and Best Roots Rock Band.

Saturday March 4th, the Live Oak Art Center presents “Texas Women in Watercolor” Exhibit Opening where five Texas Women artists from Houston and Austin will have their watercolor artwork on display and will be in house to talk about their journey as Artists. Later in the evening, the Pop-Up Chef Series welcomes Columbus native, Jacques Christensen. Chef Christensen’s career began in Columbus working for Chef Wade Schindler at both Poody’s restaurant and Party Thyme catering. He later became a chef at Buffalo Creek Winery, a popular restaurant and event destination in Brenham, before moving to Houston where he is now a private chef specializing in French/American cuisine. Reservations are recommended for Saturday nights. Reservations should be emailed to

The Live Oak Art Center is located in the historic Brunson Building, built in 1891 and home to the Brunson Saloon. The building was purchased in 1985 by LOAC. The Courtyard Wine Bar is in the back of the building and includes the original bar from the Brunson Saloon which was painstakingly restored over the course of the past ten years. The bar opens up to a magnificent courtyard where chairs and tables have been added along with a brand new outdoor bar, lighting, sound system and Chef’s kitchen.

The entire venture has been funded by restoration grants and generous donations. President of the LOAC board of directors, Roger Wade, said the back patio was not being put to good use. “We expect The Courtyard Wine Bar to increase visitors to Columbus, help revitalize the historic downtown area and bring in new audiences for the Live Oak Art Center. Our dream is for it to also generate revenues that will permit us to expand our art programs.” Mr. Wade and his wife, Marilyn Brasher Wade (also an LOAC board member) are active members of the Colorado County community and have been very involved in the area’s historic preservation.

The Brunson building hasn’t been used as a saloon since 1919. “Now, nearly 100 years later, by launching The Courtyard Wine bar we’re bringing the Brunson Saloon history around full circle,” said Mrs. Epps.