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Meet Matthew Kaner of Bar Covell / Augustine Wine Bar / Dead or Alive Bar / Good Measure Restaurant

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Kaner.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Matthew. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I began my wine career on the retail side in my hometown of Santa Barbara, working at the Wine Cask Wine Store. At the same time, I was trying to crack into the music scene as a singer/songwriter so I was spending a lot of time in Los Angeles. In August of 2006, I decided it was time to up and move to LA, originally for music. Little did I know that wine would be the thing to keep me here!

I stumbled upon Silverlake Wine, an incredible boutique wine shop in Silverlake. I loved that I knew to have the references I saw, and the other half were completely foreign to me, this was special. A few weeks later I applied for a job there, and in October of 2006, I was hired as holiday help. Early in 2007, I was working full-time at SLW, and I stayed with them until March of 2010, when I left to open my first wine bar with Dustin Lancaster, Bar Covell. Bar Covell is revolutionary in that we offer up to 150 wines by the glass, but we have no wine list. It’s an interaction, a dialogue, an experience.

In February 2015, Dustin and I partnered up with our longtime musician and dine collector friend David Gibbs to open Augustine Wine Bar in Sherman Oaks. The focus of Augustine was to bring a wine-centric establishment to the fine people of Sherman Oaks, and also have a small list of vintage wines available by the glass. We became KNOWN for our vintage wine offerings, and now it’s the element that most defines Augustine’s heart and soul.

In July of 2017, I opened Good Measure, a wine-centric restaurant with Mike Garber as Executive Chef. I partnered with a husband-and-wife duo who are close friends of mind: Sean O’Malley & Sophie Donaghue-O’Malley. Good Measure is in the Atwater Village neighborhood of LA and will soon be celebrating it’s one year anniversary!

Wine has allowed me the great fortune to travel all over the world, bringing me to four continents and more than 10 wine producing nations! I will travel anywhere and everywhere for wine!

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?
finding your footing as a wine director and restauranteur is an interesting road, especially if the career picked you! I can remember feeling like people didn’t take me seriously until I turned 30 years old. These days I don’t much care what people’s opinions are. 🙂 I love what I do, the goal is to create a special experience for all of our guests and find a way to inspire them to ask better questions and continue a quest of knowledge in the wine and culinary worlds.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
One of the ways I’ve been able to differentiate my wine programs (as a synthesis of my personal wine philosophy) is by focusing on the stories behind the growers and winemakers. I believe in facts, not judgments, so for me, it’s all about storytelling. I’m not concerned with flavors, scent profiles, et al. I want to retell the amazing stories of the people who brought the wines from raw material to magic in a bottle.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up I was always obsessed with what things smelled and tasted like. I wouldn’t eat something before smelling it!

I’ve always been a huge baseball fan since I was 4 years old, played all throughout my childhood and would have had the chance to play in college if not for my knees giving me trouble after high school.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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