Vue 42, Centre Market’s new cocktail bar, wants to know: Is it cocktail hour yet?
After nearly four months of drink crafting, menu building, and renovations at their historic Market Street location, Vue 42 opened its doors to the public on Friday, November 4 with a grand opening event featuring live music from local artist Haley Bundy.
The owner, Courtney Castilo Riley, has a goal of offering a little bit of something for everyone, while simultaneously bringing a “spritz of ritz” and a bit of big-city vibe to Wheeling. Being born and raised in the Ohio Valley and having spent time in big cities such as New York and Miami, the young proprietor felt that while we do have a decent pub scene and sports bar offerings, Wheeling was lacking a true martini bar. One where handcrafted specialty drinks sat at the forefront of the menu. Castilo Riley explained that the vision for her bar came from fun nights spent out with friends in big cities. Those bars were “lounges that would have fun music and their drinks would be well-crafted. It wasn’t just your typical Jack-and-coke.” Coming home to Wheeling made her realize how much she saw the need in the Valley for a cocktail lounge that would help bring that modern, downtown feeling to our evolving city.
The bar’s name, Vue 42, brings together the French word that means ‘view’ or ‘vision’, and 42, as in Don Julio 1942, which is well known as one of the oldest luxury tequilas. (And when people ask whether the number is a reference to Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the concept that the number 42 is ‘the meaning of life, the universe, and everything‘, Castilo Riley just smiles and nods with a shrug because, well, why not have it reference both?) The name is easy to remember and invokes a feeling of Old World charm with a glimmer of modernity. This perfectly describes the bar itself, with its historic location, original exposed brick, and replicated tin ceiling tiles right alongside a modern bar, contemporary (and buttery soft!) leather barstools, and brand-new light fixtures.
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The menu boasts fun, creative drinks and bites. The list of elaborate, dessert-inspired martinis includes options such as a s’mores martini which features a chocolate and graham cracker rim and a fire-roasted marshmallow garnish, a birthday cake martini with a rainbow sprinkle rim and whipped cream topping, and more classic options including an appletini and – Castilo Riley’s personal favorite – a coffee martini. Spiked floats come in the flavors of traditional cola, orange creamsicle, or root beer with optional liquor additions such as spiced rum, whipped-cream vodka, and caramel Crown Royal. Or, if you’d prefer something less sweet, the full bar can craft most typical cocktails and has both beer and wine lists. The menu, which features charcuterie boards, flatbreads, sliders, and sandwiches, is a crowd-pleaser and the perfect way to balance out the sugar-centric specialty drink menu. The newly-remodeled kitchen is ready to start serving these simple, modern plates alongside the hand-crafted cocktails, which make for a perfect happy hour, hors d’oeuvre, or meal.
The live music that was featured at the grand opening was just a glimpse of what lies in store for the new bar. Many live artists and DJs are already on the schedule for the coming months, and the location of the bar lends well to Castilo Riley’s dreams of fun outdoor events at Centre Market, both at larger gatherings such as First Fridays next summer and at events hosted by Vue 42. Additionally, there are plans to continue renovations on the upper floors of the building and eventually open more levels to the public.
Patrons packed the house at Vue 42's opening weekend.
Local artist Haley Bundy provided live entertainment at Vue 42's grand opening on Nov. 4.
We’re so excited to see what this exciting new local business does next! And in the meantime, you can find us in Centre Market, bellied up to the bar, custom martinis in our hands.
• Ellery McGregor is a Wheeling transplant from Los Angeles, California. She works remotely for a marketing team in LA and now moonlights as an author for Weelunk. She earned her undergraduate degree in English from California State University Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Since moving to Wheeling over a year ago, she has spent her time helping her family restore an Italianate Victorian row house in Centre Market, picnicking at Heritage Port, and marveling over having actual seasons.