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Meet Angela Mesna of District Wine in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Mesna.

Angela, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My parents had always owned their own businesses and my grandmother had a small restaurant in Northern California and my Great Grandmother was a baker. I went to College in Santa Barbara and that is where I fell in love with wine. I continued to foster my passion for wine while pursuing a career in restaurant and hospitality design. I always kept a file of ideas for when I got the opportunity to open my own business. I love to cook so I developed many of the recipes for the tapas during this time as well.

I lived in a small studio in the East Village Arts District of Long Beach and fell in love with the eclectic, historic and unique vibe of this area. I knew that this neighborhood is where I would want to open something and was in need of a wine lounge, a gathering spot that wasn’t a bar and wasn’t a restaurant but more of a hybrid of the two concepts. In 2009, I was laid off from a design job when they closed their office due to the recession. It felt like the push I need to jump in and take the risk. I wanted to create a space that was comfortable for the wine novice and connoisseur alike and create a community space that could be the extension of one’s living room – to embrace the sense of community and create a gathering space for people to enjoy great wine, good company and really unwind. The majority of the design and construction work was done myself, my parents, brother and boyfriend at the time.

When District Wine opened in 2010, we were embraced by the community and they have come more like family than customers.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think that owning a business is never a smooth road. You wear many hats and are constantly being confronted with new challenges you never expected. I think one of the biggest struggles is trying to stay relevant in an ever changing market. To not allow yourself to become complacent but to continually challenge yourself to be better, your business better.

I experienced some personal struggles, divorce and caring for a sick family member, that made the stress of being a small business owner nearly unbearable. It is at these times that you realize you can’t take leave, vacation or call in sick. You are it. I am fortunate enough to have a fantastic support network of friends, family, customers and an outstanding staff that was able to help and really step up at a time when I wasn’t able to.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the District Wine story. Tell us more about the business.
District Wine is a wine bar and lounge. We specialize in boutique small production wine, craft beer and tapas. We are known for our unique wine selection and daily wine flights. I am most proud of the connections we make with each person that comes through our door and the loyal regular customer base we have. Our customers become like family and I think that this is what sets us apart. The experience of our guests and their ability to come into our space a let all their troubles go. To truly enjoy their wine, their company and have an escape that is harder and harder to get these days. Another aspect that sets us apart is our approach to wine. We try to take away the pretentiousness that is often associated with wine and create a safe space to try, experience and learn about wine. We want our guests to find something they have never tried but truly love.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think luck has played a huge role in my life and business. I have found that whenever I think something is bad luck it is almost always good luck in disguise – bringing me to something I would have never found otherwise. The bad luck of a lay off lead to starting District Wine and the bad luck of personal struggles lead to emotional growth I could not have imagined. Good luck brought me to our current location. I was sitting in the neighborhood coffee shop, looked up and saw the number for the leasing office in the vacant space across the way – jotted the number down in my notebook and went about my day. A year later, I found that notebook and leased the space that is now District Wine.

Pricing:

  • Happy hour Mon – Saturday – $6 glasses and $7 tapas

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mire Yang

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